Filaments

Album

Released 2015

Soundscape Productions SP026, CD/Download

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Shimmering, pulsating, woven patterns of electrical filagree echo hidden structures that permeate space and time, inspired by our latest forays in cosmology and the constant search to understand our place in the vastness.

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Recorded 2012-2014 by Robert Rich at Soundscape, Mountain View, CA. Mixed and mastered in Autumn 2014. (c)(p) 2015 by Robert Rich, BMI. Instruments include MOTM and Euro modular, DSI P12 and Pro2, Lap Steel Guitars (by Todd Plummer and Morrell), Korg Wavestation and M3, zither, piano, Eowave Ribbon and Resonator, various other instruments. Thanks to many, including Synthesis Technology, Dave Smith Instruments, 2C Audio, Izotope, Old Crow, STG, Ableton, and of course Dixie. Front cover painting Luminary (c) Nad Wolinska, inside painting Three Spheres Reflecting Upon Each Other (c) Daniel Cake, used with permission and gratitude. Luminary photo by Christian Tanimoto III. Design and layout by John Bergin. More at http://robertrich.com

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Filaments of silent matter surround us. Rivers of particles pass through, unscathed. Fields of energy engulf us, curving through vacuum. Invisible glue coagulates light. Briefly alive, we try to decode time's transit, to unwrap hidden forces that fuel the ever accelerating distance.

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I am deeply inspired by the scientific forays helping us to discover habitable planets besides earth, showing us that we are almost certainly not alone in the Universe. I feel wonder at our efforts to place our precarious existence into the context of this 13.8 billon year old reality, and at our model-building nature, trying to understand the shape of space and time.

As I sought inspiration for this music in the realms of physics and cosmology, I found that the concept of the Anthropic Principle helps to connect my sense of wonder with the scientific curiosity that keeps us doubting what we think we know. The Anthropic Principle observes that our particular universe is well suited to evolve consciousness within it, as evidenced by the fact that we exist. As we look within our own consciousness, we find our place in this immensity, as an eye of the universe observing itself. This doesn't place humanity in a special central position, but does make note of the surprising complexity of our existence. As we proceed to undermine the dynamic balance that helped us evolve on this Eden Earth, putting our own future in doubt, we should pause to understand the miracle that allowed us to exist at all.

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Filaments are the strands of condensed energy-matter that formed out of the earliest inflationary period in our universe, and helped pull together the gasses that eventually became our cosmos. A Majorana Fermion is a particle that is also its own antiparticle. In condensed matter physics, it might help us understand how superconductivity works, and in cosmology it might hold a key to the puzzle of dark matter. Scintilla describes the light of the stars, which help us look back into time as well as distance. Aetherfields ponders the idea that empty space might actually have a propagating substrate, an aether - an idea rejected in the last century, but reexamined more recently, to try once again to unify gravitation with quantum physics. Entangled gets its name from a special relationship between two particles, when the state of one can be known by the state its entangled partner (for example, the polarity of two photons that have been generated symmetrically.) Bell's Theorem allows that in this manner, information might travel faster than light. Eulalia is a group of near-earth asteroids, and (495) Eulalia is identified as the source for a meteorite landing near Sutter's Mill CA in 2013. It appears that much of the earth's past and future - and the ingredients for life itself - are shaped by frequent bombardments from space. Laniakea is the name given to our local supercluster of galaxies, spanning 160 megaparsecs with around 100,000 galaxies including the Milky Way. Aetherfolds imagines the warping of space-time by gravitation or motion. Telomeres are repeating bits of DNA at the tips of our chromosomes, which shorten every time a cell divides. Perhaps these act as ticking clocks, defining our biological age, reminding every cell of our mortality.

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Rated one of the top new releases of 2015 by Ambient Music Guide:

"If there was such a thing as ambient royalty, Robert Rich would surely count among its ranks. The Bay Area musician is now in his forth decade of releasing and performing and has helped pioneer multiple strands in experimental electronic music and old-school ambient including spacemusic, ethno-ambient, dark ambient and psychedelic drones.

Although a prolific live performer, the flow of new studio albums has slowed somewhat in the last decade; Filaments makes a three year gap since the extremely quiet environmental spaces of his previous album Nest (2012). This time he revisits the bubbling arpeggios of the Berlin school, a sound not explicit in his work for some time. Of course, he plays with this iconic European style in his own distinctive way. Many of his electro-acoustic signatures are still there - morphing liquid harmonies, crying siren-like vocals from his lap steel guitar, spare piano, blurry colours and lots of space. Fans will notice the apparent absence of flutes and his custom PVC pipes; a little surprising but not at all to the detriment of the music he's created here.

Thematically, the album draws inspiration from the realms of physics and cosmology. It's a meditation on the strands of condensed energy-matter that make our fragile existence possible, the filaments that formed out of the earliest inflationary period in our universe. A deep subject calls for deep music, and on that front Filaments delivers masterfully."

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