-page 24- excerpts from: The geometry of glurp Robert Rich Interview by Bryan Reesman
RICH: It was ambient industrial in 1978. Sometime around then, I had this parallel path. I was doing all this noisy stuff with my friends and then also getting very interested in a certain school of the avant-garde like John Cage and the Fluxus artists that included Nam June Paik, and Yoko Ono, I think. A lot of this music was extremely minimal, music that wasn't sound so much as perception, stuff that was almost designed to go away from the perceptions and leave the listener noticing the world around them rather than the sound itself. This idea really influenced me.
I started using the modular synthesizers to create sound environments. Although I didn't really have the tools to allow it to happen, my hope was to create these soundscapes that would modify themselves over time, these very long voltage sweeps that would take hours to occur. The idea was that over the period of a nighttime, the pitches would change and the timbres would change and ideally create something that was beyond my control at some conceptual level, but really wasn't. It was more like programming software in that if there's randomness, it's all randomness that you've planned into the machine.
But what this showed me was this whole landscape idea of sound, this music where the composer disappears and there's just this sound. So that started a journey which ended up being the path that was noticed, the path that became my career. And the noise music kind of went by the wayside.
I started doing these concerts that lasted all night long and that was mostly a way to find out how to get an audience to listen to this long-tone music. I was doing this for myself, setting up the synthesizers to make noise all night long, and then I'd end up falling asleep to it and I'd be waking up in the morning to this totally strange landscape of sound.
The first sleep concert I held was in college in 1981, and I did it in the dormitory I was living in at Stanford. My idea was that it was a way to get people to listen to music in a totally different way. I wanted to break down all expectations and also find a way to encourage the exploration of altered states of consciousness within music, to use music in order to journey in the head. -page 24-
Typed by Cheryl Vega 3-22-95