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Sleeping Dogs Lie 04jun10: Steve Roach, Loren Nerell

Steve Roach & Loren Nerell
“Terraform”
(2006)

1. Texture Wall 28:03

“Terraform” is the first full collaborative album for longtime friends Steve Roach and Loren Nerell. The two composers met in LA in 1981, back in the early days of the electronic music scene. It was a time when like-minded musicians who understood the importance of emerging technology were coming together in local clubs and performance venues to share what they knew and learn from one another. After years of friendship and occasional musical collaboration the two decided to convene in a relaxed setting to see what they could distill from a blending of their collective talents and individual styles to accomplish common aims.

“Terraform” emerged from their mutual desire to create an organic, surreal and deeply ambient environment of langorous humid soundscape enviroments. Through a labyrinth of studio techniques, a kind of audio Terraforming was developed. Heavily textured and mood altering, the long uninterrupted flow seemingly slows time down by way of the surreal dark ambient soundforms found in much of Roach’s work. Nerell brings the steamy, evanescent blend of his mutated Indonesian sources, a signature sound that defines his previous releases for Amplexus, Side Effects and Soleilmoon.

Loren Nerell has studied gamelan music for the last 25 years, expanding and fine-tuning his mastery of Indonesia’s unique indigenous musical traditions through performances and field work. During this time he has accumulated a large number of field recordings, many of which he uses in his compositions. This has evolved from simply using the material as-is, to an elaborate processing technique in which the material is taken to a point so far from its original source as to be unrecognizable.

Along with their collaborative efforts Steve produced, mixed and provided art direction on this special release. “Terraform” is presented in a tall (DVD-style) Digipak, with three postcards and cover photographs by Brian Parnham. Initial impressions from several listeners have referenced Brian Eno’s seminal “On Land” recording.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 28may10: Steve Roach, Loren Nerell

Steve Roach & Loren Nerell
“Terraform”
(2006)

1. Cavity Of Liquids 18:32
2. Texture Wall 28:03
3. Paraterra 12:47

“Terraform” is the first full collaborative album for longtime friends Steve Roach and Loren Nerell. The two composers met in LA in 1981, back in the early days of the electronic music scene. It was a time when like-minded musicians who understood the importance of emerging technology were coming together in local clubs and performance venues to share what they knew and learn from one another. After years of friendship and occasional musical collaboration the two decided to convene in a relaxed setting to see what they could distill from a blending of their collective talents and individual styles to accomplish common aims.

“Terraform” emerged from their mutual desire to create an organic, surreal and deeply ambient environment of langorous humid soundscape enviroments. Through a labyrinth of studio techniques, a kind of audio Terraforming was developed. Heavily textured and mood altering, the long uninterrupted flow seemingly slows time down by way of the surreal dark ambient soundforms found in much of Roach’s work. Nerell brings the steamy, evanescent blend of his mutated Indonesian sources, a signature sound that defines his previous releases for Amplexus, Side Effects and Soleilmoon.

Loren Nerell has studied gamelan music for the last 25 years, expanding and fine-tuning his mastery of Indonesia’s unique indigenous musical traditions through performances and field work. During this time he has accumulated a large number of field recordings, many of which he uses in his compositions. This has evolved from simply using the material as-is, to an elaborate processing technique in which the material is taken to a point so far from its original source as to be unrecognizable.

Along with their collaborative efforts Steve produced, mixed and provided art direction on this special release. “Terraform” is presented in a tall (DVD-style) Digipak, with three postcards and cover photographs by Brian Parnham. Initial impressions from several listeners have referenced Brian Eno’s seminal “On Land” recording.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 21may10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“Proof Positive”
(2006)

1. Westwind 21:46
2. Adreno Stream 11:25
3. Proof Positive 32:56

‘Shimmering’, ‘life-affirming’ and ‘moving only forward’ best describes this release drawn from the pulsing side of the lifeblood found in Steve’s work. “Proof Positive” was created from 2005 to 2006. These all-new pieces, sequential with textural undercurrents, have a kind floating sensation; the sum total is purely hypnotic with a contained and sustained energy that is consistent through the entire CD. This one lights up the brain and excites the ears in a way that only a hands-on spontaneous approach to carving pure analog sound can offer. A touchstone release for Steve, this is a perfect set for long drives on the open road or for traveling the inner landscapes while cruising in your favorite listening chair. Proof Positive indeed!

