Life Sequence
by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
2004


This release from 2003 offers 74 minutes of highly energetic electronic music.

Joining Roach on two tracks is West Coast synthesist Paul Ellis (whose solo music is reviewed at Sonic Curiosity). While another track is a near-thirty minute opus version of a twelve-minute track that was featured on the 1991 compilation CD "A Door in the Air: The Echoes Living Room Concerts".

The music on this release is significantly less dreamy and more dynamic than the average beatless Roach compositions. In fact, most of the tracks possess a surprise profusion of rapid tempos blending with fluid electronics to produce enticing and invigorating sonic experiences. While conventional percussives are subtly utilized in some places, the "beats" are generally defined by cycling synthetic sounds harnessed into percussive applications, goading the tuneage into livelier territory.

Meanwhile, Roach's multi-layered electronics explore sequenced realms that strive to open the sky and bathe the listener in luxurious radiance. Keyboards are prominently employed to generate the riffs that stretch themselves across the sonic panorama. Textures ricochet among themselves, producing lush patterns of quivering caliber. Displaying assiduous elaborations, the music defies its own languid flow with relentless evolution.

This departure from Roach's often-minimal ambience is superbly accomplished, proving once again that the man's creative talents are as boundless as the universe he quantifies with his soundscapes.

Contrasting the increased energy expressed in this music, the overall effect remains one of pleasant mesmerization. The pieces do not grate or exhaust, but rather immerse the audience in sumptuous environs of gaseous substance that evoke expansion and growth.

The cover art for this release is by Richard Baily, whose surreal digital visuals have graced numerous Roach releases for many years.


Life Sequence

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Life Sequence
Steve Roach
2003 Timeroom Editions 12 (CD)
Reviewed by Ambient Musings, Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, Guts of Darkness, Ping Things, Sonic Curiosity, Star's End, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire, Wind and Wire

A chronicle of new and classic unreleased pure electronic sequencer-driven pieces filled with beauty and emotion. Spiraling melodic sequences, floating majestic textures along with thematic and melodic contributions from guest synthesist Paul Ellis all add up to a set of music that is filled with optimism and passion from start to conclusion.

"Steve has really produced what must be the first CD that mixes sequencers and space-music, but manages to have all the atmosphere of classic cosmic music despite the fact that he uses rhythmic 'devices'. It somehow all blends seamlessly and the one simply adds to the other when, in the hands of so many others, it would be just a mix of two styles at odds with each other. A superb CD and yet another winner, for me the best one so far that combines electronic rhythms as well as the soundscaping." -- Andy Garibaldi, CD Services Scotland

From the liner notes...

LIFE SEQUENCE is a chronicle of new and personally significant unreleased pieces. Since the release of CORE and my recent purely atmospheric projects, I felt the growing urge to re-visit my electronic "roots" in analog sequencer style music. The fact that I had moved away from this sound for awhile made reconnecting with it much like finding an old friend inside myself.

While the pieces presented here were recorded over a fifteen year period, they share a similar feeling: that of embracing life's movement toward the unknown with excitement and anticipation. The first two pieces described below were created during especially significant moments of transition in my own life's sequence.

"Destination Horizon" was originally recorded live for the first Echoes Living Room Concert series in 1989. It was also the last piece created at The Timeroom in Venice, California just before for leaving for a second trip to Australia and returning to a new life in Tucson, Arizona. "Living the Dream" was recorded live in the Tucson Timeroom just before leaving the U.S. for my first European tour in 1991.

"Sands of Time" and "Sundial" are recent collaborations with electronic artist Paul Ellis. These pieces grew out of our live rehearsal sessions for a 2002 Portland concert. His appreciation of this style of music and my earlier work in this direction was an inspiration. The opening track, "Lightness of Being" created in 2003, holds for me an unbroken feeling that is connected to the early impulses that drew me to a form of music I still feel close to my heart.
 
1. Lightness of BeingMP34:56 
2. Living the DreamMP316:56 
3. SundialMP39:27 
4. Sands of TimeMP315:03 
5. Destination HorizonMP327:12 
 
-  Sands of Time LiveMP317:55 

3, 4 with Paul Ellis; "Sands of Time Live" is an Internet bonus, not on the CD, recorded live June 29, 2002 in Portland



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