Richard Bone – Serene Life of Microbes

Richard Bone’s Serene Life of Microbes is a tranquil dark ambient release that blurs the lines between electronic music and ambient sound.

The CD is Bone’s first album on the AD Music label, and seems to represent a bit of new direction for the label. AD’s releases tend towards the new age, melodic electronic. Serene Life of Microbes is more of a dark ambient, drone music release. Bone has multiple earlier releases going back to the 70’s, many of which are published on his own Quirkworks Laboratory Discs label.

The Serene Life of Microbes is a wonderful way for Bone to start his relationship with AD, and is a great addition to the label’s catalog. Like other AD releases, the CD has gorgeous packaging, in this case featuring microscopic photography. The music is primarily electronic, but also includes piano and environmental sounds.

The nine tracks vary a lot in their sound, but have enough common elements to give the CD a cohesive sound. For example, the first track, Attenuation, watery noise effects that give the effect of submersing the listener into an exotic electronic space. As the track develops, Bone adds muted synth strings and effects and arpeggiated synths. The track flows smoothly into The Seduction of Dr. Pasteur, a gorgeous drone piece that layers loops of drifting washes of sounds to create a lovely timeless effect.

Other highlights are Thermatoga, a dark ambient piece that combines alternating synth chords with more melodic electric piano and Autotrophic Light, a quirky sequence-based track.

The Serene Life of Microbes doesn’t fit easily into categories. It combines the off-kilter sensibility of Eno’s short tone-poems more of an American space music sensibility. You can preview the tracks at the AD Music site.


  • Attenuation
  • The Seduction of Dr. Pasteur
  • Protozoa, Mon Amour
  • Autotrophic Light
  • Evolution Primitive
  • This Radiant Life
  • Thermatoga
  • Archaea Apart
  • Going Dormant

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