Medicine Box


Released 2011

Soundscape SP022, CD

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Ecstatic, shamanic, surreal, spiritual: Medicine Box may be Rich's most dynamic album yet, an adept blending of technology with the ancient.

Chari Chuang's wordless crystalline voice graces three songs, with traces of Persian inflection. Deep basslines hint at dub, while analog synth skitters and chuffs the outlines of a rhythmic grid, propelled forward by pulsing north African drums. Sustaining guitars bring a psychedelic edge. Cello and reeds echo plaintively in the distance. Rich's sparse piano adds droplets of modal jazz to this dark tea.

Haroun Serang: guitar on 1
Chari Chuang: voice on 2,6,9
Edo Castro: bass on 3,6,9
Hans Christian: cello on 3,5,7,9
Slim Heilpern: chromatic harmonica on 4
Robert Rich: synths & MOTM, flutes, steel guitars, piano, bass, percussion

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Robert Rich at Soundscape, 2011.
Microphones by ADK, Blue, Josephson, Royer.
Custom Sustainiac lap steel guitar by Todd Plummer.
Software by Camel Audio, Izotope, Flux, Audio Damage, Galbanum.
Thanks to Jeff Taylor-Cross/Apple, Paul Schreiber/MOTM, Dan Brown/AudioSage, Chuck Oken/Noise Bug, +Dixie.
Edo Castro appears courtesy of Passion Star Records.
Cover art and design by John Bergin

Reviews of Medicine Box:

A beautiful poetic album... soaked by a fascinating shamanic aura. (Sylvain Lupari, GoD)

Fragility, free-floating, psychedelic, shadowy and surreal. (Ulf Backstrom - Merlin Prog)

Pure listening pleasure... (Archie Patterson, Eurock)

Thirty years, still going strong. Medicine Box might be Robert Rich's finest release -- no small accomplishment considering it's his 26th solo work along with 14 collaborations.
The ambient maestro started out performing nine-hour "sleep concerts" for audiences dozing in sleeping bags. Over the years he has shifted from atmospheric drones to more organically lush compositions fusing electric and acoustic instruments while dabbling in world-beat rhythmic patterns. Using alternate tunings, microtones and an array of homemade instruments, Rich's music is a far cry from new age.
Medicine Box opens with warmly textured percussion, heavenly keys and acoustic guitar supporting a gorgeously crying electric guitar. The beauty of following cut "Kaaruwana" is indescribable, with Chari Chuang's haunting wordless vocals gliding over a somber Middle Eastern-flavored soundscape. Her angelic voice graces two other selections. Rich's imaginative use of lap steel guitar on "Callyx" is another of many high points as well as his keyboard mastery throughout. Some cuts are anchored by exotic percussion, others gently float with minimal rhythmic support. This album pleases body and soul as well as the ears.
(Warren Barker, Progression Magazine)