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Recorded live in 1985. A slow, deep ambient excursion into the silent realms of night.
From the liner notes:
"INNER LANDSCAPES documents portions of a concert from 1985. This represents a growth period for me, when I wanted to perform shorter concerts that were completely improvised, while still maintaining the intensity of my all-night sleep concerts. At the time, "shorter" meant three hours with no break. I released two live albums from this era, and of these I think INNER LANDSCAPES holds up better over time. It's one of my few live recordings from this period that captures a bit of the thick atmosphere of the event. While editing it for CD release I had to choose from over two hours of tape, giving me a chance to restructure the crossfades and remove some weaker material. It's different from the original, and translates better to CD."
"My favorite release of 1999 (though it's really a re-release)."
KKUP Radio, on the Space Music mailing list
"Top 3 Releases of 1999."
--Eric Prindle, Editor, Ujamaa's Ambient Experience
"Robert Rich is always a favorite here at Juxtaposition, especially his
ambient classic Trances and Drones (Extreme). These lush soundscapes from
the same era, a re-edit/re-mix/remaster of a three hour concert previously
released under the same title. The music has the beautiful ebb and flow of
a dream. Highly recommended."
--Juxtaposition E-Zine / David Beardsley
"There is a wealth of music to be found on Audion/Ultima Thule's Auricle
cassette label. Right off the bat, there are the Peter Frohmader classics
Jules Verne Cycle and Orakel/Tiefe, the early Lightwave cassettes, and
Robert Rich's fourth and fifth cassettes, Live and Inner Landscapes.
Be advised that this is not the same mix or sequence as the Auricle tape,
although the music is all pulled from the same concert of March 9, 1985,
Berkeley, California, and it can't comfortably be considered its reissue or
a new release. There are a number of differences between the tape and CD,
such as the lack of the tape's opening track "Approach" on the CD, and the
different track order. The remastered and edited form on the CD; however,
is sonically far superior to the cassette. Without the sequencer opener
"Approach," the CD of Inner Landscapes seems more directly related to the
days of the classic Trances and Drones, with a mostly atmospheric base
created by warm analog synthesizers, a dense blend that Rich mastered early
in his career. The layers of effects and the sounds that fall ambiguously
between synthesizer programming and environmental ambiances are far more
vivid here than on the Auricle tape. The result of the new version is that a
new CD is created of classic caliber, while the tape remains an equally
interesting and indispensable item. Two versions of Inner Landscapes taken
from the Berkeley March 9, 1985, show, and two distinctly different and
excellent albums. Extremely highly recommended."
--Mike McLatchey, Expose Magazine
"One track that is split into eight parts and not a rhythm or sequence
to be heard almost certainly means we are deep into traditional
Ambient territory. What’s more its by far my favourite Robert Rich
album ever. This is a live recording from 1985. It was first
released, I think on cassette only, by the Freeman brothers in 1987
though what we have here is presented in different form with
some of the weaker material removed and restructured crossfades. The
transition from the first to second part is particularly
impressive with some deep. almost moaning, effects carrying through
to the second part and giving it an almost hellish feel. The lead
sound could almost be a long scream. I wish I could have been to one
of these early concerts, the atmosphere must have been
amazing. I am rather getting ahead of myself however as the first
track is no slouch either starting off with insect noises and the most
delightful shimmering and yet deep, dark drones. I know I keep banging
on about sounds but to me it is the unique sound possibilities
that ultimately distinguishes music created electronically from more
conventional instruments. The sounds used here are just
spellbinding. Certainly not of this world and if of the next I would
think that we are in the fiery caverns rather than up in the clouds.
The lonesome wind sound on the third part makes you think of some great
loss, like a dawn of devastation.
Part Four is a more cosmic affair, well out in deep space, the last three
minutes being particularly effective. Part
Five becomes very sparse, the wind sounds returning but in this new
setting they sound even more despairing
than before, almost animal in nature at times. Part Five is by far the
shortest section but in just two minutes
images of fast underground caverns are sculptured. Part Seven caries on
with these images, the sound again
being sparse but every little details seems to be essential in conjuring
up the overall picture. At three minutes
the mood changes and it is as if we are looking up a shaft as clouds rush by
and a storm builds. By the time
this part ends and the next begins we return to spooky cosmic realms which
is where we stay until the end. If
you liked Steve Roach’s Magnificent Void or Lightwave’s Mundus
Subterraneus then this album will be
essential to you. Probably even better than the two albums mentioned
and as any dedicated dark ambient fan will tell you that is very high praise indeed."
Neu Harmony, UK
"Robert Rich's new version of Inner Landscapes is excellent; don't miss
this one! It is Rich at his best, without most of the tropical world
fusion stuff and watery glurpy sound effects he added later to his
music; just good, warm, spooky, relaxing, dreamy, revelatory, sonically
Mystic Music, KKUP, Cupertino, California
"To initiate a series of live albums being released by his own
Soundscape label in conjunction with Hypnos, Robert Rich
remastered this classic live recording from 1985 for a new edition
of Inner Landscapes. Recorded a few years after his classic
Trances/Drones, this album uses many of the same techniques to
create a continuous, 74-minute sound immersion experience.
Armed with his usual arsenal of synthesizers, environmental
samples, homemade flutes and lap steel guitar, Rich expertly crafts a set of connected themes. Part
1 leads off the album with the sounds of chirping crickets and synthesized soundscapes. Part 2 gets
a bit more active and dissonant with Rich's trademark "glurpy" bass sounds and a high-pitched,
meandering melody. Parts 3-5 calm things down with a more spacious feel. The achingly short Part
6 is the highlight of the album, with very subtle bass textures and airy ambience, some of which
continues into Part 7, where it is joined by a haunting flute melody. Part 8 draws the album to a
close, moving from the dark and metallic to the high and celestial before fading off into the distance.
Inner Landscapes is an excellent example of Rich's early ambient phase, especially for
listeners who like long and uninterrupted yet diverse soundscapes."
--Ujamaa's Ambient Experience
"Inner Landscapes is broken down into eight parts but it is difficult to
distinguish where one ends and another begins. Excerpted from one of
Robert's epic three hour performances, Inner Landscapes is a CD length
representation of his live music circa 1985. Much in the vein of Rich's
trance and drone all-night sleep concerts, this CD captures the completely
improvised, thick atmosphere of the event."
Star's End Radio, WXPN, Philadelphia
"Originally released 1987 on Auricle, Inner Landscapes is unquestionably
classic Robert Rich ambience. Transcendentally calm music based on systems
of just intonation, Rich plays an assortment of trademark instruments,
everything from lap steel guitar, synthesisers and flutes. For those
confused with this term, just intonation is all about hearing in new ways,
as opposed to hearing equal temperament, the system used to compose western
music. It's as if you have been raised on a steady diet of McDonalds and
Top 40, and suddenly someone plays you an Indian raga, or some harmonic
chant, and all you can do is go "What the..hey." Here are changed time
scales where one minutes becomes ten. Rich's music is all about slowing
down time, slowing down your mind as well as yourself. It's also about
'hearing' harmonies in new ways.
Here are references to Indian, African and
Indonesian musics here, without the usual glurp sounds Robert Rich has
these days incorporated into his soundscapes. Electronics and drones merge
with beautiful flute lines, aided with what Hassell might describe as
coffee coloured textures, complete with insect like noises merging
effortlessly and seamlessly. A wonderful sense of serenity pervades this
recording. Originally recorded 1985, a year before he stopped his now
legendary all night sleep concerts, fragments of which were released on
Trances and Drones, this has been remastered and cleaned up by Rich. There
are eight pieces on this, differing layers constantly evolving on an
organic level. I really like his flute playing. In my books he's up there
with Chaurasia or Sri Chimnoy in terms of being able to give out an
enlightened sound. There is enough of a melodic content here to keep people
interested. I say this because for those who are not familiar with
alternate tuning systems, this can be a bit confronting. Robert Rich, like
Steve Roach, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno consistently creates interesting music.
Rich's music for a long time now has been about creating some sort of
hypnosis through the use of drones and loops. This is I believe the first
collaboration between Rich and Hypnos, let's hope it's not the last."
PowerSpot Radio, NSW, Australia
"In yet another ambient "celebrity" coup for Hypnos Recordings, Robert Rich has re-released a live, improvisational concert from 1985; Rich edited this 74-minute version of Inner landscapes from more than two hours of tape, yielding a distilled mixture of only the finest flavors and textures. This beatless potion of synths, flutes and lap steel has only improved with the years.
With tranquil layers of activity atop a swelling drone, Part 1 is accented with a continual insectoid hum; it grows sparser becoming the spacey void which leads into Part 2; occasional subsonic ripples flow through the faint, electrified atmosphere soon overtaken by higher sheets of synth shimmer... which grow stronger and much denser, becoming an almost impenetrable surge. Toward the end of this section, things again "space out" into quietness, allowing the deeper tones of Part 3 to drift in like a spreading fogbank. A soft, brassy wall of sound rises from the mist, again accompanied by tiny, bug-like chitters.
Multileveled tones intertwine in slow motion during Part 4 (13:25); low grumbles ground the activity, while abstract symphonics waft overhead; some of the higher registers approach shrillness in spots. Softer, Part 5 features sustained gusts overlain by birdlike cries. Serpentine flute wails meander through thick, rolling waves. The quiet, pillowy soundclouds of Part 6 (2:21) are infused with faint ripples and a thinly thrumming atmosphere. A most vaporous zone, despite its brevity.
After a spaciously droning intro, the incoming flute passages of Part 7 pile up, their translucent layers overlapping, leaving half-audible ghost images which trail away as the piece slowly moves on, and fades out to become Part 8; delicate synth-strings and ethereal hiss form an entryway through which less primitive flute sounds enter to shimmer and unfold, like a warmly fluctuating sunbeam, which eventually dissipates.
Whether as an introduction to Robert Rich's organically ambient soundworlds, or a re-visitation to his earlier improvs, Inner landscapes covers timeless ground, suitable for most any listener. The entities which occupy this particular slice of aural real estate are too amorphous to sound dated, and will provide many hours of immersive ear-trekking. 9.0[out of 10]!"
--David Opdyke /
"I have made some notes
listening to this work,
which are somewhat different
from my recent reviews,
but that speaks for the fact
that this album had a very personal effect on me
and I wanted to express my thoughts on it
differently this time. Here it is:
Part One - Gentle flowing ambience.
Everything is calm and soothing.
Part Two - Intensity rises with the use of
lap steel guitar. Feeling of uneasiness
is in the air.
Part Three - Back to the dreamland with bamboo flutes.
Imagining deep green valeys and crystal
clear lakes in all their splendour
Part Four - Exploring unknown teritories
and mysterious parts of ourselves
Part Five - In the darkest corners of our hearts,
all sorts of fears and insecurities
express our yearning for harmony and inner peace
Part Six - Slowly rising to the surface
Part Seven - Bamboo flutes once again...
Opening our eyes and approaching the world
with slight reservations, uncertain what
the future brings us
Part Eight - Still there is hope...
The clouds give way to sunlight.
We are stepping into a bright new day.
Thanks for sending me this great work."
Inner Space Radio, Zagreb, Croatia
"Robert Rich is already a settled name in the
ambient genre. Here he presents an older recording, from 1985, when he
wanted to perform shorter pieces in improvised sessions. Well shorter: they
still lasted three hours... Here are various edits that form one long
flowing, organic (another word that can't be avoided when discussing this
kind of music) piece of atmosphere. Long stretched tones with slowly
changing textures in a rich, warm mood. "
Vital E-Zine, Staalplaat, The Netherlands
"A joint release between Mike Griffin's Hypnos label and Robert Rich's Soundscape
label, Inner Landscapes is portions of a 1985 live performance by Robert Rich.
Known for his all-night "sleep concerts," this recording took place after those,
during a three-hour concert without breaks. For the reissue, Rich re-edited the
material, choosing what he felt was the strongest material. Both sides of his
infamous shimmer and glurp are represented over the 74 minutes. Part 1 is 13
minutes of lightly floating sounds which are soothing and quite beautiful. Part
2 takes a turn into darker territory with eerie drones that would fit nicely on
his Stalker CD or a suspense film. Both the lighter and darker passages are richly
textured, and the sound quality is quite good.
Inner Landscapes is a good representation of Rich's styles, from dark drones to
beautiful sounds to the more primitive. Bamboo flutes in Part 3 and Part 5 remind
me of his Fissures collaboration with Alio Die, even though Fissures was recorded
over ten years later. The CD is a testament to Robert Rich's ability to continually
evolve, and yet retain a sense of continuity. Fans of his Propagation CD will
notice that certain passages from this live recording almost exactly match material
found there. For the most part, though, this is not just live recordings of
otherwise available material. Crickets and other night noise add to the ambience.
Future Hypnos/Soundscape joint releases are also planned. Given Inner
Landscapes, that will be something to look forward to."
Wind and Wire Magazine