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Album Review

According to the Robert Rich home page, "Robert Rich has meticulously crafted a fresh studio interpretation of his notorious all-night Sleep Concerts, incorporating newly recorded electro-acoustic, electronic and environmental textures, with elements created for the original live events. Somnium guides the listener through an ever-changing dreamscape, with levels of subtle detail that reward both active attention and background listening." Clocking in at seven hours, it's also considered to be one of the longest continuous musical compositions ever released on any format; verily, Somnium represents a landmark in ambient music. Somnium is also available exclusively in the DVD format, which is both good and bad — it's good because Somnium's seven hours of ambient sound play out complete and uncut; the bad part is the limited availability of DVD players, but that's the only complaint with this record. This is a fantastic recording that incorporates all kinds of sounds and wraps them into a deep listening/background environmental ambient experience. Rich craftily assembled all kinds of sounds from a variety of different sources for this project, which was almost seven years in the making. This disc is representative of Rich's early recorded works, specifically Sunyata and Trances/ Drones, but it's more representative of his academic work as one of the pioneers in the field of lucid dreaming — hence the title Somnium. This is a fantastic work and a must-have for any fan of ambient music.


Born: California

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Although his music is often consigned to the new age bins of record stores and the bulk of his work has been released on labels more closely associated with that classification, Robert Rich's solo and collaborative recordings have proven extremely influential on a range of new-school ambient and experimental artists. His association with older space music pioneers such as Steve Roach, Kevin Braheny, and Michael Stearns...
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Somnium, Robert Rich
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