© 2017 Robert Poss

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 WireSteve 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.

 

Poss resides in New York City and continues to perform his guitar and electronics pieces in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

About Robert