by Roger Batty, Musique Machine
KAIROS is a wonderfully varied and rewarding musically ambient and visual treat, offering up a DVD of Roach's rich soundworlds joined by mystically and psychedelic visuals, all beautifully edited together to make a captivating and flowing visual trip, plus a second audio CD of the 70+ minute soundtrack.
Steve Roach has been plying his ambient wares since the late 1970's, and while this may lead some to expect this to sound dated, trapped in a latter-day Tangerine Dream new-age synth nightmare, it's far from that. KAIROS illustrates an artist still at the peak of his powers, still making fresh, atmospheric, vibrant and multi-layered ambience. Throughout its 70+ minutes running time, he shows his ability to change tone and depth, going from deep droning dark synth clouds, to more upbeat sleek rhythmic-led soundways, to mysterious and atmospheric sound washers, which are all unpinned by other instrumental touches and organic tones.
If the exceptional music wasn't enough in itself, we get the visuals which are frankly awe-inspiring and very re-watchble, going from floating and overlaying footage of desertscapes, to deep swirling and morphing computer animation, to kaleidoscopic organic visual tapestry, to shifting rich psychedelic patterns and colors. The DVD features the visual moving art talents of Lynn Augstein, Steve Lazur, Steven Rooke, John Vega, and John Wadsworth, with hybrid visual creation and final editing by Roger King.
There really are no low points here, as the shifting and morphing audio-visual landscape keeps you enthralled thoughout. A few of my favorite musically and visual moments are the unfolding dark and mysterious organic synth shapes of "Etheric Planet", which are visual joined by drifting alien aurora borealis-like color washes that pull you in further and further. I also enjoyed the deep and dark droning floating of "Resonation Portal", which is joined by kaleidoscopic and haunting footage of jellyfishes and other alien-like marine life.
Really, if you only have even a passing interest in any form of ambience, this is very desirable and for those of you long-time ambient fans, you really have to ask yourself why you haven't got this already?