||This article possibly contains original research. (June 2008)|
|Birth name||Robert Haigh|
|Also known as||Omni Trio, Sema, London Steppers, Silent Storm|
|Origin||Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire|
|Genres||Electronic, experimental, ambient, drum and bass|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, musician, producer, remixer|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboards, synthesiser, guitar, bass|
|Labels||Moving Shadow, Siren, Le Rey Records, United Dairies, Vinyl On Demand, Primary Numbers, Crouton, Seal Pool, Good Looking Records,|
|Associated acts||Nurse With Wound, Deep Blue, Truth Club, Fote|
Rob Haigh or Robert Haigh also known as Omni Trio, is a British electronic, ambient and experimental musician.
At school, Haigh was in a band called Labyrinth playing original material that was influenced by David Bowie and Roxy Music. In the early 1980s Haigh released a series of experimental ambient albums under the names Robert Haigh and Sema - the most notable being ‘Three Seasons Only’ and ‘Notes From Underground’. He also contributed to several Nurse With Wound projects and formed an industrial avant-funk band called The Truth Club together with Trefor Goronwy, who would go on to join This Heat. In a 1994 article in The Wire, his influences were listed as Pere Ubu, The Pop Group, Can, Faust and Neu! as well as Miles Davis and King Tubby.
In the 1990s, Haigh developed a unique style of what has become known as ‘ambient drum 'n' bass’ and released six acclaimed albums under the name Omni Trio. The Omni Trio sound is notable for its intricate orchestrated production and atmospheric sound palette. Omni Trio was one of the original drum 'n' bass producers, who first released for Moving Shadow as early as 1993. He produced several anthems in the period now known as "old skool", including the piano-led "Renegade Snares", "Thru the Vibe", "Mystic Stepper" and "Living for the Future". All of these featured on his acclaimed first LP, The Deepest Cut (1995).
He followed this up with Haunted Science in 1996, which included the singles "Trippin' on Broken Beats" and "Nu Birth of Cool". Mainstream trends in dancefloor-oriented drum 'n' bass rapidly diverged from his musical style, and subsequent albums Skeleton Keys (1997), the Detroit techno-influenced Byte Size Life (1999), and Even Angels Cast Shadows (2001) produced no big club hits on the scale of his early singles, but they further cemented his reputation as one of the finest album-oriented musicians in the genre. Indeed, he was the first drum'n'bass artist to produce six full-length artist albums.
Many Omni Trio tracks feature on popular video games: "Renegade Snares" appears in the game Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, "First Contact" (from Even Angels Cast Shadows) is featured in Grand Theft Auto 3 and "Secret Life" is featured in the futuristic racing video game Rollcage Stage II.
Following the release of the sixth and final Omni Trio album Rogue Satellite in 2004, Haigh decided to cease recording as Omni Trio.
Since Omni Trio, Haigh has released a series of modern classical and minimalist albums under his own name: the post Minimalist From the Air (2006) and Written on Water (2008), and the piano works: Notes and Crossings (2009), Anonymous Lights (2010), Strange and Secret Things (2011), and Darkling Streams (2013). On his decision to cease recording as Omni Trio he has said: "After Even Angels Cast Shadows and especially the minimal structures of Rogue Satellite, I felt that perhaps my work was done in this particular area. All along the intention was to do the Omni Trio stuff alongside producing and releasing piano based material under my own name. Then the Omni thing blew up much bigger than I had anticipated. But throughout the '90s I also kept writing piano and minimal themes. By the early 2000s the time seemed right to put the emphasis on developing this material."
In 2014 German label VOD released the compilation album Cold Pieces. This is a companion collection to 2012's Time Will Say Nothing box set. These two compilations represent Haigh's earliest solo output - covering most of the eighties (1982 to 1989.) Where Time Will Say Nothing focused on Haigh's darker and more industrial period, Cold Pieces represents the evolution into more piano based experimentation.
In January 2015, Haigh released an 18 track collection of piano compositions called The Silence Of Ghosts. Much of the material on The Silence Of Ghosts is developed from piano improvisation. In a recent interview he states: "Most of my compositions start from freeform improvisation at the piano. Later I revisit the more compelling themes and from there, structures start to emerge. I never use formal notation just the odd rough diagrams and written reminders."
- (Selected; a full discography can be obtained from links below)
- “To the Nile Sisters” (as Truth Club), United Dairies, 1980
- “Notes from Underground” and “Theme from Hunger” (as Sema), Le Rey Records, 1982
- “Extract from Rosa Silber” (as Sema), Le Rey Records, 1983
- “Three Seasons Only” Le Rey Records, 1984
- “The Sylvie and Babs H-Fi Companion” (with Nurse with Wound), United Dairies, 1985
- “Juliet of the Spirits” LAYLAH Anti-Records, 1985
- “Spiral Insana” (with Nurse with Wound), United Dairies, 1986
- “Music from the Anti-Chamber” LAYLAH Anti-Records, 1986
- “Valentine Out Of Season” and “The Best Of Robert Haigh,” United Dairies, 1987
- “A Waltz In Plain C” Le Rey Records, 1989
- “A Sucked Orange” (with Nurse with Wound), United Dairies, 1990
- “Music for the Next Millennium”/"The Deepest Cut" (as Omni Trio), Sm:)e Communications, 1995
- “Haunted Science” (as Omni Trio), Moving Shadow, 1996
- “Skeleton Keys” (as Omni Trio), Moving Shadow, 1997
- "Byte Size Life" (as Omni Trio), Moving Shadow, 1999
- “Even Angels Cast Shadows” (as Omni Trio), Moving Shadow, 2001
- “From the Air” (with Silent Storm), Seal Pool, 2006
- “Written On Water” Crouton, 2008
- “Notes And Crossings” Siren, 2009
- “Anonymous Lights” Siren, 2010
- “Strange and Secret Things” Siren, 2011
- “Cut Out Shapes (Rare And Unreleased)” Moving Shadow, 2012
- “Time Will Say Nothing 1982-1984” (as Sema), VOD Records, 2012
- “Darkling Streams” Primary Numbers, 2013
- “Cold Pieces 1985-1989” VOD Records, 2014
- “The Silence Of Ghosts” Siren, 2015
- Stodell, Hannah. "Interview With Robert Haigh" Headphone Commute. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- Above The Treeline - The Wire #127 September, 1994
- Sean Cooper. "Omni Trio - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic.
- Staff. "Brainwashed - Robert Haigh, "Darkling Streams"". brainwashed.com.
- Lucas Schleicher (19 December 2010). "Robert Haigh: Discipline and Space: interview". Brainwashed. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Rob Haigh: Vinyl on Demand website
- David Keenan. "Interview: Omni Trio’s Robert Haigh". redbullmusicacademy.com.
- Robert Haigh discography at Discogs
- Omni Trio discography at Discogs
- Omni Trio at Rolldabeats
- Omni Trio at allmusic.com
- Robert Haigh: Discipline and Space