Ambient music maestro Robert Rich’s latest album, titled Offering to the Morning Fog, was created in response to listeners’ requests for music “that could offer a quiet place for them to breathe for a while.” Or as he explained in his newsletter:
I have pondered how best to respond to a very intense time, in a way that might still feel relevant in a few years, when some of these shadows recede into memory. I was halfway through an active album, full of challenging filagree and ear bending tunings. I set that aside when I realized that people were asking me for a type of album that I had not made in many years. This one is spontaneous, quiet, gentle, and not trying to make any statement at all. I intend it as a gift.
Compared to 2019’s Tactile Ground, Offering to the Morning Fog hews closer to the ethno-ambient of Rich’s earlier work. The album, which clocks in at just under 70 minutes, is primarily characterized by melancholy and mournful flute sounds that drift over subtle, formless soundscapes, accented by sparse chimes and the occasional recording of nature.
Offering to the Morning Fog is not exactly foreboding or ominous, which would go against Rich’s stated intention of the album being a“quiet place” in which listeners can find solace. But neither is it just passive background music that you can tune out or bliss out to as you like.
The best way I can describe it is that the album evokes a sense of wandering through dense, mist-enshrouded jungles and exploring ancient, overgrown ruins, i.e., places that are imbued with a sense of timeless mystery that’s impossible to ignore. It’s peaceful and contemplative, yes, but otherworldly and not without hints of darkness. As with much of Rich’s music, Offering to the Morning Fog is very evocative — a lush sonic world that’s ready for you to explore when you need an escape from this one.
Offering to the Morning Fog is currently available as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp. A CD version will be released in July.