by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
Long established as a classic, 1988's DREAMTIME RETURN is now lovingly reissued with careful 24-bit remastering by Steve Roach, and an expanded booklet with previously unseen photos from around the time of the original recording. It looks and sounds excellent. "Towards the Dream" remains one of my favorite compositions by Steve ever, and it makes a great beginning. So familiar now, back then it was a revolutionary blending of Berlin school sequencing with Roach's now famous primitive elements. His surreal fusion of music of the future and of the past virtually single-handedly invented the tribal ambient genre, or at the very least brought it to the forefront of the music scene. DREAMTIME RETURN also showed Steve's continuing strength in developing long-form works, as he had previously done on QUIET MUSIC and STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE. The 31-minute "Looking For Safety" is a beautifully subtle spacious piece that melts into the background of whatever you find yourself doing while you listen. "Through a Strong Eye" is full of deep sounds that echo into infinity, a hint of what would come several years later on THE MAGNIFICENT VOID. And then there's the wonderful ending, "The Return," which I now associate with the softly rolling waves at the end of Steve's DAY OUT OF TIME video. The use of silence is as effective as the sounds. It is the stuff of dreams, as much today as it was 17 years ago.