Numena + Geometry


Released 1997

HOS/Fathom HS11077, CD

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(Review from This double-CD reissue of two early Rich albums make good companion pieces. One can hear the seeds being lain for the organic Rainforest two earlier in 1987's Numena. It was also the first album in which he explored the tuning system of just intonation, which is based upon whole numbered ratios between frequencies. The album opens with "The Other Side of Twilight," a beautiful epic track balancing animated sequencer lines and sustained, slow motion keyboards in an aural ballet where each takes turns dominating the mix. Meanwhile "Moss Dance" takes an earthier approach with its intense interplay of mallet kalimba, flute, and synth washes. This four-song album shows that even in his early days, Rich had already begun solidifying his personal sound and style. Recorded over one year later, Geometry was inspired by the mathematical relationships between the notes in just intonation. There are three main types of compositions here--droning atmospheres, percolating ethnoambient works, and electronic pieces intertwining layers of sequenced melodies and rhythms in mind-boggling ways. Rather than set his sequencers on stun with rigid rhythms on these latter cuts, he mixes ever-changing programmed polyrhythms with live keyboard playing in beguiling ways, steadfastly proving that electronic musicians can be far more than pedestrian knob-twiddlers. As a twosome, Numena and Geometry represent a sort of yin and yang amongst the Rich oeuvre, and paired together they are truly revelatory. --Bryan Reesman