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Listen to more Icons of Echoes:

Lisa Gerrard & Dead Can Dance

Brian Eno

R. Carlos Nakai

Mickey Hart

Steve Roach

Andreas Vollenweider

Over the years certain artists have emerged as icons of the Echoes soundscape. These are musicians who shifted the direction of music, whose work influenced a generation and usually , musicians who also tend to be articulate thinkers about their art. In this series, you'll hear features Echoes has produced on these artists, often encompassing their entire careers.

Robert Rich

ROBERT RICH: An Icon of Echoes
Robert Rich is a master of the global soundscape, mixing technology nd traditional instruments, acoustic playing and studio manipulation, he weaves a deep, organic and seductive sound. Robert has been a major part of the Echoes sound, beginning with his Rainforest" album and continuing through "Gaudi," "Propagation" and Bestiary." That's why he was picked as one of TEN ARTISTS FOR TEN YEARS OF ECHOES, on our tenth anniversary. One of the most sophisticated and cerebral composers heard on Echoes, we look back at the breadth of his work, from sleep concerts to tribal trances.

In this special Icons of Echoes collection, you'll hear five sound portraits of Robert Rich and his music and five living room concerts of glurpy electronics, lap steel guitar, PVC pipe flutes, and even a rare solo piano performance, that track his prolific career from 1990 to the present.

Space Organics              (1994)
Ever since his late 1980s album, Numena, Robert Rich has established himself as among the more organic of electronic artists. In fact, in 2003, he released an all acoustic album, Temple of the Invisible. In 1994, Rich released Propagation, an album that would become one of the blueprints he'd continue modifying for the next decade. We visited Roach in his Silicon Valley home where he took for a walk through his garden and then another walk through his gardens of sound on Propagation.

Robert Rich started out in the early 1980s giving sleep concerts, overnight performances in which the audience was encouraged to tuck themselves in and drift away. Over the last few years, Rich has revived his sleep concert experiences, touring the country and dropping in for electronic ooze and a snooze. Robert came by the Echoes studios during on of these tours in 1996 and talked about sleeping and dreaming.


Synthesizers of the Seven Veils     (1998)
Robert Rich is a master of the global soundscape. Mixing technology and traditional instruments, acoustic playing and studio manipulation, he weaves a deep, organic and seductive sound on his 1998 album Seven Veils. Robert Rich talked about the sensual melodies and erotic, Middle Eastern grooves of Seven Veils.

Notes From the Bestiary (2001)
Robert Rich has never followed a predictable course. From one album to the next, he changes process and form. One album mixes mixing high technology with ancient instruments in throbbing percussive trances. Then he'll release a DVD called Somnium, 7 hours of sleep inducing electronic drones. In 2001 we recorded Robert in a solo piano living room concert, but a few months later, he released the purely electronic album called Bestiary. Kimberly Haas opens the cage and let's out some of Robert Rich's electronic creatures.


This was the first of Robert Rich's many living room concerts. At the time, his recent albums included Rainforest and his first collaboration with Steve Roach, Strata. On a rainy day in Mountainside, California, Robert gathered a bunch of his friends in his garage, which he'd converted into a studio. At the time, it had two rooms, a sound booth, where the audience sat, and the control room. There Robert is surrounded by synthesizers, flutes, percussion and a lap steel guitar. For an hour, he wove these instruments together with environments that might sound like they came from a field next door or a rainforest jungle, but for the most part, they were actually synthesized by Robert.
Two tracks from this performance appeared on A Door in the Air, the first Echoes Living Room Concert CD.


We returned to Robert Rich's garage studio in California in 1994. At that time, his latest album was Propagation. Robert played themes from that recording, forging an extended work for synthesizers, lap steel guitar, ceramic and PVC pipe flutes that he made himself, as well as lots of percussion, udu drums and samples.

Take synthesizers, ceramic and bamboo flutes, and lap steel guitar tuned in just intonation and you've got the sonic contours of Robert Rich's music. With albums like Rainforest, Propagation and Strata, Robert has emerged as one of the most skillful, tuneful and intelligent modern music composers. In the fall of 1996, Robert Rich came to the Echoes Living Room and turned it into an electronic jungle.

We know Robert Rich for his lush synthesizer trance works, full of organic textures, wood flutes, and glissandos of lap steel guitar. But unlike most synthesists, Robert is also a gifted pianist. He's never recorded any solo piano, but in early 2001 he spontaneously created two solo excursions in his home studio, exclusively for Echoes.

Early last year, Robert Rich plugged into the Echoes Living Room and performed live. The San Francisco Bay area synthesist is one of the leading exponents of techno-tribal music, mixing throbbing percussive rhythms with swirling textures and melodies that may undulate on bamboo flutes, lap steel guitar or synthesizer. In the Echoes Living Room, he conjures up the darkly shifting textures of his latest CD, BESTIARY (Release) as well as his more organic, techno-tribal works like PROPAGATION (Hearts of Space). A track from this performance appears on The Echoes Living Room Concerts Volume 8.

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