Exposé Online banner

Robert Rich — Tactile Ground
(Soundscape SP036, 2019, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-03-21

Tactile Ground Cover art

One can always count on Robert Rich to deliver something interesting, and his 2019 release, Tactile Ground, most definitely delivers the goods for anyone seeking out a gently floating mesh of curious sounds that will at once calm the nerves without making the listener sleepy. Although it easily could be used as a gateway to the world of slumber – if one wanted it to be. Unlike many releases that I review in these pages, this has far more going on within its floating ambient grooves to be so singularly focused. This is an expansive two-disc set featuring fifteen tracks total, but most of those tracks are gently crossfaded, especially on the second disc, so a listener may not even know when one track has concluded and the next has started unless one is watching the track counter, but the moods evolve with each cut and different perspectives are presented as the overall journey goes forward. Throughout, Rich works with various software synthesizers, as well as Haken continuum, Leaf Audio soundbox, lap steel, flutes, piano, percussion, and more on the hardware side, but honestly, he is such a sonic magician that the listener will likely not recognize the source of most of the sounds here, other than the floating synth backdrops that seem to engulf everything as it proceeds. As the first disc (subtitled “Location”) opens we do hear a recognizable piano melody opening softly within the waves of floating synths mixed in with some natural found sounds, all of which grows and evolves into a heady swirl of synth color then fades into the next movement. Nothing changes quickly in this soundworld, there are no sharp edges, be prepared to float slowly and drift, whenever melodies do arise, they are gentle and subdued. Most of the second disc (subtitled “Disloacation”) explores a more curious and mysterious sound palette across its first eight tracks, opening what might be considered more unidentifiable sonic events as it proceeds, the final track seeming to return back to the soundworld of disc one. The booklet is a treat too, few words, just sixteen pages of Rich’s graphic ink artwork that seems to be excellent visual accompaniment to the sounds at hand.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich

More info
http://robertrich.bandcamp.com/album/tactile-ground

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Episode - Starlight Tales – I've been listening to Episode for quite a while and patiently awaiting this disc. They live in the Bay Area, so I see them around at shows, and have been asking them for the last year and a half...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues