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Robert Rich — Inner Landscapes
(Hypnos 1915, 1985/1999, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-07-26
Based on a March 9, 1985 concert, Inner Landscapes has had two incarnations, both of them different enough to be notable. After (or around the same time as) his first three studio-based cassettes, Rich released the cassette Live and then his first non-cassette album, Numina. After this the Auricle label reissued the Live cassette as well as releasing Inner Landscapes. This concert in particular is notable for changing the mood quite a bit from his early work, and it's quite representative of the darker territory some ambient artists in the mid to late 80s explored (both Steve Roach and Lightwave come to mind). Music like this always sort of reminds me of a soundtrack to Charon transporting the souls of the dead on the river Styx. It's as if you're hearing the resounding echoes of the voices of the damned through subterranean caverns only for them to fade away into silence until the boat goes around the next bend. The cassette and later CD version of this uses different edits from this concert and even though there must be a lot of overlap, the sequencing really mixes up the feel in both versions to the point that when Inner Landscapes was reissued on CD, I never felt that it replaced the tape version. Also, this sort of nighttime ambient was dramatically different from subsequent releases Geometry and Rainforest, both of which demonstrated an incredible breadth and acuity of vision, one that still continues to this day. This one, however has always had a touch of mystery, as if by the very end of the underground journey, Charon has floated onto the branch known as Lethe and my preceding memories fade away until the very next listen.
Related artist(s): Robert Rich
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