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

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Deus Ex Machina - Deus Ex Machina – Stylistically, Deus Ex Machina is very unique and not without their share of quirkiness and idiosyncracies. Some moments remind me of a heavier Gentle Giant, others make me think of both Camel and...  (1994) » Read more

Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways & Moonloop EP – Having defined themselves as the modern standard bearers of the Pink Floyd sound – a title rightfully deserved (save the Roger Waters psychosis), they have set about further refining that notion...  (1995) » Read more

Pink Anvil - Halloween Party – Pink Anvil is a duo of Paul Barker and Max Brody of Ministry. Barker is credited with FM radio and patchbay operation while Brody works a delay and some footswitches. Halloween Party was recorded live...  (2003) » Read more

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey - Lil' Tae Rides Again – Brian Haas and Reed Mathis are back on board with their first new studio recording in two years. This time out the duo has chosen to emphasize the improvisational aspect of collective live jams. Their...  (2008) » Read more

Arto Lindsay - O Corpo Sutil - The Subtle Body – Lindsay has been a fixture of the New York "No Wave" scene and beyond since the early 80s. His most notable projects have been as vocalist and guitarist for The Lounge Lizards (faux-jazz),...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues