Exposé Online banner

Robert Rich — Inner Landscapes
(Hypnos 1915, 1985/1999, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2018-07-26:

Inner Landscapes Cover art

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.


by Mike McLatchey, 1999-11-01:

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, it is sonically far superior to the cassette. Without the sequencer opener “Approach,” the CD of Inner Landscape 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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 18 , 1999 releases, 1985 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich

More info

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Progres 2 - Dialog S Vesmírem – This is a solid 76 minute live set from one of the better Eastern European prog bands. Progres 2 recorded several albums in the late 70s/early 80s featuring a rather dark and aggressive symphonic...  (1994) » Read more

Basilwink - Payoffs, Kickbacks, and Other Great American Traditions – While the opening cut displays some fairly standard rock/funk riffery, the grotesquely distorted vocals and unusual effects make the two minute affair somewhat unique. Basilwink is the...  (2006) » Read more

Boud Deun - Fiction and Several Days – If it wasn't for Cuneiform you could practically count the number of truly experimental modern American progressives on one hand, which is truly disappointing. Most US groups seem to stick to the...  (1996) » Read more

Nattefrost - Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning – Nattefrost (AKA Bjørn Jeppesen, not to be confused with the Norwegian black metal band of the same name) is from Denmark, and the title refers to cosmic electronic music from yesteryear. The...  (2007) » Read more

Coral Caves - Mitopoiesi – Coral Caves is an Italian band that proves good solid progressive rock doesn’t have to be overly complex to be good. I hear elements of early Genesis, mid-70s Pink Floyd, Camel, and of course a...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues