Richard Lainhart, a minimalist composer focusing on
slowly-changing sounds, debuted with
The Sun-Dog Trail (1971).
His fat drones fell somewhere between the
futuristic soundscapes of Alvin Lucier
and the ambient transcendence of Harold Budd.
The double-disc anthology Ten Thousand Shades Of Blue (XI, 2001) collects works from 1975-1989.
The older pieces are colossal undertakings that focus on trancey drones in slow
The 32-minute Bronze Cloud Disk (1975) is a study of the
sustained, metallic overtones produced by a bowed tam-tam, a sort of extension
of the meditative aspect of the Indian ragas, a very physical and environmental
The 40-minute Two Mirrors Face Another (1976) uses bowed temple bells
to generate a different class of timbres, haunting alien resonances that
conjure images of psychiatric nightmares.
The 36-minute Cities Of Light (1980) uses the voice to create a
dark, dense, menacing, claustrophobic cloud of shapeless Gordon Mumma-esque drones.
Two pieces use the computer:
the 11-minute Ten Thousand Shades Of Blue (1985) is purely composed
at the computer, and, surprisingly, it is a more traditional effort in the
"ambient" style of gently soothing melodic drones.
while the 8-minute Staring at the Moon (1987) produces elongated percussive patterns by manipulating the sound of a bowed vibraphone.
Finally, the seven-minute Walking Slowly Backwards (1989) is scored
for solo vibes, one of his least electronic pieces, is a more delicate analysis of timbre and time.
Polychromatic Integers (2012) contains unreleased digital compositions from 1986-89 (notably the 17-minute Staring at the Moon).
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