Spirit Dome
by Phil Derby, Synth Music Direct
January 2004


Their first collaboration since INNERZONE, this finds Roach and Obmana in familiar territory, exploring the murky depths of primordial ambient ooze. In other words, this is good stuff. Totally improvised and presented exactly as it was recorded, this May 2002 after-midnight creation from Room 314 in Philadelphia shows just how well the creative juices start flowing when these two get together. For convenience, this single long piece of music is divided into 8 parts. The first runs 10 minutes, and is full of reverberating echoes, crickets, rustling sounds, and various other delicate atmospheres. A deep booming rhythm, just off in the distance, signals the beginning of part two. The rustling sounds get louder, the drumming more insistent -- if this was a hotel room, I wonder how the other patrons slept! Steve's ambient guitar adds another dimension as the music develops. The echoes move from background to foreground, wailing insistently, and the overall effect is dramatic and haunting as this 21-minute section comes to a close, moving back into the ethereal realms for parts three through five, starting a bit lighter and gradually shifting down into the depths again by the time it reaches part five. Steve and Vidna have a knack for making very primal music that seems to reach into the soul, and it feels like that again here. Part six has elements that remind me of the ambient beginnings to Steve's live two-disc set ALL IS NOW. Only vestiges of rhythm are scattered throughout most of this, but drums finally return in part seven. The mixing of the atmospheric textures and the drums is excellent throughout. Though there is often the sense that the drums are pounding, they are never too forceful, carefully folded into the overall sound whenever they appear. Part 8 borders on the sound of evil, a darker version of Klaus Schulze's Moogetique, from Body Love Vol. 2. It's a chilling but excellent way to finish things off.


Spirit Dome

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Spirit Dome
Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana
2004 Projekt PRO152 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, Ambient Musings, Ambient Visions, CD Services (UK), Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire, www.Metal-Only.com

Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana's 2002 CD INNERZONE served as the doorway to the surreal environment explored on SPIRIT DOME. Recorded in one continuous 74-minute session, this is a dark sanctuary of pure texture and beautiful, if not at times foreboding, dissonance pulled along with pulsing beats, subtle loops and dense soundworlds. The single piece, "Spirit Dome," captures a chilling gothic ambience that offers the exploration of remote psychological states of awareness. This is achieved by way of extensive live processing of instruments including fujara (overtone flute), guitar, and the seemingly bottomless wellspring of electro-acoustic sounds found only in the duo's soundscapes.

SPIRIT DOME was created live on the spot in room 314, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 24th 2002, around 1 AM. Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana were in town preparing for their performance at the 2002 Gathering / Projekt Festival. With only a brief window of time in which to work together before returning to their homes on opposite sides of the Atlantic, their reaction to the claustrophobic urban environment reveals a new dimension to their sound.

When listening to the recording unfold, one has to keep remembering that this unscripted spontaneous creation was a live session recorded directly to the stereo master, just as you will hear. No post-production edits or overdubs were performed. Past discs from the duo include 1995's WELL OF SOULS, 1997's CAVERN OF SIRENS and 2002's INNERZONE; add their live concerts together in Europe and the U.S. and we are brought to the enveloping world of SPIRIT DOME.
 
1. Part 1 10:23 
2. Part 2 21:30 
3. Part 3MP311:58 
4. Part 4 4:01 
5. Part 5 3:59 
6. Part 6MP36:09 
7. Part 7 8:47 
8. Part 8 6:39 

Tracks flow together as a continuous performance, but are indexed for convenience.



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