Life Sequence
by Rik Maclean, Ping Things
April 2004


It can truly be said that Steve Roach is a pioneer in the field of ambient music, a frontiersperson who has helped to shape and form the genre as we know it today. Over the years his contributions have been numerous, from long form atmospheric spaces recreating environment and space to studies of tribal rhythms and textures and everywhere in between. Over the course of his career, Roach's work has captured our imaginations and inspired both our dreams and our waking moments.

With the release of LIFE SEQUENCE, one of a pair of releases from his Timeroom Editions series, Roach shows a skill and mastery of sound sure to affect his listeners in powerful ways.

As LIFE SEQUENCE opens with the shorter piece "Lightness of Being", Roach sets the stage for an excursion into a more driven, sequenced style drawing from analog technology. From it's opening notes one can't help but be drawn into it's charms, beguiled by it's beauty.

This shortly gives way to the longer "Living the Dream", a study in percolating synths and patterned sounds laid over a percussive bed building to an intense climax and then slowly releasing it's grip on the listener with a slow chill out. "Sundial" continues along the same chilled vein, tones floating and sweeping through the track in a calm and drifting form, ebbing and flowing like the shifting of tides. Beautiful music for a Sunday morning...

"Sands of Time" follows, it's opening slowly sweeping through consciousness giving way to a more clearly defined pattern of tones. Movement is so subtle, so delicate in this piece as tones shift, appear and disappear. A masterful work.

"Destination Horizon" closes the disc, an epic longform piece slowly building on patterns and shapes introduced early on in the course of its 27 minutes. Transparent, shimmering, beautiful. Once again, Roach has shown why he is one of the undisputed masters of the genre.


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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