Robert Rich is an unconventional musician. He uses old analog synthesizers, samplers, steel guitar and much processing to create what can be loosely termed music. His tracks rarely have any basis in familiarity as far as what we know music should sound like yet Rich continues to challenge our ears and our minds after more than 15 years. The tracks on Bestiary have a theme in that they are sound sculptures that mirror the idea of an exotic collection of animals much like the private zoos of old. Bestiaries were collections of plants and animals that rich people collected from around the world and the term evolved to mean a collection of the fantastic and bizarre. This all makes much sense when listening to the first part of Nesting on Cliffsides which combines chugging percussive elements, vocal wails and many wispy synthesizer strains to evoke dreams of far-of lands. The visually titled Tarapace Hides the Delicacy is a too-short piece that is also my favorite track on Bestiary. Burbling synths and percussion play with Andrew McGowan’s bass, swirling and sinking into your inner eye, opening you mind to the possibilities of sound. The “music” of Bestiary is sometimes soothing, sometimes frightening but always enthralling, suitable for both passive background ambiance and intent listening, especially on headphones. Enjoy your visit to Robert Rich’s Bestiary, just remember to not pet or feed the animals.
Also be sure to get Rich’s seven-hour audio DVD document of his time-honored Sleep Concerts. Visit Robert Rich at www.rrich.com for more on this unique artist.