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 14may10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“Kairos: The Meeting Of Time And Destiny”
(2006)

1. Soul’s Time 8:04
2. Core Regeneration 8:18
3. Resonation Portal 4:59
4. Etheric Planet 10:39
5. Lifeforming 12:31
6. Biogenesis 10:15
7. Womb Of Light 5:04

The “Kairos” DVD is a dynamic flow of visual wonder worlds created by five master light, film, and digital artists in collaboration with Steve. Drawing from a spectrum of visual techniques — luminous organic analog light forms, dramatic Earth cinematography, cell-like computer animation — micro and macro worlds join in a mind-expanding symbiotic flow between sound and visuals. Creation of the visuals evolved alongside the music over several years.

The music, shaped to the images, was created in the studio with the dynamic understanding that comes from taking it “out there” on the edge in the live setting. Much of the soundtrack was created directly for “Kairos”, along with a merging of elements drawn from Steve’s recent and future releases.

The culmination is an essential representation of the mythic import found in Steve’s music and the visual core it stimulates. It is, both musically and visually, a pinnacle moment of shapeshifting sound and visionary-inducing works. Anyone who witnessed Steve’s concerts this millenium will know what’s in store. Featuring visuals from Lynn Augstein, Steve Lazur, Steven Rooke, John Vega, and John Wadsworth, with hybrid visual creation and final editing by Roger King.

Bonus feature: the DVD includes a montage of footage from two 2005 concerts. Includes complete soundtrack on audio CD.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 30apr10: Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana

Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana
“Somewhere Else”
(2005)

1. Somewhere Else 73:55

First released as a limited edition of 2000 in 1998, the 3-CD box set “Ascension of Shadows” quickly sold out, and has remained a highly-desired prize for Roach and Obmana fans. In response to consistent requests, Projekt has initiated a reissue series which will present each disc as its own release, using John Cagian principles: the release dates are hinged upon when PRO177, PRO188 and PRO199 arrive on Projekt’s release schedule.

The first release in the series is the long-form piece “Somewhere Else”. This track is without doubt among the most serene, purely atmospheric and non-threatening of Roach and Obmana’s recorded work together, and was originally presented in the “Ascension of Shadows” 3-CD box set, which was subtitled “Meditations For the Millennium”. The intentions for creating a place of solace for what the artists were sensing, with the approaching anticipation of the year 2000 and beyond, feels especially potent and nourishing when heard now.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 23apr10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“Texture Maps: The Lost Pieces Vol. 3”
(2003)

1. Gray and Purple 21:14
2. Artifact Ghost (edit) 8:46
3. Spiral Triptych 15:24
6. Bottomless 2 7:03
7. Quiet Sun 5:29
8. Soul Light 15:09

“Texture Maps” gathers tracks from 1987 to 2003 through different stages of this artist’s life. It feels the echoes of distant times typical of “Dreamtime Return” or “Quiet Music”, where Roach explored wide, tuneful spaces in absolute lack of gravity, and the real sonorities chosen for the monumental “Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces”. Those two worlds are not independent; far from it they interpenetrate and enhance the link between the old and the new, and also testify the integrity of either the man or the artist along with his constant development, as well as his never-ending creativity.

Often used as the linking material during concerts (“Artifact Ghost”, for instance, was chosen as the opening for the Due Acque concert), or as a deep atmosphere to put in “Timeroom” loop in order to shape the nights in the desert, these deeply static tracks come as fragments of a huge mosaic, the boundaries of which are no longer visible.

Roach is way beyond our range of vision. He is the most advanced musician of the Ambient movement. If this is his “scrap” work, then it comes easy to get the reason for that. The long, epic genesis of “Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces” had Roach keeping himself in the Timeroom for months, as he got stricken by a rare, creative fever; it was his own inner flame that burnt away, and the consequent soundworlds pushed him to pursue the searching, to end up completely worn out by the rash of creativity, and to open new gaps.

Superb sounds and atmosphere convoy into what can be looked at as the spiritual will of an artist who has always tried to share with us his own visions or the projects in his mind, and who has eventually overcome his own skills by wide-opening his heart in a most extreme way, in a final sacrifice, in a perfect act which has disclosed his unconscious engine-room door — the image of collective unconscious. Travelling through times and places belonging to the myth, Roach reached the depth of his own soul as well as ours. He saw things that only music can describe, and he brought those things back to us. It’s been quite a while since I last shuddered, since I was surprised by every single change of atmosphere, or since I shivered along with the air. These four records represent a sort of experience that transcends mere listening; they are sacred sculptures, or spaces of a new cathedral sound, or the keys to revealed truth. After such a work, Deep Music is bound to change. The king is dreaming. Let’s listen to him in religious silence. (Gianluigi Gasparetti, Deep Listenings)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 16apr10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“Light Fantastic”
(1999)

1. Trip the Light 8:34
2. Breathing the Pulse 5:25
3. The Reflecting Chamber 7:05
4. Touch the Pearl 9:24
5. Realm of Refraction 11:20
6. The Luminous Return 16:48

Steve Roach dances the light fantastic on his new album, but his rhythms won’t have Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing heavenly dips and twirls. Instead, the veteran techno-tribal synthesist generates a zombie-like dance of head-twisting grooves that owe more to trance than dance. Phantom hand drummers whip rapid brush strokes on virtual drums, while chordal clouds descend like the mother ship out of the sky. Like most of Roach’s recent work, “Light Fantastic” is music of immersion. Melodies, such as they are, evolve out of his densely layered sound designs, which hover above the landscape, plunging and swirling with predatory yet beautiful stealth. With “Light Fantastic”, Roach has created his own sound world from the ground up, full of original colors sifted through stroboscopic beams and refracting prisms. (Billboard)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 09apr10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“The Magnificent Void”
(1996)

1. Between the Gray and the Purple 7:42
2. Void Memory One 2:53
3. Infinite Shore 7:47
4. Cloud of Unknowing 10:38
5. Void Memory Two 3:40
6. Void Memory Three 3:41
7. The Magnificent Void 13:13
8. Altus 20:01

A Magnum Opus of pure oceanic sound and Roach’s most sophisticated atmospheric work to date. The final track “Altus”, Latin for both “high” and “deep”, says much about this work. The most demanding and textural of Roach’s work, it has more in common with 20th century avant-garde than other genres. A chilling and beautiful continuous flow of harmonic sound-worlds. Melody and harmony are present throughout in a surreal play of light and dark colors.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 02apr10: Steve Roach

Steve Roach
“Artifacts”
(1994)

1. Groundswell 8:15
2. The Origin of Artifacts 25:46
3. Your Own Eyes 8:02
4. Ancestral Horizon 7:49
5. Temple of the Frog 8:55
6. Begin Where I End 8:01

On his 1993 recording, “Origins”, Steve Roach explored the cracks between conscious and unconscious awareness, weaving a tale of primal mystery and musical sorcery through a compelling synthesis of ancient and modern aesthetics. As Darren Bergstein of i/e magazine observed, “Never before has Roach’s electronic surface felt so earthen and weathered; all of the assertive ambience and environmental dissonance he’s pressured up to now has reached its critical mass in “Origins” molten core.”

With “Artifacts”, Roach delves deeper into his own sonic mythology expanding his skills on acoustic instruments and realizing a profound level of artistry on electronics. Roach’s obsession with the shifting of time finds form in his gift for creating trance-inducing rhythms that sound both primordial and futuristic.

