Exposé Online banner

Robert Rich — Trances / Drones
(Hypnos hyp3364, 1984/2013, 2CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2015-06-18:

Trances / Drones Cover art

McLatchey's Top Tier #21

I'm not sure there's any musician alive who has a discography as long and deep as Robert Rich, and as I continue to make posts there's going to be quite a few of his albums in the next tier or so. I went to see him play in Davis, CA in the 90s thinking I had everything he had released at the time only to see these cassettes being sold at his table. Anyway I wouldn't say this is Robert's best, after all I believe it was his third cassette in the early 80s, but even then he'd completely mastered long form ambient music. "Seascape" in particular is a piece I've played endlessly, wearing out the cassette, switching to the double CD of Trances/Drones when it came out and even considering getting a newer version just to make sure I never lose track of it. This is music you can just fall into.


by Mike McLatchey, 1995-03-01:

This may be my favorite rerelease of the year, especially in the electronic/ambient vein. Trances and Drones were Stanford-based composer Rich's second and third cassette releases in 1984. While Rich has long moved on to other pastures anew, adding a wider range of instrumentation and joining the Hearts of Space roster, Extreme has made the wise choice of reissuing these classic works remastered with two bonus tracks — a remastered title track from his rare first cassette Sunyata (also well worthy of CD release) and a previously unreleased cut. Trances and Drones were both extremely atmospheric works done primarily on a Prophet 5 and a self built modular (do I have it right this time?). Slowly evolving, incredibly evocative, and uniquely beautiful, I practically wore out my tapes of these titles before this wonderful duo box came out. This set certainly isn't indicative of Rich's various later explorations, these tapes are non-percussive and more deeply sonorous than his Roach collaborations or albums like Geometry (reviewed elsewhere) or Gaudi. Nevertheless, I consider both of these essential for the ambient connoisseur — both CDs are worth the price for "Hayagriva" (second side of Trances) alone.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 6 , 2013 releases, 1984 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich

More info

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bloque - El Hijo del Alba – Bloque were a Spanish quintet who released several albums on the Chapa label in the late 70s/early 80s of which this is their third album and arguably best. Bloque played in a pretty straight-forward...  (1996) » Read more

Abacus - Destiny – With a self-important air and a melodic core harking back to 70s progressive kitsch (think voice and piano themes in certain Styx, Foreigner or Toto songs), Abacus’ sixth studio album...  (2011) » Read more

Aton's - Klein & Wagner – Aton's is led by vocalist / guitarist / keyboardist Pietro Ratto, who is also the sole songwriter for the band. For the most part, the compositions are more interesting rhythmically than...  (1997) » Read more

Kaizen - Gargula – This was reviewed before, in issue #7. I'll admit to being not terribly impressed with this album upon first listen. But after several plays, the music got to me, and now I can't get enough of...  (1997) » Read more

Escapade - Searching for the Elusive Rainbow – One wouldn't think that music this trippy could come from the USA in the 90s; indeed, the references in Escapade's music go back to the experimental Krautrock of the earliest 70s —...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues