All is Now
by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
March 2003


This 2-CD set perfectly captures the essence of Steve Roach's 2002 tour, including a small snapshot of the show I caught in Portland in June. The tour featured Steve in fine form, flawlessly combining elements of several of his latest CDs, including in particular the powerful rhythms of CORE and the haunting ambient guitar of STREAMS & CURRENTS. Each disc flows seamlessly, subdivided by cities but also grouped into themes. For example, disc one opens with "Setting Course," which begins with Part 1 in Oakland and continues with Parts 2 and 3 from the Portland show. At first it is nearly silent, with only crickets and other night sounds. Slow washes of sound, blending the primitive and the futuristic in Roach's unique way, are gently folded in. The ambient guitar then surfaces, shimmering in the darkness. Unusual punches of percussion signal the beginning of Part 2 as moody guitarscapes continue. A very cool groove enters the mix, bubbling along. The beat slows down for Part 3 as the swirling atmospherics continue. The oddest sound appears here and continues through the piece. Imagine a creaky shoe put through reverb and some waveform alterations, and you'll have the general idea. Parts 4 through 7 are "Life Meditation," and here the rhythms really take center stage. I remember this passage well from the concert, with its forceful presence that you could feel as much as hear. Part 5 moves from the surreal to the rhythmic, with a somewhat softer less insistent beat. It's one of the best drum pieces on the two discs, though it's hard to pick a favorite. Part 6 is very much a CORE-influenced piece. The pace and the emotion shifts smoothly from part to part, culminating in a cool floater to end disc one.

Disc two is taken from a Sedona, Arizona performance, divided into eight parts. It begins with more crickets and ambient guitar work. The guitar is allowed to mine the depths fully, exploring each nook and crevice. Part 2 is a stunning hybrid groove space reminiscent of STORMWARNING melded with elements of CORE. And so it goes, continuing to alternate mesmerizing floaters with intense rhythms. Part 8 is essentially "The Reflecting Chamber" from LIGHT FANTASTIC, a great variant on a great piece, bringing this set to a satisfying end.


All is Now

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CD  $20.00 
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LIVE AT GRACE CATHEDRAL (CD)
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All is Now
Steve Roach
2002 Timeroom Editions 8 (CD)
Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, Hannah M.G. Shapero, CD Services (UK), Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, Progression Magazine, Sonic Curiosity, Wind and Wire

Fresh from concerts in 2002, this purely live double-CD release presents the current evolution of Steve's iconoclastic live experience captured at select U.S. dates earlier this year. For the duration of the first half of this year, Steve was on a constant program of performing on the road, then returning home for a few weeks at a time, setting up the live system in The Timeroom to create new sounds and reflect on previous concerts. This proved to be a refreshing alternative to the tour-'til-you-drop approach as the evolution of the music and soundworlds were greatly enhanced by this process.

Elements from CORE, STREAMS & CURRENTS, EARLY MAN and INNERZONE are here, but the spontaneous moments within these two CD's, along with many new pieces and spaces created just for these events, gives this experience an atmosphere than can only come from stepping out from the safety of the studio environment. From the intimate to the immediate, the intensity of these sound journeys with the audience onboard is clearly captured and alive. The 'mobile Timeroom' events were recorded at Sedona Arizona, Oakland and San Francisco California, Portland Oregon, and the SFMOMA / Yoko Ono event.
 
Disc 1: All is Now
1. Oakland (setting course)MP315:18 
2. Portland (1)MP32:50 
3. Portland (2)MP38:58 
4. Portland (3, life meditation)MP39:54 
5. SFMOMA (1)MP313:02 
6. San FranciscoMP33:37 
7. OaklandMP36:05 
8. San Francisco (infinite heart)MP310:35 
9. SFMOMA (2)MP33:57 
Disc 2: Live in Sedona: Formations Creation in 8 parts
1. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 1MP311:32 
2. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 2MP313:33 
3. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 3MP33:42 
4. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 4MP33:03 
5. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 5MP37:18 
6. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 6MP311:39 
7. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 7MP36:22 
8. Live In Sedona: Formations Creation Part 8MP39:38 



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