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Sleeping Dogs Lie 17jul09: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

redorange_transparent_128Aural archaeologists Robert Rich and Steve Roach delve deep into the strata of the primordial mind in this acclaimed 1990 collaboration. They forge a symbiotic artistic alliance where their signature sonic motifs are generally abandoned for the sake of a collective sound. Implementing their combined arsenal of synths, samplers, flutes, drums, and steel guitar, the duo creates a variety of moods and atmospheres – serene ambiences (”The Grotto of Time Lost”), ritualistic, rhythmic invocations (”Fearless”), intense dark ambient spaces (”Magma”), and surreal, bubbling soundscapes (”Persistence of Memory [For Dali]“). As with their other works, the composers utilize a balanced blend of organic and electronic instrumentation in an exploration of the human psyche that is simultaneously primal and cerebral. This album was a critical and commercial success, remaining on the Billboard New Age charts for several months after its initial release. (Bryan Reesman)

Master synthesists Roach and Rich excavate evolutionary layers of sound from their machines on STRATA, their first collaboration. The musicians are kindred spirits in both substance and style, and their probing, questing sonic architecture seeks not only to unearth the tangible from the unknown, but also to alight the unknown with a spectral quality. Instead of seismometers and pickaxes, Roach and Rich use their battery of analog and digital synthesizers to seize the geologic moment, embedding it in the amber of the studio. Like the translucent layers of the mineral bearing its name, “Mica” reveals a quartz-like refraction of images and movements, constructed with Rich’s interlocking vibe grooves, percussive gemstones, and Roach’s dense synthesizer shadings. “The Grotto of Time Lost” pushes one back even further into the pre-dawn era. Roach and Rich’s electronics and sundry noisemakers peel back the undergrowth to reveal tectonic plates convulsing with the breath of newly hatched organisms and moist jungle growth. STRATA is undoubtedly one of the best stylistic collaborations of the ’90s.

01 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “The Grotto Of Time Lost [SDL edit]” ( 58:56)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 92: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

empetus“Empetus is full blown sequencer-based music illustrating a further evolution in the visceral side of Roach’s music. Nine precise pieces that still sound fresh today. A favorite of sequencer music lovers. Released in 1986, this recording of intricately-woven sequencer lines and buzzing synthesizers established Roach as the American answer to the pioneering European electronic masters of the ’70s (Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream). Alternately thrilling and serene (sometimes within the space of the same track), EMPETUS’ waves of energy rest upon labyrinthine patterns of interlocking notes and wildly cascading tonal clusters. Roach varies the moods from piece to piece as well: the bright, piercing electronics of ”Seeking” contrast vividly with the starker, sweeping veils of sequenced notes and arcing waves of ”Empowerment” or the turbo-charged synths that rev through ”Conquest”. It’s all riveting, exciting stuff, and although Roach largely abandoned the style as he moved forward, EMPETUS remains an important, if largely unsung, statement documenting the course of modern American electronic music.” — Darren Bergstein, Muze

somaLike the wild mushrooms that fungus enthusiast Robert Rich turns into gourmet dishes, the pieces on Soma seem to emanate directly from the ground, without belonging to any species hitherto defined. New Age? Nah. Ambient? Not exactly. Fungoid tribal trance? Maybe. Rich, the drone provocateur who invented the “sleep concert” in the early ’80s, and Roach, proto-ambient pioneer whose Dreamtime Return remains a classic of organic New Age, distill a potent nectar of heartbeat-paced percussion–including rain sticks, clay water pots, kalimbas, and sequenced drums–and reverberant flutes, didgeridoos, and canyon-sized synthesizers. More rhythmically active than either the Roach-Vidna Obmana duet Well of Souls or early Roach electronica like Traveller, Soma–named for the Vedic potion said to deliver the drinker to God–is a Southwest vision quest that suggests Terence McKenna’s psilocybin-mushroom theories: a connection to the very soul of the earth through ethno-botanical ingestion. Bottoms up… –James Rotondi

