Streams & Currents
by Daniel L. Mitchell, Ink 19
It's been a long time since I've taken the time to listen to an entire "atmospheric" record; when I was in my teens, I enjoyed atmospheric stuff, because I would read while taking in the sounds in the background. It's much different for me these days, but I must say there is true credibility to what Steve Roach is doing on STREAMS & CURRENTS.
The album, over 70 minutes long, is huge sonic wall of shimmery yet ghostly noises from guitars, e-bow tools, sounds loops, and drums. The music is very primal, and at times, tribal; this is the kind of music you might hear in your head if you were lost in a desert of snow in the dead of night. It's really quite beautiful, the sounds he makes with his guitar. Everything sounds very distant and it often sounds as if people are moaning in the distance... yet there moans are not of pain, but are of sheer, confused satisfaction.
The second track, "Spirit Moves," plods with a heavy bass drum line, while reverb laden guitars pluck strange chords from a thousand miles away. The fourth song, "Almost Touching" does well to keep from "almost touching" the listener; there's barely any sounds for the first five minutes! The last two tracks, "Ebb" and "Flow," also have very few sounds.
I'm not entirely sure why this record is so pleasant sounding... but it is. Keep in mind, though, that this record would be best used for reading, going to sleep, or other low impact things. I had never heard of Steve Roach before, but I do think I'll be checking out more of his stuff, and I think STREAMS & CURRENTS is worth a listen to open-minded music fans.