Life Sequence
by Marc Weidenbaum, e|i magazine
Spring/Summer 2004


Because Roach self-releases many of his own records, it's especially tempting to hear LIFE SEQUENCE, volume 11 in his Timeroom Editions series, as a counterpoint to volume 10, TEXTURE MAPS: The Lost Pieces Vol. 3. He must have planned for an album of beat-less ambience to be followed by one that begins with a pointillist bit of pep; "Lightness of Being" has the momentum of the best Tangerine Dream film soundtracks, all bubbling effervescence, giddy with life despite its self-evident roots in computer-based composition. The album title refers, with purposeful oxymoronic emphasis, to the music's production on sequencers, which Roach had somewhat given up in favor of other forms of music-making, in particular live-in-the-studio improvisations with layers of treated guitar. Embracing the metrical regimentation, he has built a whole album on rhythm and verve. Even a track as sedate as "Destination Horizon," with its wisps of synthesized vapor, has an underlying structure, like a bubblehouse that encloses a mobile built of brightly painted steel girders. Guest musician Paul Ellis is credited on two collaborations, "Sundial" and "Sands of Time," the former featuring the sort of churning ebullience associated with broadcasts of competitive foot and bicycle races. The latter opens with a sedentary, even mournful (more Texture than Life), soundscape, but the piece is over 15 minutes in length, which leaves Ellis and Roach time to slowly rise, make tentative steps, and work toward the kind of thrust and energy that define the rest of LIFE SEQUENCE. "Sands of Time" is the album's most marked departure from forward movement, but even it eventually gets up and grooves.


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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