Artist: Robert Rich
Album: Nest

Released: 2 October 2012
Label: Soundscape

Nest (65'50") begins with the kind of resolve many other CDs end on. With consonant chords and spare piano notes Robert Rich begins a wonderful journey through eight distinctive music tracks and contemplative moods. Although some of Rich's work seems to dispense with the idea of beginning, middle and end, Nest does possess a vague compositional arc. Using steel guitar, bells, flutes, synthesizers, piano and environmental recordings, alone or in various combinations, Rich realizes beautifully detailed soundscapes from just a small number of sources. Nest feels different than his other Ambient works. It seems warmer, more comforting, and less questioning. Reverberant flute melodies rise above undulating electronic drones, then give way to sliding voice-like tones of the lap steel guitar - its haunting resonance gliding between the sounds of a softly ringing bell. The gentle hum of recordings from wild lands are a near constant background presence - which helps provide Nest with its natural, exotic atmosphere. During the second to last track the mood does darken a bit, becoming broodingly luminous. The wash of breathing synths and wandering guitar lines fill up the listening space more fully than any other track. This piece, placed near the end of the album, will be welcomed by the listener - for its denser soundfield and its thought provoking content. And to more fully enjoy the brighter closing section. Fans of Harold Budd's evocative piano pieces will be pleased with the final exceptionally well-crafted track - a most beautiful prelude to silence. With his minimal works Robert Rich hopes to achieve a new spatial reality through music. Nest is yet another artistic reaction - describing our world with sound.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   3 October 2012

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