Darkest Before Dawn
by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
This release from the end of 2002 features a single 74 minute track of absolute ambience.
As you might suspect, this music is excruciatingly minimal, consisting of ascendant drones that coalesce to convey an utter darkness that transforms -- ever so gradually -- into a somber sunrise of harmonic textures.
Here, Roach returns to his sparse but evocative style that mirrors near-indistinction. Tenuous threads of tonality drift with eternal sustain, seemingly unvarying while actually the drone is in a state of constant flux, mutating with such indolence that its progression becomes subliminal, reacting primarily on the listener's subconscious. The substance of the harmonic flow is ethereal and haunting. It comes in subtle waves, like a vaporous surf that you cannot see or feel, but whose resonance stirs your soul with its feathery caress.
Imagine if you took away all the sounds of civilization, stilled the chittering of insects and silenced every nocturnal creature, even stopped the wind. If you listened very hard, the night would still have a sound... and this music is a remarkable approximation of that dark sigh. Roach has superbly captured that dimensionless presence. This music exactingly mimics that timeless state with its relentless serenity.