Robert Rich Biography

With over 30 albums, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize. Part of his unique sound comes from using home-made acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal tunings, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks. Rich began building his own analog synthesizers in 1976, when he was 13 years old, and later studied for a year at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

Rich released his first album Sunyata in 1982. Most of his subsequent recordings came out in Europe until 1989, when Rich began a string of critically acclaimed releases for Fathom/Hearts of Space, including Rainforest (1989), Gaudí (1991), Propagation (1994) and Seven Veils (1998). His two collaborations with Steve Roach, Strata (1990) and Soma (1992), both charted for several months in Billboard. Other respected collaborations include Stalker (1995 with B. Lustmord), Fissures (1997 with Alio Die) and Outpost (2002 with Ian Boddy.) Rich's contributions to multi-artist compilations have been collected on his solo albums A Troubled Resting Place (1996) and Below Zero (1998). He also records with his group, Amoeba, exploring atmospheric songcraft on their CDs Watchful (1997) and Pivot (2000). Live albums such as Calling Down the Sky (2004) and 3-CD Humidity (2000) document the unique improvised flow of his performances.

Rich has performed in caves, cathedrals, planetaria, art galleries and festivals and concert halls throughout Europe and North America. His all-night Sleep Concerts, first performed in 1982, became legendary in the San Francisco area. In 1996 he revived his all-night concert format, playing Sleep Concerts for live and radio audiences across the U.S. during a three month tour. In 2001 Rich released the 7 hour DVD Somnium, a studio distillation of the Sleep Concert experience, possibly the longest continuous piece of music ever released.

Rich has designed sounds for television and film scores, including the films Pitch Black, Crazy Beautiful, Behind Enemy Lines and others. His musical score graces Yahia Mehamdi's documentary on worker's compensation, Thank You for your Patience. Rich has worked closely with electronic instrument manufacturers, and his sound design fills the preset libraries of Emu's Proteus 3 and Morpheus, Seer Systems' Reality, sampling disks Things that Go Bump in the Night, ACID Loop Library Liquid Planet, and the TimewARP2600 soft-synth by WayOutWare. Rich has written software for composers who work in just intonation, and he helped develop the MIDI microtuning specification, which was accepted as an industry standard. As mastering engineer, he has applied his ear to dozens of albums, and his studio was featured twice in Keyboard Magazine.

For more information about Robert Rich, visit his website at

"Robert Rich's recordings are fast becoming recognized as pioneering works, having taken electronic music to previously unrealized levels of innovation."
Darren Bergstein, I/E

"A music-scape that oozes with primitive life, as if pulsing from the swamp itself. . . A time traveller searching for the aperture that looks back to Eden."

"Countless, beautiful, diverse, intense, evocative, innovative, lavish, awesome soundscapes."

"Nothing, not one note, seems out of place or contrived. . .A bright and attractive fusion of the ancient and the modern, a bold groundbreaking musical statement."
Ben Kettlewell, DREAMSWORD

"Like listening to sonic architecture. . . Rich's structures are geometrical, yet organic."
Linda Kohanov, PULSE!

"This is surely the stuff that fantasies are made of..."
P.J. Birosik, L.A. RESOURCES