His rich, eternally swirling textures, seem to rise up from the darkness of the unconscious, bringing shards of long forgotten musical impulses to light once more. It’s as if he’s sifting through the soil of an ancient site, gathering fragments and piecing them together to reveal a new story that casts its shadow far beyond the present. Through it all, Roach reminds us that one day we, too, will be the artifacts in the minds of some future civilization.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 26mar10: Steve Roach

The second in an ongoing series of atmospheric zones by master sound painter Steve Roach, IMMERSION: TWO presents a subtle shift from the luminous steady state harmonic current of IMMERSION: ONE. On this 73 minute, long-form soundscape, a sinuous weblike mist seems to emanate from the speakers. Mysterious yet calm and introspective, this is the perfect sound environment for the deeper hours after midnight, or anytime a quiet, engulfing audio landscape is desired. If Nag Champa or Sandalwood incense had a sound, this might be it.

Steve writes…

“This continuous zone, titled ‘Artifact Ghost’, has to be one of my favorites for late-night activity and sleeping. For years I kept coming back to it, as it always feels alive and never-ending, never beginning. This piece was a big part of the inspiration to start the Immersion series. An 8-minute excerpt from the 90-minute original was heard on TEXTURE MAPS, and after this glimpse of the ghost I was struck by how many requests there were for a long-form version.

“Perceptive ears will hear shades of this ephemeral zone as far back as ARTIFACTS, where I wove it into the fabric under the tribal-based grooves. Its smoky presence paid a visit on CAVERN OF SIRENS as well. If you were at any of my concerts in the mid to late 90’s, there’s a good chance you heard this piece setting the space before my performance. On IMMERSION: TWO I took the opportunity to live with this zone again, to fine-tune and melt the ‘Artifact Ghost’ even more, creating subtle movements and adding nearly subliminal openings along the way. I was shaping this IMMERSION: TWO version right up ’til the last moment. It’s playing in loop mode right now.”

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 17jul09: 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)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 03jul09: Steve Roach

roachSTORMWARNING takes you to the outer edges of Steve Roach’s music where he engages in a driving high-energy sound first explored on albums EMPETUS, and NOW / TRAVELER. In the live performances of STORMWARNING, Roach unlocks the synchronous perfection of sequencers, creating elaborate, interlocking patterns that weave into infinite, Escher-like designs, set against Roach’s skyscraping synthesizer fury.

STORMWARNING has been brought back to life as a release on Steve’s Timeroom Collector Series. Since the original was only 51 minutes long, “Day Three”, a 21 minute sequencer piece of epic proportions has been added. This piece was recorded on Steve’s first tour of Germany, and definitely feels like a missing piece to the puzzle in terms of its musical content and energy. Those who love the high-energy dramatic sequencer era of Steve’s work will love this rare piece recorded in the land of its stylistic origin. 24-bit remastered and over 70 minutes total playing time.

01 Steve Roach: “Day One” (8:23) from “Stormwarning” (1999)
02 Steve Roach: “Day Two” (30:16) from “Stormwarning” (1999)
03 Steve Roach: “Day Three” (20:45) from “Stormwarning” (1999)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 92: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

empetus“Empetus is full blown sequencer-based music illustrating a further evolution in the visceral side of Roach’s music. Nine precise pieces that still sound fresh today. A favorite of sequencer music lovers. Released in 1986, this recording of intricately-woven sequencer lines and buzzing synthesizers established Roach as the American answer to the pioneering European electronic masters of the ’70s (Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream). Alternately thrilling and serene (sometimes within the space of the same track), EMPETUS’ waves of energy rest upon labyrinthine patterns of interlocking notes and wildly cascading tonal clusters. Roach varies the moods from piece to piece as well: the bright, piercing electronics of ”Seeking” contrast vividly with the starker, sweeping veils of sequenced notes and arcing waves of ”Empowerment” or the turbo-charged synths that rev through ”Conquest”. It’s all riveting, exciting stuff, and although Roach largely abandoned the style as he moved forward, EMPETUS remains an important, if largely unsung, statement documenting the course of modern American electronic music.” — Darren Bergstein, Muze

