This 74 minute live recording documents an entirely improvised concert in Denver CO, on Saturday July 26, 2003, with an intimate audience who came prepared for anything. With a thunderstorm forming outside, breaking to a peak mid-concert, this improvisation refered directly to the recent weather I had experienced on tour that summer.
From the Liner Notes:
Heavy weather tailed me during Summer 2003, as I circled the country giving concerts. From wind storms in the desert to tornadoes in the Midwest, flooding in the East and lightning on the high plains, the sky exerted its influence.
All came into focus during this improvised house concert in Denver, a journey joined by a circle of 26 friends. A dialog between music and the
elements took form like a shamanic exchange, an act of supplication in respect to stronger forces, calling down the sky to return a gift from the clouds.
A review of "Calling Down the Sky" published in Deep Listenings Magazine, Italy (www.deeplistenings.it):
This is a live album documenting the concert activity in 2003, born amongst atmospheric storms, tornadoes and heavy rains. Records by Robert Rich are few and precious, to be jealously kept, and quite often revealing an unexplored, hidden, horrible beauty. Rich's music is good for thinking and daydreaming, it unhinges the gates of the unknown, and brings the God's angels' voices back to Earth. Like a rare and precious distilling kept aside for selected people only, it intoxicates and stuns, it takes your hand, and makes you insane. You get addicted to it. 'Erasing Traces' is as graceful as a butterfly in flight, but it also is as strong as a hurricane; the guitar sounds stabbing and ethereal at one time, and it shouts its loneliness towards the sky. This is my favourite side to Rich, obscure and desperate, a poet who observes Nature and gets vital lymph out of it. This is a track to remember, like the opening of extraordinary Due Acque concert, just a guitar and an electronic carpet. The slow sound dissolution - which means a basic process to life itself - takes to 'Overload' stasis, which resumes 20 years of ambient music; a discreet flowing, slow moving waves, dim lights to illuminate the horizon but, more precisely, a twilight in which the mind-eyes conceive mysterious elements. Indeed an overwhelming route. 'Vertigo', the longest track (21 minutes), comes to claim its due space, and everything get wrapped into oriental-like fumes; a so sweet, reverberated, slightly dissonant bamboo flute plunged into its own evolutions, like a puff of innocent wind amongst so much violence, to symbolize human fragility when dealing with the power of Nature. Take a look at the cover, which appears full of darkness and bleak clouds, full of troubled water that shake the Earth; the threatening, ruthless spiral of a tornado... the music reflects a state of distress, submission, and resignation, just like the prayer of a man ruled by superior forces - a man begging for mercy. Little acoustic malformations add to electronic lines or the flute, distant beats place themselves above like ghosts; the lull seems to have cleared off, only its distant growl remains, and its thunder. A lyric, gloomy, raising song relies upon the wind in a mysterious, frightening way, and then the light returns, being announced by flowing, struggling notes which spread across an immense sweetness, while the re-start of the leading theme seals up a new innermost harmony, like a landfall at a safe harbour. This is one of the most brilliant works of this so rich season. (Gianluigi Gasparetti)