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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Värttinä - Ilmatar – With Ilmatar, the Finnish band Värttinä enters a third phase of their career. The switch to NorthSide puts them in the company of many like-minded Scandinavians. Like Sweden’s Hedningarna and...  (2001) » Read more

Jon Hassell & Bluescreen - Dressing for Pleasure – At least ten years before music journalists coined the term "world music," Jon Hassell was developing his fourth world music concepts. Most prog fans are familiar with Jon Hassell from his...  (1994) » Read more

Hamadryad - Live in France 2006 – The Crescendo festival from 2006 featured several of today’s best prog bands, including Quebec’s Hamadryad. This album captures Jean François Désilets (bass, vocals), Denis...  (2008) » Read more

Patrick Broguière - Brocéliande – Another complete surprise from the folks at Musea! Broguière is a young composer and musician from Paris, and Brocéliande is his debut album — a very strong entry for a new musician who shows...  (1995) » Read more

Cheika Rimitti - Sidi Mansour – Cheika ("crazy") Rimitti began her musical career in about 1936. The horrors of war and the epidemics that ravaged her native region of Oran in Algeria gave the inspiration for her first...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues