Process Of Being

Zero Ohms

Process Of Being


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About Process Of Being


1   The Present Perfect Tense of Being

2   The Approach of Nothingness

3   Glimpsing the Eternal

4   The Dream Dreaming You

5   The Process of Being There

6   Nameless

Following three masterful collaborations with Craig Padilla on the Lotuspike label, Zero Ohms (aka Richard Roberts) returns with PROCESS OF BEING, a new ambient solo work of floating, ethereal, luminous and expansive spacemusic. With his flutes and wind synthesizers in tandem, Zero Ohms brings forth billowing spaces that ascend and gently fall, effortlessly altering the listener’s sense of time and space.  This brilliantly subtle, beatless environment breathes with a sense of infinite presence, leaving both the past and the future elsewhere.

The album’s six tracks are well-developed, patient, deep and probing, seeping into, and shifting the frequencies of awareness. Through it all, the reigning atmosphere of peace and open space is evident everywhere, and the relaxing result serves as a soothing reminder of the joy of stillness and serenity, especially when painted from such an expansive sonic palette.

In speaking about this album, Richard shares “I have tried to establish a sense of infinity and freedom, and the sense of timelessness that seems to come with it.”  Even the track titles suggest an internal encounter with the infinite; from the koan-inspired “The Approach of Nothingness,” to the Lost Horizon literary reference of “Glimpsing the Eternal,” or “The Process of Being There,” a reference to Peter Sellers’ masterpiece Being There, a film about an existence which is only as long as the present moment.

The music on PROCESS OF BEING was created through a skillful blend of acoustic and electronic instruments and effects, but without the actual use of keyboards in any of the process. Synths were instead played via an electronic wind-controller, and of course the masterful flute textures that are the trademark of any Zero Ohms release are in full bloom throughout, lending an underlying rhythm of breath to the album and giving the electronics a very natural, organic feel.


A master of floating atmospherics, Zero Ohms is the alias of wind player and composer Richard Roberts. He has a long list of releases going back to the mid-90s, including several recent collaborations with Craig Padilla on the Lotuspike label, although this writer first became aware of him on his 2002Soundfall to the Infinite collaboration with Brannan Lane, at a time when we were covering all of Lane’s material in our pages. Here, with the six long cuts on Process of Being, he’s working completely solo, which means all sounds are produced on wind synthesizer, flute, bass flute and other indeterminate wind instruments, drenched in studio effects; it’s very melodic and colorful, but tending toward the dreamy and formless. There are no hand drums or percussion, no beats, no keyboards of any kind, and no vocals – just a heavenly ride through colorful space on a warm pillow of soft winds. One may experience a sense of freedom and timeless space as one track leads effortlessly into another, while the listener is guided down a gentle eternal path that imposes no restrictions. This is best as eyes-closed with headphones music, although its relaxing nature makes good accompaniment for just about any kind of endeavor one may encounter, short of operating heavy machinery. While most of this could certainly be considered floating ambient music, it’s brighter colors and lack of dark shadows and grisly textures also recalls many elements of impressionist 19th century classical music.

- Peter Thelen, Exposé

Veteran ambient composer Richard Roberts is Zero Ohms, and his catalog goes back nearly 20 years with a deep selection of work both solo and in collaboration. “Process Of Being” examines Roberts’ realization that “Being is not a static state, It is not ‘becoming’ anything. It is a process, through which we each exist”. That in mind, the album begins with the ultra-hushed drones of “The Present Perfect Tense Of Being” — 14 minutes of barely-perceptible drones that set up this contemplative and subtle release of gentle, receding ambient music.

“Glimpsing The Eternal” brings flutes and a semblance of structure to the proceedings, though it’s still a minimal and fragile exercise in restraint and elegance. “The Dream Dreaming You” is another flute-led piece of fragility, with a singular string drone floating just overhead.

On this album, Zero Ohms produce a very gradual and quiet set of evolving sound-sketches, echoing the ever-so-subtle motion in which we exist from moment-to-moment, second-to-second. As a concept, it’s fascinating, and as a recording, this is a fine work.

- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden

Beatless, infinite ambience.
Process of Being is a deep, drifting album of silk-shrouded expanses that explore the concept of freedom in eternity and infinity. Blending both acoustic and electronic sound sources Zero Ohms manipulates his synthesisers by means of an electronic wind-controller avoiding the rigidity of a traditional keyboard structure and allowing the resultant hazy textures to intersperse with the soft flutes that are a regular feature of his work. No edges, no percussion, no seams, nothing to disturb the sense of meandering serenity and boundless space. Tracks fade away and then arise once more from silence at the intersections, however, the music is so arranged as to flow continuously: the early synthetics that gather and disperse in intensity, shift in timbre and waft or mass in motion are thickened by the flute work on Glimpsing the Eternal whereas The Dream Dreaming You diffuses frequently into near silence.


Packaging for Process of Being is simple, yet appealing - a two panel card wallet steeped in indigo blues. The front cover looks skyward above a filigree of fine twigs toward a night sky wherein the stars rotate about a yellow moon. The reverse is darker - track titles in white with times alongside (label web details below). Inside is a panoramic vista of a soft-focus horizon blurring into another star swirl. Brief credits hang on the left panel whilst the right holds the words: "Being is not a static state. It is not 'becoming' anything. It is a process. Through which we each exist. - Zero Ohms.


Zero Ohms presents Process of Being as his latest solo album following a series of collaborative releases with Craig Padilla. This smooth, lustrous, floatational immersion is aptly delivered via the Spotted Peccary label and contains six recordings that range in length from the fourteen minute twenty four second opener The Present Perfect Tense of Being through to the eight minute forty eight second conclusion Nameless. You can discover more about this release and listen to sample via the Spotted Peccary website or you can visit the Zero Ohms Facebook page for up-to-the-minute information and news.

- Paul Jury, Morpheus Music Reviews

Compact air masses float and draw the banks of a sonic river which floats with the repercussions of its imperfections. Ambient and floating, the music of "The Present Perfect Tense of Being" gets outline in our ears with a superb contrast between the black and the white, between the shade and the light. The tones are divided between lines of WindSynth and their black tints which float as threatening clouds, forming an imaginary rampart and digging the furrows of an astral river of which the soft singings are threatened by more thundering waves, and some more ethereal breaths of which the caresses draw clear waters speckled of dark mirrors. And "The Present Perfect Tense of Being" to flow in the firmament of serenity with its fluty airs which kiss the more disturbing shadows which come from the deeper gorges of Richard J. Robert s WindSynth. We know more the music of Zero Ohms due to his 3 collaborations with Craig Padilla, among which the charming Path of Least Resistance, than his works in solo which are total mosaic of ambient and Zen EM. Architect of winds and of their soft abstract harmonies through 10 albums of a peace of mind to make sleep clouds, Zero Ohms offers a very first album solo on the American label Spotted Peccary, the same one that produced the fruit of his collaborations with Craig Padilla. “Process of Being” is a deep ambiospherical ode, a very meditative fresco, where everything rests on the quietude of the slow movements morphic of the winds and their allies with fluty fragrances. No rhythms, not even the shade of a pulse. Nevertheless the music is confidentially inviting and enveloping with long moments of ambiances where the serenity becomes the new companion of our awaken dreams for the next 70 minutes. And I must add that we even sleep there and this in spite of the strong turbulences of the winds.

