Widescreen Ambient Music
by Marc Weidenbaum, Disquiet
April 25, 2003


Over the course of four full-length CD's, Steve Roach's MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES (Projekt, 2003) extends itself beyond the traditional realm of music. The sheer mass of sound - in terms of length as well as depth - is a challenge for listeners hung up on such arcane concerns as "song" or, for that matter, "melody". Roach refutes such preconceptions with a ritual hum that will resonate in the body cavity and the imagination as much as it will in the ear.

These four CD's are the result of Roach's long-running communion with his computer, which is no less a tool in his ambient toolbox than are his deeply echoing electric guitar or his pulsing, aboriginal didgeridoo. For more than 20 years, Roach has probed sounds for their essence, recording over 50 solo and collaborative albums in the process. MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES was made on a computer, but it is not computer music, per se. It is indifferent to the metronomic synchronization inherent in most digital media. Instead, Roach pulls pure cloudstuff from his sonic source material, sounds that never quite begin or end, but just float and flow.

The album alternates between existential epiphanies and industrial dread, and it's a triumph of widescreen ambient music that defies the listener's sense of proportion and scale. At a low volume, it's an aural scent, a background flavor; played loud, though, it's a whole other world, reproduced with detail and precision. Despite this otherworldly aura, at times figments from our world surface, as with the birdsong that enlivens the track "Wren and Raven".


Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces

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feature  feature

Poster $5.00
Part 1 CD  $23.00 
ON SALE, $17.00 
Complete 4-CD Set CD  $46.00 
ON SALE, $28.00 
iTunes 
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces
Part 1 (Discs 1 & 2)

Steve Roach
2003 Projekt PRO142 (Poster, CD)
Reviewed by Frank MacEowen, Gilles Bédard, Jim Brenholts, Hannah M.G. Shapero, Ambient Musings, Beneath the Icy Floe, Deep Listenings, Disquiet, Echoes, Eclectic Earwig Reviews, Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, Morpheus Music, Sonic Curiosity, Sputnik Music, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire

Moving into the majestic realm of pure, non-rhythmic electro-acoustic soundworlds, MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES is a stunning 4-CD release marking a new milestone in Roach's history as a true artist of sound. His landmark statements -- including DREAMTIME RETURN, THE MAGNIFICENT VOID and STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE -- are all parts of the uninterrupted flow building to this release. After a recent run of rhythmically fused CD's, Roach moves into awe-inspiring sonic immersion, delving into a spiritual dimension of sound. Nearly 5 years in the making, this release offers a listening experience beyond entertainment and pop culture appeals, creating a new sense of 'ambient orchestration' through a constantly shifting flow of sounds and textures that enters a sacred realm of music.

"Abandoning all conventional notions of music as melody, harmony and rhythm, MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES allows the listener blissful hours on the high frontier between deep listening music and the spirituality of pure sound." -- Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space Radio

Note: The 4-Disc Set has an extra $3 shipping charge for deliveries outside the U.S. and Canada.

 
Disc 1: Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces
1. Palace of NectarMP314:15 
2. OracleMP320:06 
3. Within the MysticMP315:52 
4. PresenceMP311:47 
5. Vortex RingMP311:51 
Disc 2: Labyrinth
1. Wren and RavenMP314:49 
2. The OtherworldMP34:48 
3. WonderworldMP39:07 
4. ThresholdMP32:20 
5. Dream BodyMP311:12 
6. Slowly DissolveMP34:15 
7. Womb of NightMP32:42 
8. SoulwaveMP311:00 
9. Wordless 4:06 
10. NamelessMP39:29 

Poster measures 12" x 17".


Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces

Part 2 CD  $23.00 
ON SALE, $17.00 
Complete 4-CD Set CD  $46.00 
ON SALE, $28.00 
iTunes 
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces
Part 2 (Discs 3 & 4)

Steve Roach
2003 Projekt PRO143 (CD)
Reviewed by Sputnik Music

A cinematic epic for the ears, part 2 of MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES builds upon the swirling currents and massive harmonic landscapes established on part 1. On the first disc of part 2 (titled "Recent Future"), Roach creates a state of constant becoming: soundscapes shift and morph in perpetual motion as one space dissolves away only to reveal the next compelling place. This realm of unresolved, suspended beauty reaches a high plateau setting the stage for the final disc's departure into a single long form track, perfectly titled "Piece of Infinity." The serene, mysterious atmosphere of the 74-minute space completes the tour de force MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES.

Moving into the majestic realm of pure, non-rhythmic electro-acoustic soundworlds, MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES is a stunning 4-CD release marking a new milestone in Roach's history as a true artist of sound. His landmark statements -- including DREAMTIME RETURN, THE MAGNIFICENT VOID and STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE -- are all parts of the uninterrupted flow building to this release. After a recent run of rhythmically fused CD's, Roach moves into awe-inspiring sonic immersion, delving into a spiritual dimension of sound. Nearly 5 years in the making, this release offers a listening experience beyond entertainment and pop culture appeals, creating a new sense of 'ambient orchestration' through a constantly shifting flow of sounds and textures that enters a sacred realm of music.

"Abandoning all conventional notions of music as melody, harmony and rhythm, MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES allows the listener blissful hours on the high frontier between deep listening music and the spirituality of pure sound." -- Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space Radio

Note: The 4-Disc Set has an extra $3 shipping charge for deliveries outside the U.S. and Canada.

 
Disc 3: Recent Future
1. Open HeartMP34:38 
2. Turn to LightMP39:19 
3. Shift the DimensionMP33:46 
4. This Moment is a MemoryMP35:44 
5. This Moment is Another MemoryMP34:32 
6. Slightly BelowMP32:28 
7. Essence of PhaedraMP32:45 
8. Left Perfectly AloneMP32:29 
9. A Subtle Body CurrentMP35:15 
10. Personal NatureMP310:36 
11. Grounding PlaceMP37:48 
12. Turning BackMP33:38 
13. The Spiral of Time's Fire Burns OnMP310:52 
Disc 4: Piece of Infinity
1. Piece of InfinityMP373:49 



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