Numena + Geometry
Together at last, two of ambient ace ROBERT RICH's early classics in one specially priced 2CD set.
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Together at last, two of ambient ace ROBERT RICH's early classics in one specially priced 2CD set. Revered by electro-acoustic connoisseurs on two continents since their original European editions, painstakingly remastered, these two albums are essential collectibles.
Having the chance to remix these tapes after almost eight years, I was happy to find that many of the ideas that I began to explore on this album still resonate in me. I am still asking many of the musical questions that I was asking then. But most of all, I am still obsessed by the same love for the living world - that dripping primordial soup. I am still obsessed with the tensions between the symmetric and the organic, the pull between 'shimmer' and 'glurp.'
I am still wandering, distracted and dreaming, lost in the garden of life. - ROBERT RICH 1993
When I began recording Geometry in 1986, I wanted to map certain mathematical relationships directly into musical structures. By maintaining an awareness of the harmonic series and its various expressions into whole numbered ratios, I wanted to fathom the interactions between melody, timbre, rhythm, harmony and tuning. Just Intonation (a tuning system based on whole numbered ratios between frequencies) provided access to many interrelationships among these musical elements. The tunings, which I first explored in Numena, opened my mind to a more unified approach to music, where harmony and timbre merge, where melodies interact with rhythmic cycles, where both chords and poly-rhythms emerge from the same interval relationships. While I am very interested in these relationships, I also wanted to avoid getting bogged down in rigid formulae. I wanted this music to be emotionally compelling, with a core of humanity informing the mathematics.
I found metaphors in the abstract patterns of Islamic design, whose symmetry only serves to accentuate a sense of unity and flowing form. Like the artwork and visual patterns which inspired Geometry, this music should show a balance between structure and freedom. Improvisation plays an important role throughout Geometry (as it does in all of my music). The cyclic rhythms and counterpoint occasionally give way to long explorations in tone color, just as the harmonic tunings give way to the glissandi of a bamboo flute. Beginning at its most abstract and symmetrical, the music slowly shifts to the organic, exploring the same relationships under different guises, hopefully to reflect a union between the guiding principle (Logos) and its manifestation in the world.