Streams & Currents
by Ben Kettlewell, Alternate Music Press
Steve Roach creates an insidous organic sonic plasma that doesn't so much instill meditative states as absorb you into them in the six compositions that comprise STREAMS & CURRENTS. Continuing in the direction begun on his best-selling disc, MIDNIGHT MOON (Projekt 2000), Steve uses treated guitars and looping devices to create sonic bits of flotsam, sending them out into space and then reintegrating them into an electrifying bold new entity. For those accustomed to Roach's glaciated formations and the continued evolution of ambient music, and his ingenious looping and effects processing, the album becomes required listening on the learning curve. As its title would suggest, STREAMS & CURRENTS is a recording of transcendent beauty. It grew out of deeply inspired late night sessions between late August and Mid-September 2001. In his own words, Steve has these words to describe his new album, "Of my pieces, I feel these are perhaps the most intimate and directly expressive of 'being in the present moment.' As the CD evolves, a sense of quiet seems to engulf the tracks progressively; it is something I have never quite captured before in this way."
And luckily for the listener, Steve caught each moment of this sound oddessey in a visionary recording, creating a musical journey that's as mystical and subtle as its title, where Roach stirs the primitive spirit with its improvisational grace.
The instrumentation consists of two electric guitars (Stratocaster and Baritone Guitar), Ebow, extensive live looping and sound processing gear along with 'mantra beat', a percussion loop, on one piece. According to Steve, its about focusing on minimal-essential technology to bring out the maximum opportunity for subdued emotive expression. Roach is not a man to employ a lot of notes, and he is extremely adept at finding the space between the notes and using this silence to best effect. Caught "on the fly", each piece on the disc fits together like a completed puzzle of interlocking parts, seamlessly viewed as a canvas of creativity; magical, deep and inspired.