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What The Ocean Is Like At Night

by Rob Byrd

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    Compact Disc in Jewel Case with art by Dust Pony Design

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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 8 Rob Byrd releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of What The Ocean Is Like At Night, Themes for Deliciously Decayed, Outerworld, Sacred To The Memory Of Mrs. Olive, Aurora Season, Soul Spaces, My Ghosts and Yours, and Bells of Tomorrow. , and , .

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Dahlia One 05:10
Southwind 05:22
Holgate View 05:36
Silver Crest 05:34
Collins Cove 05:35
Star Flyer 05:30
Eventide 05:53


“What The Ocean Is Like At Night” is the new album from guitarist Rob Byrd. The music expresses and reflects on a lifetime of living near the Atlantic Ocean, first in Southern New Jersey and currently in New England.

With these sounds, Byrd aims to convey the majesty and mystery of the nighttime sea. He has always been fascinated by how something so expansive and wild could also be so calming and reassuring; equally compelling to him is how the ocean seems to transform into something different as day shifts to night, as if replaced by something even more vast and unfathomable.

Byrd has always loved how the sea is depicted in 18th century Gothic Novels; during breaks in the recording of the album, he read the seven “Horrid Novels” referred to in Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey”. The depictions of the sea, and of natural phenomena in general, contained in them resonated sympathetically with his aesthetic vision for the album.

While his 7 previous albums have featured a range of compositional structures, this new music is his first release that is completely improvised, treating the recording of each song as a combination of meditation, recollection, and performance. The textures and atmospheres heard are produced in real-time by playing guitar through digital sound design environments created by Byrd; there are no overdubs, backing tracks, looping, or additional instrumentation used. A different effects environment was created for each song. The aim was to devise a holistic recording modality that would allow music and memories, sensations, and imagination to come to life organically. The recording of each song became a ritual resulting in a completed piece of music.

Summoning alluring musical environments with the guitar has always been important to him. This creative impulse came into focus through conversations with renowned light artist James Turrell at the University of Delaware, when Byrd was a student there and assisting Turrell with building his "Jida" installation. A chance meeting with guitar icon John Fahey was another transformative experience. Fahey, who happened to be shopping in the same record store as Byrd, bought an early demo copy of Byrd's first album as it played over the store’s sound system. The encouragement and insights Fahey offered during that encounter has had a lasting influence.

Byrd performs in a wide variety of venues, from clubs and cafes to galleries and libraries. Some of his past shows have taken place at the legendary CBGB, Burning Man (at which he first performed his live guitar score to the 1928 classic silent film "La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc"), the Queens Museum of Art, and the Southworth Planetarium. His music has been used as the soundtrack for several independent films, and has been included in a recent broadcast of NPR's nationally-syndicated program "Hearts of Space". The 2020 Amazon Prime Original film “Witch Hunters” features Byrd’s music as its score.

"Hazy and shimmering, the sound world of guitarist Rob Byrd is a mesmerising blend of ambience and texture on his latest release “”What The Ocean Is Like At Night” , the instrumental tunes created in real – time, no overdubs or loops are used, although there are plenty of effects in the “digital sound environments” created by Byrd. Using the sea at night as its inspiration, each of the 10 pieces follow a similar sound path creating a delightful journey that soothes and calms the mind. Within the album it is difficult to choose individual tracks, but “Drifting Below” and “Eventide” seemed to hit the spot for me, an album I will be returning to when in need of a meditational sound bath. "
-Terrascope UK


released September 28, 2022

Album art and design by Dusty Pony Design


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Rob Byrd

Rob Byrd’s guitar instrumentals meld sublimely beautiful songwriting with expansive sonic settings, evoking shadowy vistas and veiled memories. Constantly performing, his past show venues include Burning Man, the Queens Museum of Art, and the Southworth Planetarium.
His music has scored several series and films, including the Amazon Original "Witch Hunters"
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