Steve Roach: Music Created at the Leading Edge of Now

September, 2015

Steve Roach 2015

Steve Roach is a leading pioneer in the evolution of ambient/electronic music, shaping it into what it is today. An extremely prolific composer with a discography of over 100 albums since his 1982 debut, his landmark recordings include Structures from Silence and Dreamtime Return. Tireless in his creative focus, Steve has released seven albums in 2015 (so far) including the analog sequencer tour-de-force Skeleton Keys and the ultra-reflective Etheric Imprints.

Drawing from a vast, unique, deeply personal authenticity, his releases cover a wide range of dynamic styles all of which bear his signature voice. For 35 years the boundaries are constantly challenged in Roach's work, ranging in style from pure floating spaces, analog sequencer music, primordial tribal, rhythmic ambient, dark ambient, long-form 'drift ambient,' and avant garde atonal ambient.

Steve's artistic path is filled with new discoveries, both nuanced and dramatic. He brings to the table years of dedication and experience exploring sound via hands-on synthesis. With the sense of an artist working in three dimensional space, Steve's skill set creates albums that breathe power, passion and vital life energy.

2015's Etheric Imprints contains mesmerizing soundworlds from the sensual realms of electronic/ambient sonic creation; it's a plunge into the deep end of introspective music. On analog synth masterwork Skeleton Keys, Steve connects to the European EM masters at the roots of his electronic heritage while simultaneously mapping the soundworld of today's contemporary technology-based music. The result is warm and engaging retro-futurism, a continuing evolution upon the musical structures Steve has unlocked in the restless pursuit of his soundquest.

"To fully enjoy Steve's music the listener must be curious — not just with how it was made, or by whom, but with what happens when we allow ourselves to momentarily disappear into it." — Chuck Van Zyl, The Gatherings

In concert, Steve creates transcendent electronic music emerging from an elemental instinctual mode. These events bring together an audience from around the country and as far away as Europe, all looking to experience the on-the-edge experience that erupts in the live setting. This makes Steve's concerts an entirely different experience from the recorded medium. With months of preparation absorbed into his system, evocative soundscapes blend with ecstatic rhythmic sections born from hands-on analog sound creation and sonic shapeshifting. The result is a direct transference of creative energy from the artist through his instruments out to the listener. Live performances are the place where Steve's music thrives, created at the leading edge of now.

Steve Roach 1983

A video profile created by Chuck Van Zyl of The Gatherings:

Steve Roach 2013

With his distinctive melange of analogue and digital synthesisers, acoustic instrumentation and highly imaginative soundscaping, Steve Roach is a giant in modern ambient and one of the most respected electronic musicians in the world. He's been noted for the deep inspiration he draws from the European electronic tradition, and you can certainly hear the legacy of German psychedelic electronica and spacemusic throughout his work; sometimes not in melody, but certainly in its atmosphere and large, reverberant spaces. Another major source of inspiration for Roach is desert wilderness, including the starkly beautiful deserts and wide open spaces of his Arizona home which continue to color his music to this day. After four decades of recording, Steve Roach's well of inspiration remains as deep as ever. Steve Roach has an enormous catalogue of releases for fans to explore. His total number of solo albums, collaborations and live recordings now numbers well over 100. Ever-productive, always thoughtful and refusing to be tied down to any one style, his music commands a large, devoted following and his innovations have inspired a whole generation of downtempo electro-acoustic composers and sound designers.

— Mike Watson, Australia

Archive: Steve Roach Bio, 2003

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