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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT RICH: Neurogenesis (2020)

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

This is a brilliant album built on multiple rhythmic flows which swaddle a panoply of morphic sweetnesses or rages

1 Neurogenesis 9:02

2 Convergent 8:06

3 Proximal 6:13

4 Connective 7:55

5 Dendritic 4:34

6 Arcadian 5:23

7 Erinacea 6:48

(CD/DDL 48:04) (V.F.)

(Sequenced, ambient beats)

A bass shadow and the metallic vibrations of a kind of sitar invite a line of sequences to feast. A ritornello is created! An unstoppable earworm sticks to our eardrums with this series of jumping balls which climb swiftly a spiral staircase. The flow is curt and jerky. Its imprint is invaded by these twisted reverberations, giving an industrial approach to this rise of the sequencer, of which a breach releases another series undulating strongly in the opposite axis of the minimalist rhythm of Neurogenesis. And then come those voices. Voices and/or moans of a dying lap-steel guitar at the same time as NEUROGENESIS' title-track reaches its meditative phase with a softly beating rubber jumping key. Even in its stationary phase, Neurogenesis remains intense and loud. We hear the sequencer churning out its keys one by one so that they take up this magical ice dance in an ascending path. The structure is curt and lively, like 4 hands playing alternately on the crystal blades of a silver xylophone. A hand decides to play a different pace, making this now non synchronized arpeggio race even more beautiful in its percussive disarray.

What an opening my friends! NEUROGENESIS is Robert Rich's latest album. And I have to admit that I was captivated from start to finish. Imagine a spiral staircase rising to the sky at heights impossible for the eye to estimate, but still possible for the ear to hear its steps vibrating with a crystalline tone. Ascending or circular, sometimes the two possibilities dance at the same time, each title, and regardless of its panorama, is animated by these jerky movements of the sequencer where minimalist arpeggio lines whose shimmering tones never cease to shine in the kingdom of astral lights. Using the MOTM modular sequencer and the ASM Hydrasynth keyboard, Robert combines multiple rhythmic consonances and flows which swaddle a panoply of morphic sweetnesses or rages. Here is a quite very interesting minimalist framework for a musician such as Robert Rich, known to exploit the dimensions of each of his notes in order to offer them in a bidding for the ears avid of tonal coatings.

Tibetan tinkles are at the origin of Convergent. The rhythmic texture settles in with wood's tap percussions dancing an ethereal choreography on a jerky movement of the sequencer rolling like a lifeless train in a sinuous structure which goes hand in hand with the lamentations of the Lap-steel. The bass is more present here and its soft flow serves as a canvas to solidify this rhythmic membrane which constantly accentuates the cadence. If the roaring spectra of the six-string increase in intensity, so do the different sources of tinkling which form a rhythmic mosaic pulling in all directions. There are pearls that jingle with such sharpness, giving a more phantom vision to the lap-steel guitar. A title that is rowing in the opposite direction to its atmospheres, Proximal offers a slower flow. A bass pulsation sculpts a circadian rhythm which seems to isolate behind this river of pearls undulating like a communications coded in polar Morse code. The panorama is very aggressive with multiline of Lap-steel from which escape astonishing plaintive and corrosive solos between these layers woven of organic as celestial tones.

Connective is connected to the sounds of a flute. If this flute is peaceful, it is quite different with the sequenced movement that surrounds it. A movement where all the luster of a cube connects with the rhythmic liveliness of their shimmering colors. And despite this flow in uninterrupted cascades, there is a form of serenity in this Connective where taking a river flowing with rhythmic colors and throwing it into a peaceful lake is the most beautiful of images. And if we thought we were daydreaming to the fluty tunes of Dendritic, this hope is short-lived as soon as the circular choreography of the sequencer activates an ambient rhythm, of course, but always lively for the neurons. How I love this Arcadian and its melody blown in the shadow of Supertramp's Even in the Quietest Moments track. Wrapped in a shroud of shiny percussive bells, this melody also blows all the contrasts of NEUROGENESIS. This brilliant Robert Rich album ends with a rhythmic Native American tribal vision. The harmonies hummed by the goddesses of the woods flow over a good mesh of percussions and pulsations which is engulfed by this richness of micro tonal arpeggios which never ceases to sparkle all the colors of the micro-cubes of a cube coming from a lucid dream by Robert Rich in spring 2019. A brilliant album my friends!

Sylvain Lupari (December 22nd, 2020) *****

Available at Robert Rich Bandcamp

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