OriginsLike ancient cave etchings released from the stone they were carved upon, Steve Roach’s evocative music on Origins rattles the subconscious, bringing our most elusive dreams and primeval memories into focus through potent sonic essays. Roach’s twentieth recording documents the latest chapter in his ever expanding style; a highly instinctual vocabulary of futuristic, yet organic electronics combined with forms of expression, as old as man himself. Driven by hybrid percussion, enigmatic synthesized melodies, gravel-voiced chants, and intense cries of yearning, the opening piece Artifacts creates a sonic time warp that propels listeners into a surreal, almost alien, tribal landscape. This leads to some powerful didgeridoo playing on subsequent tracks as Roach deftly illustrates his growing virtuosity on the ancient Aboriginal instruments he learned to play during his extended stays in Australia. Even without electronic accompaniment, the didgeridoo conjures up some powerful imagery on Clay, Wood, Bone, Dirt, a stunning, entirely acoustic duo featuring Roach and Mexican multi-instrumentalist, Jorge Reyes who plays clay water pots on this selection. In The Face in the Fire, sinuous synthesized textures and mammoth drum beats build a rock solid foundation for Roach’s gritty chants in some long forgotten language, while the cryptic cauldron of churning sounds in In the Eyes of the Spirit feature Reyes’ performances on Aztec trumpet and other pre-Columbian instruments. Spanish artist, Suso Saiz provides his own brand of hypnotic guitar textures on several selections as well. Through it all, Steve Roach deftly brings to life a story of ancestors and heroes, medicine men and ceremonies at dusk, as he reminds us that one day we too will be artifacts in the minds of some future civilization.

01 Steve Roach: “The Memory” (05:57) from “Empetus” (1986)
02 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Silk Ridge” (06:05) from “Soma” (1992)
03 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Soma” (12:07) from “Soma” (1992)
04 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Seduction of the Minotaur” (05:21) from “Soma” (1992)
05 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Touch” (04:36) from “Soma” (1992)
06 Steve Roach: “In the Eyes of the Spirit” (07:56) from “Origins” (1993)
07 Steve Roach: “Dreaming Now, Then” (18:58) from “Origins” (1993)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 91: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

redorange_transparent_128Aural archaeologists Robert Rich and Steve Roach delve deep into the strata of the primordial mind in this acclaimed 1990 collaboration. They forge a symbiotic artistic alliance where their signature sonic motifs are generally abandoned for the sake of a collective sound. Implementing their combined arsenal of synths, samplers, flutes, drums, and steel guitar, the duo creates a variety of moods and atmospheres – serene ambiences (”The Grotto of Time Lost”), ritualistic, rhythmic invocations (”Fearless”), intense dark ambient spaces (”Magma”), and surreal, bubbling soundscapes (”Persistence of Memory [For Dali]“). As with their other works, the composers utilize a balanced blend of organic and electronic instrumentation in an exploration of the human psyche that is simultaneously primal and cerebral. This album was a critical and commercial success, remaining on the Billboard New Age charts for several months after its initial release. (Bryan Reesman)

Master synthesists Roach and Rich excavate evolutionary layers of sound from their machines on STRATA, their first collaboration. The musicians are kindred spirits in both substance and style, and their probing, questing sonic architecture seeks not only to unearth the tangible from the unknown, but also to alight the unknown with a spectral quality. Instead of seismometers and pickaxes, Roach and Rich use their battery of analog and digital synthesizers to seize the geologic moment, embedding it in the amber of the studio. Like the translucent layers of the mineral bearing its name, “Mica” reveals a quartz-like refraction of images and movements, constructed with Rich’s interlocking vibe grooves, percussive gemstones, and Roach’s dense synthesizer shadings. “The Grotto of Time Lost” pushes one back even further into the pre-dawn era. Roach and Rich’s electronics and sundry noisemakers peel back the undergrowth to reveal tectonic plates convulsing with the breath of newly hatched organisms and moist jungle growth. STRATA is undoubtedly one of the best stylistic collaborations of the ’90s.

01 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “The Grotto Of Time Lost [SDL edit]” ( 58:56)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 90: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

strataAural archaeologists Robert Rich and Steve Roach delve deep into the strata of the primordial mind in this acclaimed 1990 collaboration. They forge a symbiotic artistic alliance where their signature sonic motifs are generally abandoned for the sake of a collective sound. Implementing their combined arsenal of synths, samplers, flutes, drums, and steel guitar, the duo creates a variety of moods and atmospheres – serene ambiences (“The Grotto of Time Lost”), ritualistic, rhythmic invocations (“Fearless”), intense dark ambient spaces (“Magma”), and surreal, bubbling soundscapes (“Persistence of Memory [For Dali]”). As with their other works, the composers utilize a balanced blend of organic and electronic instrumentation in an exploration of the human psyche that is simultaneously primal and cerebral. This album was a critical and commercial success, remaining on the Billboard New Age charts for several months after its initial release. (Bryan Reesman)

