Robert Rich/Alio Die – Fissures (1997)

Alio Die (Stefano Musso) and Robert Rich are both insanely prolific musicians with an impressive catalog of releases. I can’t really tell you how I first heard of Alio Die (Italian for “another day”, btw.) and why I ended up picking “Fissures” as one of the first albums that I bought, but it quickly grew on me and definitely deserves a place in my series about essential ambient.

Alio Die/Robert Rich - Fissures Front Cover
Alio Die/Robert Rich – Fissures Front Cover

The music is probably on the darker end of the ambient spectrum, though I would not really categorize it as “Dark Ambient” per se. It is soothing, calming, dreamlike – an earthy foundation of deep rumblings and drones, combined with ethereal and haunting melodies.

I listened to this album repeatedly during long distance flights – in that strange state between being awake and dreaming, a sleep that is not sleep, and that we probably choose simply to make time go by, and confuse our bodies inner timing a little more, since we’ll have to deal with the jetlag anyway.

Somehow, this is the connection that remains to this album for me: the soundtrack for this state “in between two worlds” – the liner notes on the back cover actually mention something like that too (no surprise considering the album title, though I never read it until I began writing this post!) but it sounds a bit too esoteric for my taste. :-}

I do own some of Alio Die’s albums by now (like his collaboration series with female vocalists, spanning four albums now), and much less of Robert Rich’s work. One can only listen to so much music in a lifetime. The collector in me wishes to have all their albums, of course, but realistically thinking, I have too much music already, anyway. 😉

My biggest problem with Robert Rich is that, once you’ve heard some of his work, you’ll recognize the same elements again and again. That flute. This portamento. He has his sounds and melodies, and they repeatedly appear in his work, and are a tad too dominant and recognizable for my personal taste. So who knows, if I hadn’t stumbled upon this collaboration with Alio Die first, and one of his other albums instead, I might have a different preference now… ?

More info/Buy used: Discogs
Listen/Buy new: Bandcamp (Hearts of Space label)
More Alio Die: Bandcamp (his own account)
More Robert Rich: all over Bandcamp (various labels)

[this btw. is perhaps my biggest grief with Bandcamp: they should have a virtual “artist page” that combines all releases from one artist into a page, no matter which label it’s on…]