Referred to as “a sonic tincture of shamanic energy, at once ecstatic and shadowy, fragile and surreal, fluid and psychedelic”, to me the ancient meets the modern while the dynamic meets the reflective on the Robert Rich release “Medicine Box”.
Next to some velvet and graceful wordless vocals on three tracks, the worldmusic flavoured recording features a beautiful kaleidoscope of sounds ranging from sophisticated textural pads, bass, flutes, percussion and piano to lapsteel guitar. The nine tracks breath the soft pulse of real world surrealism with ethereal, vintage analogue and tribal undercurrents although hints of jazz are also noticeable.
Personally I’m very fond of the smooth, elevating atmosphere created on the second piece “Kaaruwana”, featuring the beautiful vocal tapestry of Cheri Chuang. On the other hand, I found the experimental-oriented “Cornea” difficult to digest.
The great “Callyx” and “Salamander Quay” though makes one remember the albums “Rain Forest” and “Numena”, but now revised and overhauled with contemporary technology. The 10-minute “Helios” closing the album is another very nicely rendered atmospheric sound painting to elevating effect.
Beside making up something special and unorthodox, the excellently mastered and detailed sounding “Medicine Box” makes quite an organic founded release, opening a new pathway and dimension in Roberts already lengthy discography. Also a big compliment to John Bergin’s great artwork gracing the digi-pack.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Robert Rich artist page
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