Master synthesists Roach and Rich excavate evolutionary layers of sound from their machines on STRATA, their first collaboration. The musicians are kindred spirits in both substance and style, and their probing, questing sonic architecture seeks not only to unearth the tangible from the unknown, but also to alight the unknown with a spectral quality. Instead of seismometers and pickaxes, Roach and Rich use their battery of analog and digital synthesizers to seize the geologic moment, embedding it in the amber of the studio. Like the translucent layers of the mineral bearing its name, “Mica” reveals a quartz-like refraction of images and movements, constructed with Rich’s interlocking vibe grooves, percussive gemstones, and Roach’s dense synthesizer shadings. “The Grotto of Time Lost” pushes one back even further into the pre-dawn era. Roach and Rich’s electronics and sundry noisemakers peel back the undergrowth to reveal tectonic plates convulsing with the breath of newly hatched organisms and moist jungle growth. STRATA is undoubtedly one of the best stylistic collaborations of the ’90s.

01 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Fearless” (4:34) from “Strata” (1990)
02 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Mica” (4:59) from “Strata” (1990)
03 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Forever” (4:51) from “Strata” (1990)
04 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “The Grotto Of Time Lost” (9:03) from “Strata” (1990)
05 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Iguana” (7:16) from “Strata” (1990)
06 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Magma” (3:38) from “Strata” (1990)
07 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Persistence Of Memory (For Dali)” (5:11) from “Strata” (1990)
08 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Remembrance” (2:26) from “Strata” (1990)
09 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Ceremony Of Shadows” (6:20) from “Strata” (1990)
10 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “La Luna” (0:42) from “Strata” (1990)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 36: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 3b” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 35: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 3a” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 34: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 2b” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 33: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 2a” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 32: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 1b” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 31: Robert Rich

Possibly the longest continuous musical composition ever released on any format, Somnium represents an ambient music landmark. Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening. Deep and sonorous, mysterious and diffuse, liquid and hypnogogic.

01. Robert Rich: “Somnium Part 1a” (from “Somnium” DVD, Hypnos, 2001)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 30: Robert Rich, Ian Boddy

“Propagation” is an expression of Rich’s interest in biology and is a tribute to the proliferation of organic life in all its forms. It features a complex range of world music influences, just tunings and guest performers.

“Bestiary” showcases the musical concept that Rich has long referred to as “glurp”. It evokes a frenetic and surreal landscape inhabited by a wide variety of bizarre organisms. Work on this album began while Rich was working to create a library of Acid Loops for the Sonic Foundry company. He had previously created an Acid Loop library in 1999 called Liquid Planet. In this project Rich began creating a library of unusual sounds with his new MOTM modular synthesizer. As the synthesizer grew, Rich became increasingly impressed by its potential and decided to abandon the Acid Loop project in favor of creating a new album. MIDI played an extremely limited role in this album as most of its material was recorded live to hard disc with the audio feature of the Cubase program. It was then assembled into a continuous 53 minute audio file.

“Electric Ladder” returns to a more active and sequenced style that Rich explored in “Geometry” and “Gaudí” (both from 1991).

“Lithosphere” is a collaborative album by electronic musicians Robert Rich and Ian Boddy. Like their previous collaboration “Outpost”, this album was released as a limited edition of 2000 copies.

01. Robert Rich: “Whispers of Eden” (from “Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
02. Robert Rich: “Luminous Horizon” (from “Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
03. Robert Rich: “Guilin” (from” Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
04. Robert Rich: “Aquifer” (from “Electric Ladder”, Soundscape, 2006)
05. Robert Rich: “Never Alone” (from “Electric Ladder”, Soundscape, 2006)
06. Robert Rich: “Folded Space” (from”Bestiary”, Relapse, 2001)
07. Robert Rich: “Premonition of Circular Clouds” (from”Bestiary”, Relapse, 2001)
08. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Glass” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
09. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Subduction” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
10. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Stone” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
11. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Metamorphic” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
12. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Melt” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 22: dbkaos, ARC, Robert Rich & Ian Boddy, Tetsu Inoue, Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich

“Index02” is a bargain label sampler from DiN, featuring contributions from Reuter/Boddy, arc, Sunsonic Experience and dbkaos. All tickled into a continuous 78 minute mix by Ian Boddy, many people will already be privy to the DiN sound thanks to the “Index01” CD dished out with Wire back in 2001. Acting as an aural cousin to that release, “Index02” inhabits a similar paddock of electronica, serving up hot and creamy solitude in a style reminiscent of The Blue Room. Keeping any mixing shenanigans to a bare minimum, Boddy’s unobtrusive segueing allows the individual tracks to shine independently rather than being trussed up on an over-arching structure which requires your full attention. Beatific throughout and cheap as chips, “Index02” is the sound that dust caught in sunlight would make were nature a bit more conducive to electronica.

