‘What We Left Behind’ – Robert Rich and 21st Century Shamanism

Robert-Rich_What_we_left_behindAmbient electronic composer and musician Robert Rich has released a new album this week, “What We Left Behind.”

Rich shared the inspiration for the title and the background for the story told by the songs on “Behind” in a profile article by Michael Brückner, recently published on the Ambient Visions website:

“[The album] imagines a journey on the wing of a messenger with black feathers, showing me the future. The crow is like a spirit guide in this dream…. In my vision, the earth is doing just fine without humans, and the harm that we caused, the massive extinction event, climate change, lingering radioactivity… all of that has faded in a million years. New minds have evolved, new problems perhaps. We were just a part of the flow of life.”

21st century shamanism. The long, wide-ranging interview also examines how Rich crafted his own vision of modern shamanism and how to express that in his music: “I looked at ethnomusicology writings, and sacred music from all traditions, trying to understand how it worked, how it transformed people. The question became: How to create a shamanic journey without the trappings of appropriated cultural languages, but rather with our own relevant language? How to create a 21st century shamanism that allowed room for a more scientific critical mind, rather than trying to obscure things in magical language?”

On his recent synth-sound design projects, Rich expalins “I have a long friendship with people who used to be at Sequential Circuits, who then formed Dave Smith Instruments…. with many other sound designers, I contributed presets to all of their recent synths, most recently the OB-6 collaboration with Tom Oberheim, plus some FM sounds for the new operating system upgrade to the Prophet 12.”

Moogfest-2016Robert’s next public performance will be an all-night “sleep concert,” happening overnight Thursday (May 19) into Friday morning at Moogfest 2016 in Durham, NC. More information about the sleep concert, and about the Moogfest event, are on the Moogfest 2016 website.

You can read the full Robert Rich interview on Ambient Visions, and hear excerpts of tracks from the new album, “What We Left Behind,” on record label Spotted Peccary’s site.

4 thoughts on “‘What We Left Behind’ – Robert Rich and 21st Century Shamanism

  1. Top bloke, Robert Rich and top sounds too.
    I agree about obscuring messages in “obtuse” language but music, at its best, is a magical language.

  2. Interested in attending a “sleep concert” by R. Rich. Unfortunately it’s at Moogfest.
    Hope they record and release his performance.

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