Sleeping Dogs Lie 91: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

redorange_transparent_128Aural archaeologists Robert Rich and Steve Roach delve deep into the strata of the primordial mind in this acclaimed 1990 collaboration. They forge a symbiotic artistic alliance where their signature sonic motifs are generally abandoned for the sake of a collective sound. Implementing their combined arsenal of synths, samplers, flutes, drums, and steel guitar, the duo creates a variety of moods and atmospheres – serene ambiences (”The Grotto of Time Lost”), ritualistic, rhythmic invocations (”Fearless”), intense dark ambient spaces (”Magma”), and surreal, bubbling soundscapes (”Persistence of Memory [For Dali]“). As with their other works, the composers utilize a balanced blend of organic and electronic instrumentation in an exploration of the human psyche that is simultaneously primal and cerebral. This album was a critical and commercial success, remaining on the Billboard New Age charts for several months after its initial release. (Bryan Reesman)

Master synthesists Roach and Rich excavate evolutionary layers of sound from their machines on STRATA, their first collaboration. The musicians are kindred spirits in both substance and style, and their probing, questing sonic architecture seeks not only to unearth the tangible from the unknown, but also to alight the unknown with a spectral quality. Instead of seismometers and pickaxes, Roach and Rich use their battery of analog and digital synthesizers to seize the geologic moment, embedding it in the amber of the studio. Like the translucent layers of the mineral bearing its name, “Mica” reveals a quartz-like refraction of images and movements, constructed with Rich’s interlocking vibe grooves, percussive gemstones, and Roach’s dense synthesizer shadings. “The Grotto of Time Lost” pushes one back even further into the pre-dawn era. Roach and Rich’s electronics and sundry noisemakers peel back the undergrowth to reveal tectonic plates convulsing with the breath of newly hatched organisms and moist jungle growth. STRATA is undoubtedly one of the best stylistic collaborations of the ’90s.

01 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “The Grotto Of Time Lost [SDL edit]” ( 58:56)