About Rendezvous With Rama - by Rob Gould (2006)

a challenging listen, a departure from Robís previous works,
inventive, charming, haunting and I suppose at times slightly disturbing.
To try and listen to the album in small parts just doesnít do it justice,
it has to be appreciated as a complete work for the magic to really sink in!

Paul Baker - soundscapes - ARFM radio

track listing
a.Rama and Sita (1.45) b.Rendezvous (1.42) c.First EVA (2.18) d.Through the Hub (2.26)
e.Descent Into Darkness (2.20) f.The Stairway of the Gods (1.10) g.The Plain of Rama (3.16) h.A Warning From Mercury (2.16)
i.After the Storm (1.45) j.To sail the Cylindrical Sea (3.56) k.NY, Rama (2.26) l.The Voice of Rama (1.54) m.Dragonfly (4.07)
n.Maiden Flight (2.23) o.First Contact (4.10) p.The Flower (1.52) q.Terminal Velocity (1.09) r.The Wave (0.49)
s.Biot Watcher (1.11) t.Icarus (4.45) u.Missile (0.57) v.Hero (1.14) w.Temple of Glass (3.42)
x.Retreat (2.27) y.Space Drive (2.10) z.Phoenix (1.45) zz.Interlude (2.35)

On a recent trip to Brazil (06) I picked up a copy of the Peter Hammill and Roger Eno collaboration, The Appointed Hour, an experimental piece of music where the two parties in question set a specific date and time to record an hour long piece of music consecutively (The Appointed Hour!) in their own homes without either artist being aware of what the other was doing (just a rough outline that the piece should begin in the key D minor), and then meld the two 'works' together as 1 piece of music.

Myself and Luiz (Garcia) were moved by the audacity and genius of the idea / concept, so much that we talked about doing our own 'cross-Atlantic' version.

Sadly, a few days later, at the Circo Viador gig in Rio de Janeiro, I managed to completely destroy the Korg Triton keyboard with enough volts to light up a small Welsh town!

So the Rio based keyboard was going to be out of action, for a while at least.

After a few weeks back in England, the idea was still at the back of my mind, and it was decided to carry out the experiment on my own.

For the hour long piece, I'd devised a method of recording a keyboard per hand. In effect, recording 2 keyboards parts in the first take, a couple of minutes in length approximately, or whenever the music felt the need to change, then pausing the 16 track recorder and moving to the next 2 keyboards, recording a hand per keyboard, again for a minute or two, then back to the first 2 keyboards and so on. An hour later I had just over 30 minutes recorded as the first part of the hour long piece.

After a couple of days rest and relaxation, I resumed the task with the same writing process, I finished the job in around 45 minutes. (So, in effect, I'd constructed my appointed hour and three quarters)

Why Rendezvous With Rama? After 3 cds of literally, underground cave music, I hit on the idea of taking the live Rob Gould Band to the National Space Centre or Jodrell Bank Planetarium, as the incredible images of Gavin Newman could be used to accompany the live sounds to create a great audio visual presentation. However, I was concerned that the show would be of interest to a minority audience and (as I have always been a bit of a stargazer), I planned to compose music inspired by outer space rather than inner space.

It just so happened that for months I'd been thumbing through the Arthur C Clarke novel, Rendezvous With Rama. As well as it being a classic sci-fi story, the titles to the book seemed to fit the music like a glove, so I took inspiration from the novel as I wrote and recorded.

So, after a few listens through I found the only thing lacking were a few dynamics and possible additional atmospheres that I felt needed a contribution from other musicians. But the brief was pretty much the same. Vocalist Fiona ford and saxophonist Gerard McDonald were first to add their talents, with only a quick listen and all parts recorded, mostly, in one take, with a couple of hours they were done.

The next day Nigel Moss came to visit. Nigel, in under an hour, recorded some exquisite bass frequencies for RAMA. One of the more interesting recording sessions in recent times involved myself, Nigel, a clockwork chicken and a wobbly penguin (see picture)

And so to the guitar parts. This time a step further in the unusual method of writing an album, I asked both Phil Craigie, Rama artwork designer, and Eduardo Cappella to record their guitar parts without listening or hearing the music of Rama, just a brief as to the kind of style I required (mainly strange alien noises) and a key to play in.

The "Rendezvous with Rama" cd is currently unavailable

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