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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT RICH: Nest (2012)

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

“Robert Rich is able to delight us with a simple beating of a cicada's wing that he transforms into a fascinating boreal symphony

1 Memories of Wandering, Pt I 5:03

2 Memories of Wandering, Pt II 3:59

3 Seeking Eden 8:06

4 Moss Carpet, Sky Blanket 7:01

5 Generosity of Solitude, Pt I 8:03

6 Generosity of Solitude, Pt II 11:12

7 The Gate is Open 8:38

8 Memories of Home 13:50

(CD/DDL 65:50) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient)

NEST is the last sound testimony of a tiny world in perpetual procreation signed Robert Rich. The lightning strike for the subject of his last opus came during his Australian tour of the beginning of 2012 when he was the witness of a luxuriant tree-dwelling animal fauna which was born and swarmed beneath the diverse singings from a variety of invertebrates' orchestras. These chants from cicadas and tree frogs as well as the surrounding noises of a jungle in full awakening adorn the wandering melodies and the sweet contemplative ambiences that are structuring Rich's last album.

The noises of branches, the chirping and whistled songs of exotic birds awaken Memories of Wandering, Pt I, which gathers itself under an intense veil of mist. Meditative piano notes roam like lost thoughts during a mountain walk, reflecting the intense moment of loneliness that comes from this latest album by the American musician. These notes pierce with their limpidity a soundscape nourished by angelic voices which whisper a spiritual ode in this paradisiacal haven of serenity that is Memories of Wandering, Pt II which has slowly infiltrated. The 8 titles parade in a long tale of Papua where tranquility is the cradle of melodious dreamlike approaches. The 8 minutes of Seeking Eden, with its flute and its quivering breaths floating on the waves of a synth with ocher vapors are a perfect example. Moss Carpet, Sky Blanket offers a darker vision with opaque breezes that float like hollow clouds over a fauna of which the rustles are covered of meditative bells. The lines of the pedal-steel guitar draw spectral ramparts throughout this long track which moves us inside with a pair of headphones. Moreover, this correlation between the instruments and the sounds of nature gives NEST a bewitching depth which supplants its total absence of rhythms. Which says a lot about this amazing musical journey in the heart of the forests of the Australian east coast.

The rustling of leaves, the songs of cicadas and the iridescent winds continue to float like radioactive effects on Generosity of Solitude, Pt I and Part II of which only the scattered piano notes resonate in an enveloping effect of solitude. Its second part is less organic. The long fluty drones throw silent incantations that winding up the scattered melody of this solitary piano. The synth layers throw a vocalized veil on a pure moment of meditation where the balance of the universe is lost in all this immersive tranquility. The violence of the winds that carry The Gate is Open shakes this inner peace. Even without rhythmic instruments Robert Rich is capable of atmospheric turbulence with howling breezes that slide through the ears like Siberian winds over ice caves. There is a whole paradox of ambiences on this track with these piercing winds which tear the strength of silence and the quiet synth layers which cradle its ambiophonic lethality. Layers that transpose their tranquility to Memories of Home where the percussions of the cicadas script telegraphic messages and where the scattered piano notes weave surreal and paradoxical universes which shine all the meditative poetry of this intense organic work.

NEST is an intensely poetic work. Robert Rich succeeds in spreading a world of sound wonder in a contemplative envelope that transcends the simple atmospheric and ambient approach. Far from rhythms, the American synthesist is capable of wonder with his enchanting soundscapes which abound in a universe where the simple beat of a cicada's wing is transformed into a fascinating boreal symphony. It is not because there are no rhythms that it's not beautiful!

Sylvain Lupari (October 26th, 2012) *****

Available at Robert Rich Bandcamp

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