©2008 by Robert Rich, BMI
Special thanks to Dan Kletter and the KFJC staff.
Robert Rich played Korg M3 and Ableton Live with M-Audio Ozonic controller
My relationship with radio station KFJC goes back to the mid '70s, when as a teenager I began to hear crazy new music emanating from this local Bay Area college station. KFJC opened my ears to punk and industrial, outside jazz, progressive and space-rock. I performed my very first live concert on the air at KFJC in November of 1980, with my band Quote Unquote. I was 17 years old. Since then I have performed live on their airwaves several times: in 1984 with my group Urdu; a 1996 all night solo sleep concert; a 1999 "Humidity" style improvisation; and this 2008 contribution to the Day of Drone.
Dan Kletter was among the best of many KFJC staff that supported my music and championed my neighborhood status. I first met Dan at KFJC in 1995 when doing a duo interview with Brian Williams while we were working on Stalker. (Another KFJC ally, Russ Kent, scheduled that interview and also helped a great deal during those years.) Dan and I stayed in touch after that. Sometimes we saw each other at the post office downtown. He helped promote my local concerts on the air, and invited me several times to come to the station and perform.
Dan Kletter contacted me in late 2007 to ask if I would be interested in contributing to a "Day of Drone" on the air in the Spring of 2008. Of course I said yes, as long as I could perform at an easy hour. He scheduled me for late Saturday afternoon on May 31, guessing this could be a good time for listeners. I was happy that I wouldn't have to stay up all night. I prepared a very minimal rig, with a new sampler-workstation that I had just started programming with cloudy loops and modular synth abstractions, and a laptop running Ableton Live to play environments and extended soundscapes. I decided to remain in an improvised mindset, shaping textures as needed. Careful listeners might notice some layered elements that recur in various other concerts or albums, repurposed here in a unique context. Thus is the nature of loops and samples. For improvisations like this, I tend to sample my own sound-design and play elements back in new juxtapositions, holding sampler keys down to play loops at new pitches and varying density.
I felt especially good about this improvisation, and decided to name it Mycosphere because it reminded me of the slow inexorable growth of mycelia, the web-like carpet of fungus that pervades the forest floor, feeding the forest by breaking down dead organic material into simpler nutrients that plants can use. That fungal metaphor didn't specifically inspire this music; but rather, the music reminded me of those images while listening back later. The feedback loop is now complete.