by Matt Rowe, MusicTAP
October 14, 2002
Like a desolate eerie spiritual float in a Lycia landscape, Steve Roach and Jeffrey Fayman's tracks on the excellent TRANCE SPIRITS take you on a wild ride through a sub world of exotic rhythms and essences of deprivation. Deprivation as in loss of reality, as in loss of will and loss of effort, this album of tribal mind travel is the perfect unyielding fear magnet.
Wrapping it's sonic tendrils around you and lacerating your spiritual being with its tonal hooks, this soundscape (as called by Roach/Fayman ) of desolation invades and grasps, transporting the listener to unvisited worlds of imagination.
Steve Roach has long created such aural distractions, often in collaboration with other masters of sound manipulations. This is another in that vast body of work that has set the standard for ambient music. What began with the likes of Tangerine Dream,Michael Hoenig (hear DEPARTURE FROM THE NORTHERN WASTELAND for a 70's ambient treat that is way ahead of its time), and Vangelis is now perfected in as many ways as can be conceived by Steve Roach and his many collaborators.
This is Roach's movement into a polyrthymic world. With the installation of two percussionists to drive the music over the terrain of his otherworldly musical emanations, this collection of songs become the soundtrack for imagination and dreams. Boosted periodically with Robert Fripp's usual exceptional guitar experimentations, pushing the limits and restraints of the instrument to new and dimensional places, TRANCE SPIRITS paces itself frenetically. Like an edgy depressive, the album moves from foot to foot, becoming a mind altering travel pod over changing landscape or a wandering soul, lost in a fog of disbelief.
Momodou Kah, a percussionist of extraordinary talent creates sound tapestries that personifies the sound treatments already laid out by the other musicians. The absolutely unreal and incredible drumming found on "Year of the Horse" must be heard to be believed. The concerted and relentless drumming simulates the sound of a galloping horse in such a fevered and convincing way, you can fall into the belief that you travel on the back of a hellish stallion bent on delivering you to the brink.
This album is a must have CD that will complement your ambient collection. If you joy in all things Steve Roach, TRANCE SPIRITS completes the circle. Jeffrey Fayman's collaboration promises great things from this instrumentalist when he delivers an album of his own. Having collaborated earlier with Fripp on A TEMPLE IN THE CLOUDS, Fayman shows that his vision of ambience is as thoughtful and imaginative as anyone in this genre.
This CD of largely shamanistic approach, in a landscape flecked with Lycia desolation, leaves you waterless with a thirst for more. Once the journey is completed, you can only hit the replay button to rejoin and visit the other worlds that await you when this disc is playing.
The sound mixes from these sessions are superb. Rich, deep and emotionally infused, the ensuing textures that fill this disc are spectacularly expressive. The echoed background textures on these tracks create a world that can be heard from every angle. The stereo mixes and use of L/R channels to blend the instruments while splitting the textures between channels at times is simply stunning.
A four page booklet accompanying the disc provides a descriptive credit list that gives the listener the information necessary to acquaint themselves with the instrumentalist. Artwork that joins with the concept of the music fill the pages. Overall credits are provided on the back of the booklet A fine package that is standard for Projekt recordings.
THE FINAL SAY
Any Steve Roach release is a must-have. However, when he is in cahoots with the best of the best, such as Fayman, and Fripp, the potential for 'tranceportation' is at its highest. A recommended purchase.