somaLike the wild mushrooms that fungus enthusiast Robert Rich turns into gourmet dishes, the pieces on Soma seem to emanate directly from the ground, without belonging to any species hitherto defined. New Age? Nah. Ambient? Not exactly. Fungoid tribal trance? Maybe. Rich, the drone provocateur who invented the “sleep concert” in the early ’80s, and Roach, proto-ambient pioneer whose Dreamtime Return remains a classic of organic New Age, distill a potent nectar of heartbeat-paced percussion–including rain sticks, clay water pots, kalimbas, and sequenced drums–and reverberant flutes, didgeridoos, and canyon-sized synthesizers. More rhythmically active than either the Roach-Vidna Obmana duet Well of Souls or early Roach electronica like Traveller, Soma–named for the Vedic potion said to deliver the drinker to God–is a Southwest vision quest that suggests Terence McKenna’s psilocybin-mushroom theories: a connection to the very soul of the earth through ethno-botanical ingestion. Bottoms up… –James Rotondi

OriginsLike ancient cave etchings released from the stone they were carved upon, Steve Roach’s evocative music on Origins rattles the subconscious, bringing our most elusive dreams and primeval memories into focus through potent sonic essays. Roach’s twentieth recording documents the latest chapter in his ever expanding style; a highly instinctual vocabulary of futuristic, yet organic electronics combined with forms of expression, as old as man himself. Driven by hybrid percussion, enigmatic synthesized melodies, gravel-voiced chants, and intense cries of yearning, the opening piece Artifacts creates a sonic time warp that propels listeners into a surreal, almost alien, tribal landscape. This leads to some powerful didgeridoo playing on subsequent tracks as Roach deftly illustrates his growing virtuosity on the ancient Aboriginal instruments he learned to play during his extended stays in Australia. Even without electronic accompaniment, the didgeridoo conjures up some powerful imagery on Clay, Wood, Bone, Dirt, a stunning, entirely acoustic duo featuring Roach and Mexican multi-instrumentalist, Jorge Reyes who plays clay water pots on this selection. In The Face in the Fire, sinuous synthesized textures and mammoth drum beats build a rock solid foundation for Roach’s gritty chants in some long forgotten language, while the cryptic cauldron of churning sounds in In the Eyes of the Spirit feature Reyes’ performances on Aztec trumpet and other pre-Columbian instruments. Spanish artist, Suso Saiz provides his own brand of hypnotic guitar textures on several selections as well. Through it all, Steve Roach deftly brings to life a story of ancestors and heroes, medicine men and ceremonies at dusk, as he reminds us that one day we too will be artifacts in the minds of some future civilization.

01 Steve Roach: “The Memory” (05:57) from “Empetus” (1986)
02 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Silk Ridge” (06:05) from “Soma” (1992)
03 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Soma” (12:07) from “Soma” (1992)
04 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Seduction of the Minotaur” (05:21) from “Soma” (1992)
05 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Touch” (04:36) from “Soma” (1992)
06 Steve Roach: “In the Eyes of the Spirit” (07:56) from “Origins” (1993)
07 Steve Roach: “Dreaming Now, Then” (18:58) from “Origins” (1993)

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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)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 90: Steve Roach, Robert Rich

strataAural 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: “Fearless” (4:34) from “Strata” (1990)
02 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Mica” (4:59) from “Strata” (1990)
03 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Forever” (4:51) from “Strata” (1990)
04 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “The Grotto Of Time Lost” (9:03) from “Strata” (1990)
05 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Iguana” (7:16) from “Strata” (1990)
06 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Magma” (3:38) from “Strata” (1990)
07 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Persistence Of Memory (For Dali)” (5:11) from “Strata” (1990)
08 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Remembrance” (2:26) from “Strata” (1990)
09 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “Ceremony Of Shadows” (6:20) from “Strata” (1990)
10 Steve Roach & Robert Rich: “La Luna” (0:42) from “Strata” (1990)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 84: Steve Roach

