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Seven Veils
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Robert Rich (lap steel guitar, dulcimer, rubberband marimba, waterphone, glurp, bamboo & pvc flutes, synthesizers, drums, percussion, samples); David Torn (guitar); Forrest Fang (violin); Hans Christian (cello); Andrew McGowan (bass); Mark Forry (Balkan kaval).
  • Personnel: Robert Rich (slide guitar, lap steel guitar, bamboo flute, synthesizer, drums, percussion, sampler); David Torn (guitar, electric guitar); Forrest Fang (violin); Hans Christian (cello); Mark Forry (kaval).
  • Audio Mixer: Robert Rich.
  • Recording information: Soundscape Studio (07/1996-09/1997).
  • Photographers: Robert Holmes; Brad Cole .
  • Unknown Contributor Role: Robert Rich.
  • Robert Rich is a master alchemist at weaving exotic ethnic sounds onto an ambient electronic background tapestry. On Seven Veils, Rich takes from the Middle East desert tones that speak of slender minarets, ancient landscapes, and the wealth of forgotten nations buried in the fertile crescent. Adding to the richness of this offering, these melodies are not as often sampled as they are played on live instrumentation. Indeed, the instruments of diverse cultures are brought to bear on incarnating these pseudo-Arabic stylings. Guitar, played hauntingly and sparsely, as a flavoring instrument, is prominent. Rich himself plays the lap steel guitar throughout the album, and avant-garde journeyman experimental guitarist David Torn is present on two tracks. The melody is actually most often rising from Rich's bamboo and PVC flutes. Their warm resonance and the human sound of respiring they bring goes far to make this a warm and intimate recording. Subtle but diverse percussion is enhanced with rubber band marimba and dulcimer in setting a foundation for these tracks. The highlight is a 15-minute piece, "The Book of Ecstasy." Over three "chapters," the listener is taken from a lonely percussion introduction sparkling with ghost-like effected treble sounds of guitar and electronics to Torn's sonorous guitar solo. Finally, the listener goes alight in "A Veiled Oasis" where the flute and cello (courtesy of Hans Christian of Amoeba) mark the boundaries of a cool, moonlit island in a harsh sea of sand. This Muslim psychedelia is a must for every shrinking world audiophile. ~ Tom Schulte
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