Robert Rich – Illuminations / Atlas Dei

illuminationsTwo new releases of ambient pioneer Robert Rich recently caught my attention. Both are related to visual performances, and while they are very different, they represent the many facets of this prolific ambient music legend.

First, there’s the CD accompanying Michael Somoroff’s Illumination installations. The installation was originally created for the Rothko Chapel, but when moved to the Aldrich Contemporary Arts Museum in Ridgefield Robert Rich created this music especially for that occasion. Not much is know of the installation apart from a short description and the stills in the liner notes, but regarding the music it must be quite ‘deep’. This is Robert Rich at his most dark (as this music is often called, though I do not really experience it as such myself). Slowly evolving and stretched beyond patience. As ambient as any ambient shoud be – a beautiful release.

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Quite different, but beautiful in his own right is the DVD project “Atlas Dei” with 93 minutes of visionary visuals by Daniel Colvin. Atlas Dei features music from Rich’ earlier collection as well as some tracks specially created for this project. All music is remixed in 5.1 Surround sound which of course greatly enhances the depth of this music.
Atlas Dei showcases Rich’s more ‘new age’ ambient style, featuring acoustic instruments as well as electronics.
The Colvin visuals are as fascinating as they are filled with heavy cosmic symbolism. This ‘new age’ angle may be hard to bear for some, but if you can look past it you’ll see beautiful things. And hear some fascinating sounds.
While the DVD lasts a full 93 minutes there is no story told (that I can reproduce in words), so you can best indulge in it and see where it takes you.

There’s a trailer available on http://www.atlasdei.com – which in my opinion does not do much justice to the DVD because it seems to hurry through the entire movie in 8-speed fast forward style..

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