Richard's studio. Photo: David Mattingly

Ten Thousand Shades of Blue

I first met Richard Lainhart during the 1970s, when electronic music was still a new medium and when everyone was thinking about what its potential was. In those days, we were all asking ourselves, what were the special musical things you could do with electronics? Richard's answer through the years has encompassed both sound and process.

Lainhart's idea has been and still is to make very special, unique sounds that derive in one way or another from the structures and textures of natural processes. He has invented a new kind of constructivism based on sounds that are only about themselves and their transformations. There are no meditative states in his thinking, nothing that relates to human states of being. In fact, although he thinks about natural models, the models don't generate his music – they simply illustrate what he has in mind.

"The sounds that I try to create in those pieces is a sound in which there is a great deal of detail but relatively little surface change. The analogy I think of is that these sounds are kinds of abstractions of natural processes like flowing water or wind in the trees which is ongoing but varies in the detail ... "

So to Lainhart, a sound is an entity with internal shadings and lighting, and our attention should focus on that entity and its nuance.

In short, Lainhart's methods of working are performance oriented and often improvisational, but it is the sound that is the real point of his music. As he said, "I'm not trying to imitate anything. My main concern in these pieces is to present sounds that have never been heard. I'm interested in making sounds that are intrinsically interesting. And beautiful on their own."
— Joel Chadabe, (1939-2021)
Composer, author, teacher, president of Electronic Music Foundation


Discography:  These Last DaysTen Thousand Shades of BlueI, Mute Hummings (compilation)White NightLuxLuminous AccidentsCranes Fly WestThe Wave Sounding Sea/The Course of the RiverPolychromatic IntegersAn Abandoned GardenNEW! – Modulisme Session 101

Recommended: Listen on headphones
or external speakers.

Ten Thousand Shades of Blue (2001)

Bronze Cloud Disk 32:45
Two Mirrors Face One Another 40:10
Cities of Light 36:18
Ten Thousand Shades of Blue 11:31
Staring at the Moon 08:33
Walking Slowly Backwards 06:46

Staring at the Moon
Performed and recorded by Richard Lainhart.
Recorded at SUNY Albany Electronic Music Studio and at O-Town Sound.

Album available from   XI Records (XI-115)

NOTE: There is another version of "Staring at the Moon" on Periphery label Polychromatic Integers and a revised 17-minute version of "Staring at the Moon" on the eponymous 2008 O-Town Music release.

"More than anything else, Richard Lainhart's sonic constructions inhabit a place where mystery and ambiguity resonate with untranslatable meaning through process and perception." — Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted Reviews, March 2002