Live Archive & more
by on March 21, 2009 in Recent Activity

Big news first:

Live Archive is done, and it’s working its way to digital download. If you check my Discography page you’ll see cover art, descriptions and track listings. The first place to find the music for sale will be, where lossless FLAC downloads offer true CD quality audio. After that, the files should propagate through the distribution network, including iTunes, Rhapsody and others.

So, what is Live Archive, and why am I releasing it now? Live Archive consists of 7 concerts that I really enjoyed, whose recordings had a good sound quality and where I played something different from the studio. These are mixing board dubs, recorded at CD quality with my approval. Several of the concerts were completely improvised and do not repeat any studio compositions. A few of the recording were available as radio streams, torrents, bootlegs or limited CDRs, so I wanted to give people a chance to get mastered, cleaned-up, full resolution versions of these if they wanted. A few of these concerts represent important pivots in my career, and you can hear ideas in their raw stage of formation.

So why did I wait so long to release some of this music? Well, it’s because of the realities of digital download. Back when a “release” meant a CD, and several thousand dollars invested in manufacturing, marketing, packaging and such, I wanted to keep my releases limited to the latest work. But in retrospect, some of these more improvisational moments of the past have value on their own, as action instead of object, like dance relates to sculpture. The download format also allows for longer durations. Manufactured CDs shouldn’t exceed 74 minutes. Some of these sets were 80-90 minutes long. Even now I faced a challenge to edit them down to an 80 minute CDR-capable format, so people could back-up their lossless downloads.

In general, I prefer to keep my release schedule sparse rather than dense. So, I am releasing these recordings all at once. I’ll treat this as a single release, although it’s 7 releases as far as the outside world may see it. Since the concerts are available as 7 separate downloads, people can decide which ones they want to hear; I will let the listeners vote on the recordings they prefer.

In the future, I might consider releasing some or all of this music in a physical form, and I encourage people to comment on their interests. One possibility is to take pre-orders on a limited boxed set of 10 CDs and art, perhaps including suplementals such as a DVD of the films that Paul Clipson created for the Volume 6 “Lumin” event. I doubt that the physical release will happen, seeing how the world has moved almost completely to download last year; but I am open to requests.

I will write another blog, and send an email newsletter, when these downloads actually become available for purchase.

As an addendum to the big news, here are two tidbits:

I now have a Twitter account: robertrichmusic. If you want to get bits of news from me, feel free to follow on that address. I admit that I don’t yet have a text-friendly cellphone, but I’ll send news from my computer when anything big that’s interesting happens.

Also, for those awaiting new RR solo music: I had a great recording session with my percussionist friend Ricky Carter last Saturday, to help me start some rhythm loops for my next album. I am VERY happy with the results. Now I have to chew on a bunch of cool grooves and maybe eventually come up with a few good ideas to go along with those rhythms. I’m sitting on a deep in-the-pocket vibe these days, wanting to find the voice for the next album. Audio samples may yet be six months or more in the future. I apologize for working so slowly.

Peace to you all – Robert

24 Responses to Live Archive & more

  1. Sergio says:

    Hi Robert, that’s really good news about the archive recordings.
    I have one question, have you thought that, instead of the cd box set (which, if released, i’ll be more than happy to get), it could be cheaper maybe just releasing a DVD rom with the audio files and artwork so anyone can burn the cd’s off these files and have the backup already?
    All the best, take care

  2. admin says:

    Hi Sergio – a set of 2 or 3 data DVD-Rs would be an option for those with slow internet connections. Remember that there are about 10 Gb of data when saved uncompressed. If enough people want something like that, I could offer it, but I might have to take pre-orders. – RR

  3. New Robert Rich Live Releases | Avant Music News

  4. Don says:

    Very excited to hear these concerts.

    I will be buying most if not all of them.

    I would purchase a physical release however
    most of your fans would have bought the digital files by the time something would come out.
    That’s the only issue I have with issuing a physical release later, especially if it contains something not offered in the upcoming digital releases.

    In any case, these concert releases are great news and I
    look forward to hearing them (especially the deeper ambient ones mentioned).

