ROBERT RICH: Illumination (2007)
Updated: Dec 26, 2020
“Illumination is a pure ambient work where Robert Rich lays on music his artistic vision of Michael Somoroff's paintings”
1 Echo I 7:16
2 Prism 3:36
3 Point Line Plane 16:52
4 Curtain 15:41
5 Plato's Cave 14:10
6 Temple 7:57
7 Echo II 5:19
(DDL 71:06) (V.F.)
(Dark Ambient, Drones)
Hmm… I can already see the ears of neophytes, who want to stay such as, tense up!!! Again, another review of Robert Rich? Yes, and I don't think we talk enough about him if we are into ambient music. The man is like Brian Eno. Not that he's downright great! He can create a symphony that will capture any brain from a single puff from the wind. And I think he is good in it, even if I'm not a fan of the style. In return, his works with Steve Roach or Ian Boddy are quite interesting. He is one of the few to humanize his music by injecting acoustic tones among electronic instruments from which he continually seeks to extract new sounds. The result is always fascinating but constantly demands an open mind from his audience. So, he sent me this ILLUMINATION, a music composed for Michael Somoroff's pictures exhibition, which is a deep Dark Ambient music with a vibe of paranoia as the music evolves. It's an album that I found quite difficult to stay focused on music. But if you want quiet and meditative music, that's the album to have. All in all, he presents a very dark musical texture reclusive in whirlwinds of sound waves which stir masses of sound in the shadow of its illuminations. ILLUMINATION is an album without movements, except for slight oscillations trapped in a darkness which is only equaled by its somber amplitude. Uninteresting? Not really. In fact, it depends on moods, but especially on how well you understand this latest Robert Rich opus. And who can give a neutral color, as well as an abstract life, to such dark projections?
Prism shows a lot of passion for an ambient title, while the intensity in the drones that opens Point Line Plane has shaken my eardrums. This longest track of ILLUMINATION travels with the intensity that Robert puts in it. It moves slowly like a snake and bite you here and there in order to keep you awake, even if the music suggests otherwise. Very dark sound texture, imprisoner of a whirlwind of atonic sound waves that stir in the shadow of its illuminations, Echo I shows us exactly of what is made the album. The music is to reflect the paintings of Michael Somoroff. You must see the 6 pictures in the inside booklet to understand the deepness of Robert's music. All along, we hear strange noises, murmurs et bulbs of life which are flashing here and there. They something change the course of the quiet music, adding even a touch of tenderness in this dark music. Angel voices are floating and flowing deeper in the music of Prism, an intense track built of darkness. The music of this album is without movement, evidently out of beats, except for slight oscillations trapped in a darkness that is matched only by its somber amplitude. The result is a hyper drifting album with austere tones. A cross between the lunar odes of Steve Roach and the nostalgic breaths of Stephen Parsick. After a horror style of music like Point Line Plane, Curtain is enveloping us with a warmer tone. The music is even flirting with the blue of the sky see through holes in the woods. This one is intended to dream upon it. Plato's Cave is a huge mirror with passive repairs. Pure ambient on fine oscillations which is blowing a poetic cloudiness that manages to reach the listener.
Seven titles for six pictures, each with its own secret personality that Robert Rich defines with a strange and obscure melancholy where synth waves blow a poetic cloudiness which manages to reach us. For lovers of dark, sensitive, abstract and experimental ambient music, ILLUMINATION comes with a small explanatory booklet with the images that inspired this latest Robert Rich album.
Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2007) ***½**
Available at Robert Rich Bandcamp