Amoeba was one of the results of a multi-decade on-again, off-again collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Rick Davies and ambient composer Robert Rich. The two first met in 1979 after Davies returned from a stretch in England and Spain. Throughout the '80s they would collaborate on several bands, including Quote Unquote and Urdu. Davies brought a wealth of musical experience to the union: an ability to play instruments ranging from winds and guitars to synth and percussion, and an understanding of electronic music which had been deepened during his time editing Music Technology and Home & Studio Recording magazines.
Equally important were the contributions made by Robert Rich. In fact, though the two had collaborated previously to the making of the first Amoeba record, Rick Davies did not work on it. Instead, Rich brought in Andrew McGowan, Dave Hahn, and Matt Isaacson. The album did not receive strong reviews and was available only in limited quantiles. Rich was a highly experimental musician. He was one of the first people to work with micro-toned synthesizers, and had performed legendary "sleep concerts" where he played ambient, droning music from late evening until morning that was designed to be listened to by a sleeping audience. He also released several solo albums like Trances/Drones, which came out in 1983, and Rainforest, which was issued in 1989. He has worked with Steve Roach, David Tom, Lustmord, Lisa Moskow, Vidna Obmana, and Forrest Fang. Indeed, his musical aspirations reached all of the way back into childhood, when he was fascinated by the rhythms and textures of sounds in the world around him (croaking frogs, ventilator shafts, etc.) and built his first synthesizer from a kit at the age of 13.
The second album produced by Amoeba, Watchful, was a masterpiece of collective work by Davies and Rich. Featuring a combination of multi-layered ambient textures and pop instrumentation, the album resembled many works that also existed on the edge of pop, like those by Talk Talk and Dead Can Dance. Receiving many positive reviews, Watchful proved that the artistic marriage of Davies and Rich was fruitful, indeed. Pivot followed in late 2000. ~ Stacia Proefrock