    Thank you for releasing them.

  5. k. ryan says:

    I am pleased as a fan that you are getting a good response for the live download releases. I however for my own quirky creative nature do not buy many live recordings, some of yours are the few I own in electronic music. I also for financial reasons would probably ever be able to afford a 10 cd release of this live music, or really be interested in it..I’d much rather take that cash and drive out west to see you perform live. But as a devoted fan of all the studio work, would be more than supportive on any decision made that keeps the name and art of RR alive. Also any decision made to keep soundscape studios in production. I await with exuberance any new studio work, and another chance to see the Maestro ride the waves in person.
    Faithfully..LF Studios, Texas.

  6. Joe says:

    Good news about the live stuff. Stuff like Inner Landscapes are some of my favorites.

    I think you’ll fit in well with the geeky Twitter crowd. You don’t necessarily have to answer the question ‘What am I doing now?’ but you can answer ‘What can I say that’s interesting?’.

    The next step is to get an account on stickam or ustream, and have a live concert from your house. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. admin says:

    Yeah, that Twitter question always makes me want to say “I’m typing into Twitter right now, whadya think I’m doing?” – RR

  8. Steve Davis says:

    Hi Robert,

    Good news indeed about the Live Archive. I purchased downloads of the two Dub Beautiful sponsored concerts a couple of years ago — through the Fake Science website (which seems inactive or dead now). Is the audio of the new Live Archive downloads really significantly better? I do understand the advantages of FLAC files over MP3s… but are there differences in the mastering & “cleaning up” of the audio itself?

    Re: physical product or lack thereof — I think a 10-CD set is not really needed (or even desirable) if the music is available as digital downloads. Do you really want to go down the ‘KS box set’ road? ๐Ÿ˜‰ [just kidding; I’ve bought a number of Klaus’ box sets, and like much of the music.]

    A 10-disc box would be overkill for all but your most loyal fans, many of whom would have already purchased at least some of the downloads. But how about selecting the best moments of Live Archive and releasing just one or two “real” manufactured CDs that highlight the best improvisations…not duplicating tracks that are already on studio releases?

    Looking forward to your slowly-gestating new studio album.

    Best to you & Dixie,

    Steve D.

  9. admin says:

    Thanks for the comments! The Dub Beautiful concert is better quality than the web download, mastered from original DAT recordings. Mastering is of the non-invasive sort, just a bit of EQ and riding gain a tiny bit. I agree with you about the limited audience for the 10-CD set. That’s also why I’m splitting these out into separate concerts, so people don’t have to duplicate things they already have (even if they might be bootlegs…) The only official previous releases in this collection are “Alien Zoology” and “Shamballa” along with the KFJC stream from Day of Drone that I’m calling “Mycosphere”, which was very low resolution in its stream. Everything else has been languishing on my shelves.

    In my opinion, the three releases of most interest might be Due Acque, Lumin, and Mycosphere. The Paris “Ici et Maintenant” is really interesting from a historical point of view, but I think only about half of it holds up to modern standards; but since that half still adds up to over 80 minutes, I figured I would just spew it out there and let others decide what they like.

    I’ll make data DVDs with 256 bps MP3 files to send to radio and press. This might be an option to send to fans unwilling to download. I haven’t worked out the details on that idea, but I agree with Steve that 10 CDs is not necessary.

    Peace – RR

  10. Don says:


    I understand you will post another update when the downloads are ready to be purchased but may I ask approximately when that will be? April or later?
    Just curious…


  11. admin says:

    All of the materials are making their way through the system. It might only be a few days before Musiczeit gets them up, and CD Baby should also be quick. iTunes and others need to propagate through the system, and might be as long as a couple months. As soon as the first ones show up, I’ll send out the news – hopefully next week. – RR

  12. Simon Stopher says:

    Hi Robert – all this activity at once!

    I am a stickler for the physical releases. Sorry. If there is a 10 CD set going to be made available, I’ll take it over a download.

    Let me know how that progresses, if at all.



  13. Don says:

    It’s for sale now!