Darkest-Before-DawnDarkest Before Dawn is a long-form composition that is meant for continuous play. It is from Steve Roach, a master of that technique. His activity that preceded this CD had been electro-tribal and experimental, with forays into some forms of rhythmic ambience and classic space music. The title of this disc says it all. This is dark, sinister minimalism as — and this is a reminder — only Roach can do it. This is serious space music with no grooves, no fractals, and no percussion. The atmosphere does have its own rhythm and its own pace. The continuous form is the soundscape; there are no breaks or interruptions. This is a marvelous work and is destined to become a classic of the genre. For now, it rates as excellent, but time will earn it a “best of genre” rating. While this piece is unique, Roach has performed dark ambience before — The Magnificent Void and Structures From Silence are classics of the style. He has also created several continuous-play pieces that work well on multi-disc units in shuffle and continuous modes. That would make for a fairly adventurous day — a dozen Steve Roach CDs on continuous shuffle play. (Jim Brenholts, All Music Guide)

01 Steve Roach: “Darkest Before Dawn” (74:00) from “Darkest Before Dawn” (2002)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 83: Steve Roach

worldsedgeRoach’s most ambitious release since Dreamtime Return, World’s Edge offers a synopsis of his various styles on disc one and offers an hour-long meditative mind journey called “To The Threshold of Silence” on disc two. The pieces on disc one are reminiscent of everything from Western Spaces (like “Undershadow”) to Dreamtime Return (like “Steel and Bone”) and extends the tribal-ambient direction he started on Dreamtime with “Beat of Desire” and “Thunderground”, the latter of which is the best piece on the disc one. Disc Two, “To The Threshold of Silence”, was his most ambitous space music composition at that time, beginning with a Tibetan- inspired gong ceremonial section, continuing with three other linked sections that move through various emotional spaces tied together by a common textural theme.

A great introduction to Roach’s music, particularly if you’re interested in his ’90s offerrings.

01 Steve Roach: “World’s Edge” (09:44) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
02 Steve Roach: “The Call” (03:29) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
03 Steve Roach: “Undershadow” (08:26) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
04 Steve Roach: “When Souls Roam” (06:51) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
05 Steve Roach: “Beat of Desire” (07:34) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
06 Steve Roach: “Glimpse” (03:05) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
07 Steve Roach: “Thunderground” (10:25) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
08 Steve Roach: “Falling, Flying, Dreaming” (06:13) from “World’s Edge” (1992)
09 Steve Roach: “Drift” (07:43) from “World’s Edge” (1992)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 82: Steve Roach

worldsedgeAmong Steve Roach’s vast and brilliant catalog of ambient, or “space music” recordings, very few are less than superlative and a select few transcend the rest to establish the new high water mark by which all other ambient recordings are measured. ‘World’s Edge’ is just such an album.

His first true masterpiece was the double album ‘Dreamtime Return’. With ‘World’s Edge’, Steve Roach moved into a new realm that integrated ambient textures with tribal rhythm’s to completely transport the listener to, (hopefully without sounding too metaphysical) a new plain of existence. The first disc is especially effective in creating this feeling of escape, while the second disc is one long piece that is more introspective as it delves into the inner soul of the listener.

Once again, I must disagree with Mr. Moodindigo2 who seems to have completely missed the point of these albums. This music isn’t about sensory deprivation: rather they are a complex and moving exercise in TOTAL IMMERSION. If you take the time to listen critically, you cannot help but be totally carried away by the intricate structures and subtle counterpoints of the music. I would suggest that Moodindigo2 give it another listen and try to stay awake this time.

This album is the second masterpiece in the triumvirate, but I must also agree with Moodindigo’s “friend” who ranks Steve Roach’s Early Man (yet another double CD) as the zenith of his career to date, and the third true masterpiece in his catalog. Buy them all and experience 6 discs of the best ambient music available anywhere.

01 Steve Roach: “To The Threshold of Silence” (58:23) from “World’s Edge” (1992)

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