“Lithosphere” is the second collaborative release between DiN label boss Ian Boddy & American ambient pioneer Robert Rich. Following on from their debut album “Outpost” (2002) the duo once again decided to eschew the false economy of a purely virtual collaboration and convened at Rich’s Californian Soundscape studio to physically work together over an intense period of 10 days. Following Boddy ‘s departure Rich then honed and fine-tuned the arrangements before finalising the mastering of the project. Whereas “Outpost” was sonically ‘out there’ and was perceived by many to have its heart in the realms of space music, “Lithosphere” has a more earthy, organic quality. Once again the album is centered around Rich ‘s signature lap steel guitar voicings and the deep bass rumblings of his analogue MOTM modular system. However Boddy ‘s input is unexpected in its direction with astonishing sound design elements intermingling with delicate keyboard textures using high quality sampled glass & stone percussion instruments together with haunting string & woodwind loops. One of the binding forces for this album was the duo’s decision to utilise an alternate just intonation tuning. This at times gives the harmonies a piquant flavour whereas at others a glistening quality that just adds to the sonic exotica that Boddy & Rich have concocted on “Lithosphere”. Boddy has always pushed the aspect of collaborations within his DiN catalogue and “Lithosphere” shows the true advantage such a philosophy brings to bear musically on the labels output. The album is a true reflection of the two artists combined efforts and could only have been produced with their joint work ethic. “Outpost” is one of the most popular DiN albums. There ‘s every chance that “Lithosphere”could surpass the high standard that its illustrious predecessor has set.

I first came in contact with Inoue on hearing the sublime “Active/Freeze” collaboration with Taylor Deupree on 12k. Since then I have managed to backtrack through his vast collection of releases including collaborations with such scene luminaries as Bill Laswell and Atom Heart. This new record for the DiN label is possibly the most completely realised record I can bring to mind from Inoue, and he displays a masterful grasp of marrying live instrumentation and digital noise. Each track has a certain crystalline property to it, but it avoids the usual trapping of ‘ambient’ music and never breaches that boundary into the dreaded world of ‘New Age’. Musical comparisons would range from Harold Budd and Shuttle 358 to the thick noisy clouds of Tim Hecker.

Taking a hefty chunk of influence from Tangerine Dream and then blending it with 1990s IDM isn’t a direction you’d expect an artist to take, but then Ian Boddy’s been doing this stuff for quite some time now and has built up something of a reputation. Although it occasionally skates rather close to the new age genre, much of “Elemental” has more in common with Manual, Ulrich Schnauss or at times even US retro-synth dudes Zombi. It’s not that I can’t take synth-prog music (I not-so-secretly love it…) but there’s something about the way Boddy seems to rely on playing it safe that makes “Elemental” a little less than breathtaking.

“Conundrum” marks the musical meeting point of Klaus Hoffman-Hoock and Bernhard Wostheinreich, which integrates the experimental noodlings of the former with the electronic processing techniques of the latter. “Conundrum” is a trance-inducing blend of digital ambience and ethereal, often droning instrumentation. The album’s title track makes an outright foray into Eastern sounds, giving the piece a distinctly new age sensibility which runs through much of the rest of the album, albeit in a less pronounced fashion.

01. dbkaos: “Hydrosphere” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
02. ARC: “Silent White Light” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
03. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Glass” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
04. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Subduction” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
05. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Stone” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
06. Tetsu Inoue: “Remote” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
07. Tetsu Inoue: “Particular Moments” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
08. Tetsu Inoue: “Flow” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
09. Ian Boddy: “Never Forever” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
10. Ian Boddy: “If All The World Was Blue” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
11. Ian Boddy: “Flux” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
12. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Conundrum” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
13. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Swarmandel” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
14. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Moonlit” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)

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