Charles Richard

Charles Richard

Charles Richard

Sonic Earth

Glacial Movements

Once in a awhile you get an intriguing album, and just as you get into the groove, your computer insists on updating itself for 2 hours. That’s the story of my life. But I would like to draw your attention to this weird but enjoyable new age sounding “rock music” made from real rocks. Bear me out, this is a weird one. The label Sonic Earth relies on geophysical sound effects to make calming if unusual soundscapes. Musician Charles Richard went to the Natural History Museum in London, an institution with thousands of rock samples from around the world. Mr. Richard then drags a stylus across the surfaces of the stones, polished flat by geologists for scientific reasons. Each stone makes its own characteristic sound, and these are sampled and shifted down to a pleasant human bandwidth. Then he manipulates the audio to make this collection with titles like “Elbow Valley Finale” or “Jerusalem Marble” or my favorite “Collin Doratto” which sounds like something from a trendy Roman eatery. Science, sound and entertainment – What a combo!

As to the listening experience – well, it’s eclectic to say the least. You won’t hum any of these arias on the way home, but they grow on you as you delve deeper into what I consider to be “found audio.” It’s not “found audio” in the way a New York streetscape or a ship’s engines sound might be”found,” but an arbitrary process that could, in many cases, tell a scientist something useful about these rocks and their history. Thus, we have here authentic rock music, made from authentic rocks, and you certainly can NOT dance to it. But it will amuse, inspire and test your tolerance for new age, alternate technology and found audio. I cover a lot of atonal ambient music, but somehow this project really stands out, and takes you someplace new and unknown. Think of screeching your fingernails on a chalk board, and sampling it and adjusting it until you can relax to a new form of “Rock Music”.

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