"The Approach of Nothingness" follows the morphic vapors of the opening track but with a clearly less sibylline approach, although that some reverberating waves are pushing the track towards summits of anxiety at the end of its road. It's a track which is closer of celestial bodies than "Glimpsing the Eternal" which is very poetic, even musical or dreamer, with its discreet fluty chants of which we perceive the light rustles of the undecided lips. Besides these frictions of lips on the beaks of flutes add a delicious intimate dimension as much as the fusion of flutes and WindSynth is bewitching with duets of which the lines espouse the same curves with different tints. It's quiet, very quiet, and doubtless the most poetic music piece on “Process of Being”. What seduces the most in this ZeroOhms' last album is this very subtle duel which turns around the various flutes and those breezes from the WindSynth. If one, the WindSynth, decorates “Process of Being” of a dark and sometimes sinister ambiospherical sound pattern, the flutes add tints of pastel and joy of life in this timeless labyrinth of which croissants often kiss the limits of cosmos, as in the very restful "The Dream Dreaming You" where our ears have the impression to hear the last groans and the last ones thought of a fallen sovereign. Darker winds push scarlet breezes in the vast Aeolian Nile that is the title-track. Between "The Present Perfect Tense of Being" and "The Approach of Nothingness", "The Process of Being There" spreads its pads of dark flutes in the greatness of the calm winds of which the translucent blows and the sneaky reverberations espouse delicately the crevices of its lunar banks. A little more and we touch the winds. "Nameless" ends this ode to passivity from Zero Ohms with a clearly more black approach, amplifying this duality between the dark and resounding winds and the soft fluty chants which get lost in it and which make of “Process of Being” an album where the absence of rhythms does not mean being inevitably deprived of interest. For music lovers of ambient, Zen and very meditative EM!

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth & Sequences

The primary instrument for Richard Roberts is the flute. Yet while recording under the name Zero Ohms, as clouds of sounds drift, ebb and flow across minimal mindscapes, his music sounds quite synthetic. On his CD Process of Being (66'30"), when the true tone of one of Roberts' many classes of flute does emerge, the listener will feel the primeval draw of this ancient instrument. These passages are informed by a spacey musical lineage back to Paul Horn and his Inside (1968) album as well as Music for Zen Meditation (1964) by Tony Scott. These realizations seem to conjure huge forces while constantly tuning our minds. In a field full of virtual instruments and studio samples Roberts' weaving of actual flute playing into the fabric of Process of Being provides his work with some sonic distinction. Using flutes also naturally paces the compositions. Due to its melodic lines relying on the length of the players' breath, this work, no matter how ethereal, exists on a human level. The first two tracks on Process of Being seem quite abstract, but not atonal. Each movement of tone and motion of timbre, possibly pushed by deep ethereal breaths, expand, curve and hang within the listener. The result is dramatic in an ambient way. These pieces are effected profoundly by the subtlest of gesture and communicate in a unique harmonic language. The remaining pieces seem more in focus, as the conventional sound of Roberts' flute becomes a greater presence. We may feel our brain and body slow, restless thoughts fade - providing an opportunity for purposeful pondering of one idea at a time, or mere reveling in strange emptiness. Whether originating from flutes, their signal processing or electronic instruments, the shadowy work of Zero Ohms holds many mysteries, but it still has the ability to enlighten.

- Chuck van Zyl, Star's End

Richard Roberts follows what he calls "Tao of Zero Ohms" (way of no resistance). He aims musically to engender a state of "letting go" while awakening listeners to deeper parts of the inner self.

Certainly, everyone's inner self is different. Which necessitates a universally explicable means of accessing (in this case musically) what we often ignore or suppress subconsciously. For that purpose, Roberts has crafted – through his many flutes, bass flutes and wind–controlled synthesizers – six long and highly structured aural pathways to self-knowing. (Or, at the very least, a solid hour-plus of deep relaxation.)

With titles such as "The Approach of Nothingness," "The Dream Dreaming You" and "Nameless," you get the drift that opening oneself to drifting peacefully along Roberts' ethereally wafting spacescapes is all that's required. Anything beyond that depends on the inner you.

Provoking sensations of infinite timelessness and cosmic wonder, Process of Being also can feel coldly austere in its dearth of conventional melody and harmony. But when Roberts favors flute over incorporeal synth atmospheres, as on "Glimpsing the Eternal," there is comfort in being intuitively reassured of his (and our) earthly presence.

- John Collinge, Progression Magazine, Issue 67

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