World's Edge
by Hannah M.G. Shapero
August 17, 2002


Ten years after its release, this two-CD album is still one of Steve Roach's very best. The first CD is electronic ambient in a heroic mode, composed of wide-open harmonies that evoke the vast spaces of the American Southwest, or mystical tone-constellations, musically imagining the clear starry skies above the desert. Roach's sonorities range from his characteristic cloudlike "floating chords," to metallic drones, industrial clanks, and eerie whispers. There is an invigorating variety of rhythms, from Aboriginal, Shamanic and Native American-inspired drumming to techno-industrial steampower. Listen for the jewel-like track 7, "Glimpse," at just over 3 minutes one of Roach's best short pieces ever. The second CD, "To the Threshold of Silence," is a single piece, just about an hour long. This Tibetan-inspired composition begins with gongs and bells, progressing slowly through an inner landscape of sepulchral percussion, electronic drones, and transformations of overtone-singing voices. At times the sound dwindles almost to nothing; at other times it rumbles like ominous distant thunder. It seems a perfect soundtrack to the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" a mind-altering sound journey not to be taken lightly. Together these two visions, one of grandeur and one of awesome darkness, comprise WORLD'S EDGE, a masterpiece from an artist who is still going strong.


World's Edge

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CD  $24.00 
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World's Edge
Steve Roach
1992 Fortuna 18057 (CD)
Reviewed by Hannah M.G. Shapero, Eclectic Earwig Reviews, Margen Magazine, Muze, Synth Music Direct

The double-CD WORLD'S EDGE was Steve's first solo project created after his move to Tucson in 1990. At last the inspirations that fueled his music for years were right outside the studio, helping to feed an especially intense creative period. It is one that Steve looks back on as an important period of transition and discovery within the onion-skin-like evolution of his work. The roots of ORIGINS, ARTIFACTS, THE MAGNIFICENT VOID, and ON THIS PLANET are clearly present here, as well as the transition from the benchmark DREAMTIME RETURN.

Disc two contains an often-overlooked hour-long piece, "To the Threshold Of Silence." This composition shows significant influences from Tibetan ceremonial music, with a fusion of deep space music, melding perfectly into Steve's landscapes of time-stretching textures. Added to this foundation is harmonic singing, processed gongs, Tibetan bells, and deep Earth pulses, all combined to created a kind of ancient-modern sacred space. This groundbreaking long-form piece foreshadowed THE DREAM CIRCLE, SLOW HEAT, ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS and PRAYERS TO THE PROTECTOR. This rediscovery will delight both old listeners and those newly-experiencing Steve's vast musical journey.
 
Disc 1
1. World's EdgeMP39:44 
2. The CallMP33:29 
3. Steel and BoneRealAudioMP32:38 
4. UndershadowMP38:26 
5. When Souls RoamMP36:51 
6. Beat of DesireMP37:34 
7. GlimpseMP33:05 
8. ThundergroundMP310:25 
9. Falling, Flying, DreamingMP36:13 
10. DriftMP37:43 
Disc 2
1. To the Threshold of SilenceMP360:00 



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