Exposé Online banner

Robert Rich — Medicine Box
(SP022, 2011, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-10-26

Medicine Box Cover artFor around three decades, Robert Rich has been making music that defies categorization. After 200 albums (ok, maybe not that many!) one would think he has done everything and exhausted all ideas, but not so; with Medicine Box he is still finding fresh ideas in that seemingly endless creative pool. That’s not to say that his past works haven’t influenced this, but what comes forward here is a fresh approach employing a variety of ideas that circumvent many of his previous efforts, but present them in a new ways with reconstructed energy. Blending strong percussive elements of tribal and trance, along with deep bass pulses, sparse ethnic coloration, fragmentary melodies that play just under the surface, and floating textures via synths, cello and processed guitars that float within ambient sonic realms, there remains plenty of variety here from one track to the next. Guest vocalist Cheri Chuang adds wordless warmth to three of the album’s nine cuts, though her approach is different enough to give each of those a distinctly different flavor. Rich has a good sense of timing, and each piece is just long enough to make a concise musical statement yet not wear out its welcome. This does tend to the reflective and meditative side, but it’s not so far out in space as to put the listener to sleep; this is active instrumental music for a heightened listening experience but void of aggressive tendencies. Medicine Box is definitely a disc one will want to keep playing over and over.

Filed under: New releases, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich

Latest news

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

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


Previously in Exposé...

Ron E. Carter - Play Hendrix – Covering the Jimi Hendrix catalogue requires skill as well as thought about which arrangements to interpret and which ones not to disturb. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover of “Voodoo Chile -...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues