Exposé Online banner

Robert Rich — Trances / Drones
(Hypnos hyp3364, 1984/2013, 2CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 1995-03-01:

Trances / Drones Cover art This may be my favorite rerelease of the year, especially in the electronic/ambient vein. Trances and Drones were Stanford-based composer Rich's second and third cassette releases in 1984. While Rich has long moved on to other pastures anew, adding a wider range of instrumentation and joining the Hearts of Space roster, Extreme has made the wise choice of reissuing these classic works remastered with two bonus tracks — a remastered title track from his rare first cassette Sunyata (also well worthy of CD release) and a previously unreleased cut. Trances and Drones were both extremely atmospheric works done primarily on a Prophet 5 and a self built modular (do I have it right this time?). Slowly evolving, incredibly evocative, and uniquely beautiful, I practically wore out my tapes of these titles before this wonderful duo box came out. This set certainly isn't indicative of Rich's various later explorations, these tapes are non-percussive and more deeply sonorous than his Roach collaborations or albums like Geometry (reviewed elsewhere) or Gaudi. Nevertheless, I consider both of these essential for the ambient connoisseur — both CDs are worth the price for "Hayagriva" (second side of Trances) alone.

by Mike McLatchey, 2015-06-18:

McLatchey's Top Tier #21

I'm not sure there's any musician alive who has a discography as long and deep as Robert Rich, and as I continue to make posts there's going to be quite a few of his albums in the next tier or so. I went to see him play in Davis, CA in the 90s thinking I had everything he had released at the time only to see these cassettes being sold at his table. Anyway I wouldn't say this is Robert's best, after all I believe it was his third cassette in the early 80s, but even then he'd completely mastered long form ambient music. "Seascape" in particular is a piece I've played endlessly, wearing out the cassette, switching to the double CD of Trances/Drones when it came out and even considering getting a newer version just to make sure I never lose track of it. This is music you can just fall into.

Filed under: Reissues , 2013 releases, 1984 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich

More info

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Robin Taylor / Taylor's Free Universe - Two Pack – A brilliant marketing strategy here - two 3-inch mini-CDs in cardboard sleeves are shrink-wrapped back-to-back. The first features three new songs recorded in 2010, featuring Taylor on guitars, bass,...  (2011) » Read more

Moby Grape - Moby Grape, Wow, & Grape Jam – One of the very best of the late 60s San Francisco bands (if not the best), Moby Grape's recordings as well as the band's name itself has long been tied up in endless cycles of litigation thanks to...  (2008) » Read more

Kryptästhesie - No Age – I’m not going to get into any generalizations about whether Italian bands can be any good at psychedelia – certainly examples can be found at all levels of quality. This release from...  (2002) » Read more

Dada - Dada & Castle Wall – From the ashes of Charisma, the duo of Mutsuhiko Izumi and Kenji Konishi – both on guitars and synthesizers – released two albums during its existence. Their 1978 debut, entitled Jyo,...  (1996) » Read more

Ron Boots - Acoustic Shadows – Boots loves to do albums with themes – here he has tried to capture the atmosphere of the battlefield. It’s a darker album than one is used too, but of course Boots’s optimism...  (2007) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues