Robert Rich has been creating lush ambience for around forty years with more than forty albums under his belt. Over this length of time, Rich has very much established his sonic flavour and with this release doesn’t deviate far from it.
His sound is characterised by an eternal floating vocal quality offered by Dave Smith Keyboards and fleeting ghost like clouds of melody from handmade PVC flutes, lap steel guitar and various bits and pieces played using a Haken Continuum, all through expertly programmed delay and reverb.
This is not the kind of ambient music that requires the listener to search through it in order to find it’s hidden treats (such as drone music). Rich’s music unfolds without your agency, coaxing you through endless tails of silk, billowing tenderly in a warm breeze, catching glimpses of impossible landscapes as a gentle curve lifts effortlessly in front of your eyes, only to close gently back over you.
Tactile Ground spans two hours of transcendental journey. You can buy the 2CD set or, in legendary fashion as always, he offers the option of buying the 24bit 96khz recordings, which are packaged as two individual one hour tracks instead of segmented into smaller chunks. This is also how the release was originally created and intended to be listened to. This is really great if you use VLC like I do - as for some reason VLC still can’t play back continuous track changes without a little pause… So, along with the one hour files, you get a CUE file that will allow you to locate the sections that constitute different tracks in the CD release - once again, what a legend.
If you check out his website (below), you’ll find that Rich is also creating paintings and illustrations that very effectively bring what he achieves with his music into the visual domain.