ROBERT POSS fell in love with electric guitars and basses in 1964 at an age when he still believed one plugged them directly into a wall socket. He memorized the Fender Guitars Catalog and passed through a succession of rock and blues bands before discovering punk in the late ‘70s. At that point he started to write, record and release his own material. He joined Rhys Chatham's ensemble in the early ‘80s and remained a core member for several years. He also began performing and recording the music of eclectic electronicist Nicolas Collins, whom he had known since the mid-1970s. Around 1980, he co-formed the independent recording label Trace Elements Records with Ron Spitzer and Andrew Halbreich.
Eventually Poss realized that the sound of feedback, distortion and ringing overtones was "the cake, not the frosting" and began trying new ways of writing songs by layering simple chord patterns over drones and looped riffs. It was his initiative that gave rise to his next project. In 1986, he formed the wall-of-guitars group Band Of Susans, and his early experiments became the foundation of their sound. Rolling Stone Magazine described them as "adamantly arty, brainy, visceral and bracing." Band Of Susans went on to release two EPs and five LPs (all produced by Poss) before disbanding in 1995. Interviewed in The Wire, Steve Albini stated that “[Robert Poss] is an enormously underrated guitar theorist. A lot of his approaches to the density of guitar are completely overlooked in any discussion about guitar.….The way he structures the song around the drone instead of finding a drone to fit into the song I think is wholly unique."
In 2002 Poss, released two companion solo CDs, Distortion Is Truth and Crossing Casco Bay, on Trace Elements Records. At the time, Tape Op Magazine described him as a “guitar genius, drone meister …the master of treated and manipulated guitars.” Since his 2002 releases, Poss has composed and performed music with several choreographers, musicians and fellow artists including Sally Gross, Alexandra Beller, Gerald Casel, Susan Stenger, Phill Niblock, Margret Wibmer, Ben Neill, Nicolas Collins, Kato Hideki (Death Ambient) and F.M. Einheit (Einstürzende Neubauten), amongst others. He has also written guitar-centric articles for The Leonardo Music Journal and The Tone Quest Report and in 2010 released a third solo CD, Settings: Music For Dance, Film, Fashion and Industry.
Frozen Flowers Curse The Day is the latest release from pioneering avant-guitarist Robert Poss, a founding member of legendary wall-of- guitars group Band Of Susans. The album was performed, recorded and mixed by Poss at Trace Elements Records in New York City with guest drummers including Dahm Majuri Cipolla (Torres, Lydia Lunch, Japan’s Mono) helping out on two tracks. Frozen Flowers Curse The Day was released by Trace Elements on August 3, 2018
This eclectic collection of recent work continues Robert’s obsession with the electric guitar, drones, textures and sonic architecture. Like his previous solo release, Settings – Music For Dance, Film, Fashion and Industry, some of the material was created for the modern dance companies with which Poss has worked for nearly a decade. The album ranges from ambient and experimental instrumental works to Band Of Susans-esque rockers with vocals.
Robert Poss plays guitar on one track of the critically acclaimed 2017 CD Something Like Night by art rockers Heroes of Toolik, and has been performing with the band, which features Arad Evans (Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca) Billy Ficca (Television) and Ernie Brooks (The Modern Lovers). Robert Poss has contributed a track, “Partial Clearing, Sally” to Elliott Sharp’s latest guitar compilation, I Never Metaguitar Four, released in late 2017 on Clean Feed records.
The catalog for frac île-de-france’s 2014 installation, Sound Anthology of Susan Stenger - A Score for le plateau Paris, curated by Philippe Decrauzat in collaboration with Mathieu Copeland, with performances by Susan Stenger, Robert Poss, FM Einheit and Olwen Fouéré was published in 2018
In December of 2014 Robert Poss performed in Paris with Susan Stenger, Einstürzende Neubauten‘s FM Einheit and renowned actress, writer and theatre artist Olwen Fouéré as part of a two-day music and sound installation. In June of 2015, Poss did a series of eight performances with Kato Hideki of his original music, accompanying the Alexandra Beller/Dances company at La Mama for the piece “milkdreams.” In February of 2017, he participated in the recording in Lisbon, Portugal of F.M. Einheit’s L'exposition d'un rêve (The Exhibition of a Dream), which had its premier at the Gubenkian Foundation in Paris in October of that year. Reviewing his 2010 solo release Settings: Music For Dance, Film, Fashion and Industry, The Wire wrote that Poss' "abiding love for electric guitar is no casual dalliance or detached Platonic infatuation; it's an erotic commitment, an obsessive plunge into the instrument's metallic churn and enveloping drone."
Poss resides in New York City and continues to perform his guitar and electronics pieces in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.