    Really excited about these.

    I’m downloading Mycosphere now with more to follow.
    I heard the radio stream of this one and loved it.

    Thank you again for making these avaliable Robert.

  14. Chris Reed says:

    I add my voice to the chorus of approval…. I’ve heard a couple of these (Zoology comes to mind) but the quality was rather low, even if the music was terrific. I’ll be delighted to add these to my collection as they become available.

    One additional question – eMusic, which I’ve subscribed to for years, has quite a number of your releases available already. I’m hoping that these will also be posted there. Is that the case, do you know?

    All the best to you and your wife!!

  15. chris riley says:


    This is really wonderful. Have immersed myself in the recordings and agree that its better for not being on CD. I downloaded, put on the various machines and have RR in all corners of the house on iPod on the go. Really fun. This is the way to go. I love the immediacy and the simplicity of the downloads.

    I would also buy vinyl versions of course!


    ๐Ÿ˜‰ C

  16. Joe says:

    I can confirm they’re on, with 30 second previews of each track. You can buy cd’s or whole album mp3’s.

  17. Chris Reed says:

    On reflection, the idea of releasing DVDs of high-res MP3 versions could be a very good one! I’d certainly buy it… Please keep us informed if that becomes an option, as well!


  18. Richard Gurtler says:

    Hi Robert,

    I think physical CDs of “Live Archive” (priced at $12.97) are not available on CD Baby as confirmed above by Joe, only mp3’s. It looks like there is wrong information on their side. If necessary, please correct this, thanks!

    I stay tuned, all the best to you & Dixie

  19. admin says:

    You are correct that CD Baby is not selling CDs of Live Archive, only downloads. Joe made a mistake when he wrote that. If you check the CD Baby pages, you will only see MP3 for sale, not CDs, so their info is correct. I’m going to investigate one new option for you lovers of plastic objects, but the 80 minute length might still pose a problem. We’ll see.

  20. Sergio says:

    Hi Robert, just finished listening to all the live recordings, not only that the sound quality is amazing, as usual, but the quality of the music itself, dark, ethereal, moving throughout every single concert, just want to say thanks for putting out all this stuff that really deserves to be released, looking forward to listen to your new material, take care.

  21. Chris Reed says:

    I’m still curious about the eMusic question I posed earlier…. I’ll be glad to acquire the recordings through other means if that’s what it takes, but I would still like to know if the Live Archive recordings will be available through them at some point.

    Thanks very much for your attention!

  22. admin says:

    To answer Chris’ question, eMusic will probably pick up “Live Archive” at some point soon, but they haven’t yet. iTunes does carry it now, however. For iTunes you can go to

    Because of eMusic’s subscription model, artist’s get paid very little when someone downloads an album. It serves as a promotional device, because it encourages people to try new music, but it doesn’t help the bottom line. Downloads purchased through CDBaby deliver the highest percentages to artists, so obviously I would recommend them first. However, I do want to see these recordings become available to as many people as possible, so I am working to get them to sources that charge less.

    For those clamoring for hard-copy, I am also working with Magnatune, who offer a “pay-what-you-want” model for downloads and also sell one-off CDs that they’ll ship to you. Those CDs won’t have cover art, but I can arrange for PDF downloads from here. As soon as Magnatune brings those titles online, I will post a new blog for people to know they’re available. – RR

  23. Simon Stopher says:

    Hi Robert – thanks for the update.

    I had never heard of Magnatune, so I had a quick look at their website. Interesting. I see that they do the cover art as well.

    As soon as they come on board I will purchase!

    Great news!

  24. Chris Reed says:

    Thanks for your answer about Emusic… I was curious about it but because of their usually somewhat reduced bitrate quality I’ll be buying the Live Archive materials elsewhere myself (probably CDBaby), I’m sure. I do have friends, however, who also subscribe to Emusic and have enjoyed other of your releases they picked up there – usually ones they’d heard on my stereos or in my car originally. I feel sure that some of them will be delighted to pick up tracks from the series there, so I’ll let them know they can most likely expect them at some point later on.


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