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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT RICH: Echo of Small Things (2005)

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Although difficult to encircle for a fan of base sequenced EM, Robert Rich reaches a new peak on Echo of Small Things

1 Pathways 9:36

2 Fences 4:57

3 Circle Unwound 9:00

4 Passing Terrain 6:09

5 Glint in her Eyes 6:25

6 Scent of Night Jasmine 9:09

7 Summer Thunder 4:27

8 Hollow Rings Longer 5:19

9 Weightless Morning 6:19


(CD/DDL 61:14) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient)

Usually, I run away from ambient music. I find it boring. I feel it easy to do and totally devoid of interest, never succeeding in achieving its primary goal on me; either be bringing me to reflection. Robert Rich is part of this cream of artists who are comfortable in moving in this sphere of immobility. And the reason is very simple; he perfectly converts the emotions he feels, captivating the listener in his soporific world where emptiness is full of meaning. His 8th opus in the Soundscape series offers a collection of reflections from images by photographer David Agasi. And, just as the sound could come from an image, Rich renders an arid and surreal ambience where the ambient music circulates breathlessly.

From the first shadows of Pathways, the musical sinuosities monopolize an attention already fixed on the effects of soundscapes. Music evolves through the breaths of its elements to merge with an astral body whose musical side is always evolving. The movement is slow, clear and constant. It transposes emotions that we crush when we wander on a path that we do not know, but which charms us just as much. The breezes of the keyboards which cogitate here and there give a surreal aspect, a little as if we are frozen in time. And slowly Pathways merges into the motionless meanders of Fences where the synthesized cylinders stand up like fence posts, cutting from dream to reality. The American synthesist deploys a treasure of creative imagination by juxtaposing his music on the photos that inspired this latest album. On Circle Unwound, the sonic richness is such that one feels lifted in a slow spiral which unrolls a heavy symphony with hesitant but very persistent notes. Obviously, we do not listen to ECHO OF SMALL THINGS with the conviction that we are going to rock the house down! Rather, it's a sweet rendezvous with emotions that are traded on a poetic musical immobility. If Passing Terrain flows like an inactive brain wave, it conveys a tangible emotion. Just like the very calm Glint In Her Eyes and Summer Thunder which respond to the sculptural vision of Robert Rich. A bit like Pathways, Scent of Night Jasmine is surprisingly precise and sensitive. The sound structure is of a richness that invades our senses, demonstrating Robert Rich's immense conception of reproducing the emotions that transcends him. On discreet Tibetan gongs, whose reverberations pierce the orchestrated silence, Hollow Rings Longer and Weightless Morning end this photographic epic in music on an abyssal sweetness where the void is in suspension while waiting to be structured.

Although difficult to understand for a fan of sequenced EM, the music of Robert Rich has its effect. It's the dark and poetic atmosphere that comes to seek us and that brings us back to the sweet reality of a daily life that only tolerates dreams when we are in search of it.

Sylvain Lupari (October 1st, 2007) ***½**

Abvailable at Robert Rich's Bandcamp

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