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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT RICH: Vestiges (2016)

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

A lot quieter, Vestiges follows the path of WWLB in moods and visions which reflect this battle of human being against forgotten

1 The Fading Shore of Memory 6:20 2 Night Seas Luminesce 6:59 3 Spectre of Lost Light 15:16 4 Obscured by Leaf Shadows 5:27 5 Equipoise and Dissolution 8:49 6 Reborn in Brackish Pools 3:40 7 Anchorless on Quiet Tide 16:00 Soundscape | SP029

(CD&DDL 62:31) (V.F.) (Dark ambient music)

Metallic jingles, buzzing shadows and hits of hammers! Then an appearance of peaceful life with songs of birds and children's shouts which get lost in these floating strata of a lap-steel guitar which stole to the synth all of its spectral airs. The Fading Shore of Memory sets the tone to a suite (awaited?) to What We Left Behind. The atmospheres are gloomy with a dive in the effects of fiercely enveloping drones, effects of rustles that we hear in the form of a metallic rain as well as these lengthened lamentations skillfully structured with in the union of the lap-steel and the synth. Certainly, there are some movements of rhythms, as in the opening of Night Seas Luminesce. But that remains very shy and a piano absorbs these scattered knockings with an incredible delicacy for moods so black. In fact, everything is very ambient in VESTIGES. Except that Robert Rich handles pretty good the art to seize our attention by plunging us literally into his very post-apocalyptic territories with skeletons of melodies modulated by a piano which mislaid fragments almost everywhere around Night Seas Luminesce in order to drive us to the pinnacle of the 1st part of this last Robert Rich's album with the fall of the angels which rages around the first minutes of the very intense Spectre of Lost Light. The atmospheres are deeply hollowing with a heavy nimbus of drones and of celestial voices. Voices which little by little reduce the scale of these buzzing drones raging since the transfer for a form of sibylline layers which made obstacle to the memories in The Fading Shore of Memory. These voices are like a sound mirage after a tormented night in the labyrinths of hell. They bewitch us and calm these obituary atmospheres which passed by surrounding walls of its introduction. The last minutes of Spectre of Lost Light transports us towards a fascinating duel between these voices and these drones which bicker in an ambience to make raise our goose bump up until the oblivion absorbs them. Very intense for a finale!

The second part of VESTIGES begins with a symphony of hollow winds and of sibylline voices of Obscured by Leaf Shadows. Like the bass line, the piano crumbles a repressed thought while some effects add to the Mephistophelian dimension which takes Obscured by Leaf Shadows in order to bind itself to the dark Equipoise and Dissolution. In a void, the carillons ring in the breaths of a bass, which little by little wakes up as a threatening volcano, and in some beautiful fluty layers. Reborn in Brackish Pools sounds and looks so out of place in this very dark universe with a leak of more translucent layers which overfly and watch a rower who escapes towards Anchorless on Quiet Tide and of its very sad piano which extricates itself from the depths of an introduction sewn of black silk. These notes shine like the fruits of a carillon in a very meditative structure and forge a melody which frees its vapors in this shroud of smothered voices and of ethereal layers of which the peace of mind suits so well to this nostalgic piano. And quietly the slow ballet of drones resurfaces, as well as these chirping which fed a part of the misty memories of The Fading Shore of Memory. The loop is thus looped!

Between the fear of forgetting and the torture of remember, VESTIGES is a purely meditative journey in the fertile imaginative landscapes of Robert Rich who succeeds very well to put in music the reliefs of his post-apocalyptic vision of a universe on the edge of recreate itself out of its memories. It’s a fight between the end of a man whose life is torn between the oblivion and its memoirs. And if we approach it in this way, in fact it's the only one, we understand quite the dimension of this uneven fight. For fans of dark ambient music!

Sylvain Lupari (February 11th, 2017) ***¾**

Available at Robert Rich's

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