This concert continues the "Ambience in the Wilde" series. "We will be treated to a magical evening of organic electronic music and sonic surrealism; a rare chance for fans of this genre to see a major artist in an intimate concert setting" said Susan Mullis, former host of WWUH's popular Ambience program which airs on Sunday's 9 AM to 1 PM. The Wilde Auditorium seats 200 persons. This concert is part of an extensive tour that is taking Rich throughout the US and Canada this spring.
With over 30 albums to his name, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize. Part of his unique sound comes from using homemade acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal tunings, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks. Rich began building his own analog synthesizers in 1976, when he was 13 years old, and later studied for a year at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).
The tour this spring is in support of his newest CD, Ylang.
The CD is best described as organic, lush and sensual.
Robert Rich's first solo studio album in three years seductively blends languid polyrhythms with influences as diverse as South Indian Karnatic music, post-rock, jazz, and minimalism.
The title comes from ylang ylang, a flowering tree that grows in South Asia, with a mysterious fragrance that embodies elements of shadow and light, eros and gnosis, earth and sky.
Robert Rich: flutes, lap steel , piano, percussion, MOTM modular & synths
Ricky Carter: drums
Sakthivel Muruganandhan: mrdungam
Sunilkumar Sankarapillai: bansuri
Haroun Serang: guitar
Emily Bezar: voice
Forrest Fang: violin
Hans Christian: cello
Paul Olguin: upright bass
Pushing the boundaries of Robert's melodic world-fusion vocabulary, such as on Seven Veils or Propagation, Ylang blends Rich's expressive steel guitar, shimmering organic electronics and yearning flute melodies with influences as diverse as south Indian Karnatic music, pulsing minimalism and pensive jazz; while its deconstructed drums and blurry guitar feedback might feel at home with Sigur Ros or Bark Psychosis.
Rich enlists help for this undertaking from a circle of trusted musician friends. The rhythmic scaffolding for the album comes from two very different drummers. Ricky Carter adds his intelligent sparse drumming, fluid with syncopation but complex in meter. These rhythms could be a slow tempo homage to Jaki Leibzeit from Can. Post-processing transforms them into rubbery chuffing abstractions. The other rhythmic foundation comes from the Karnatic mrdungam playing of Sakthivel Muruganandhan, which also wanders into Rich''s sonic blender, shifting from time- stretched blurs into organic live duets with bansuri master Sunilkumar Sankarapillai.
Lilting in and out of this heady atmosphere of South Indian music and minimalist space jazz, the wordless voice of art-pop virtuoso Emily Bezar adds a feminine intelligence to several pieces, and subtle melodic guitar additions from Haroun Serang augment Rich's soaring lap steel feedback. With acoustic bass from Paul Olguin and string additions from Forrest Fang and Hans Christian, the sonic texture warms to a glowing woody earthiness. Rich's audiophile production and delicate sound design glue the textures together into a seductive and inviting mossy nest. From these disparate elements, Ylang forms a sonic entity unto itself.
Rich has performed in caves, cathedrals, planetaria, art galleries and concert halls throughout Europe and North America. His all-night Sleep Concerts, first performed in 1982, became legendary in the San Francisco area. In 1996 he revived his all-night concert format, playing Sleep Concerts for live and radio audiences across the U.S. during a three-month tour (including a stop at WWUH). This will be his 4th visit to WWUH.
Rich has worked with Steve Roach, Robert Lustmord, Graeme Revelle, David Torn, Alio Die, Paul Haslinger, Ian Boddy, Vidna Obmana and others. His sound design graces numerous films and instrument libraries.
Tickets are $20 and are on sale now through the University of Hartford Box Office at (860) 768-4228 or 1-800-274-8587.