Propagation is a deep ambient album featuring music that explores the idea of life spreading itself. Robert Rich submerses you in a soundscape that has an organic and primitive electronic feel.
The titles of his pieces on Propagation capture the spirit of the music: “Animus”, “Lifeblood”, and “Whispers of Eden”. Each of the pieces on the album has a dark texture, where sounds seem distant or veiled.
The pace of the album is very slow. The pieces have a pulse, played out on acoustic percussion, but they are very lanquid. Rich plays a variety of flutes, including bamboo and PVC, and treats the flutes with a great deal of reverb so that they have an almost pad-like texture. He also plays various synthesizers, slide guitar, dumbecs, talking drums, waterphone, key tree, chimes, and rainstick.
While the overall texture of the album in ambient, it is often melodic and sensuous. His flute melodies give the music a tranquil feel. Several other musicians add their improvisational touches. Lisa Moskow contributes Indian sarod melodies, Forest Fang adds oriental violin melodies, and Carter Scholz plays Indonesian gamelan.
The CD is well-thought out, and plays well as a coherent whole. The pieces are tied together through the use of similar instrumentation, but each piece has its own personality. The murky textures and lively playing on Propogation capture the idea of nature reproducing itself in dark and beautiful ways.