Circuit Breakers
by Darren Bergstein, Signal to Noise
Spring 2008


Launching the steveroach.com sub-phylum of his Timeroom Editions mainstay, Mr. Roach presents a couple of promising young whippersnappers as the potential frontrunners on 2008's new ambient ticket. Roach's guiding hand and formidable presence (literally and figuratively) is not only fruitful but multiplied on the two sets under consideration here; rubberstamped and mastered for optimal frequency response, one can at the very least trust the headmaster's instincts -- it doesn't hurt that Roach's proteges possess a fair modicum of chops, either.

Brian Parnham's previously self-issued BETWEEN HERE AND THERE was a respectable amalgam of southwest terra incognita and rattlesnake shake: MANTLE instead gets down with its badass drone self, hunting for subterranean universes where light bends, ceases, and conjugates its invisible energy into something else. Tracks titles "Liquid Aggregate", "Strata Peel", and "Altar of the Underworld" find their metaphorical reflectors in the music, shifting through layers of arid, arcing tones, phased breaths, melting resonances. Parnham plays tricks on your ears, peppering his itinerant soundscapes with subtle yet dramatic effects. Far too much occurs inside the music's knotty contours for casual dipping to reveal -- repeat listening is necessary for adequate saturation.

Conversely, Asunder, newcomer Nathan Youngblood's debut, catapults headfirst into harmonics of darkness, unafraid to see what lies beneath for the taking. Menacing, minimal drones creep along buzzing fault lines, adjunct noises uncurling behind them like a great beast opening its talons. A singleminded relentlessness governs how Youngblood allows the dense surrounding air to elongate and assume perilous form. For the entirety of the first two tracks, the level of tension builds to unimaginable climax, but rather than shatter our preconceptions to the rocks, instead Youngblood tenders "Umbrasphere" with a delicate, if cautionary, finesse, driving two snapping wavelengths against a seemingly indestructible wall of electronics. Ebony meets ivory in a storm of drones -- here's to anticipating Youngblood's follow-up.



Asunder

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $5.00 
iTunes 
Asunder
Nathan Youngblood (with Steve Roach)
2007 steveroach.com SR02 (CD)
Produced by Steve Roach
Reviewed by Morpheus Music, Relaxed Machinery, Signal to Noise, Tokafi

ASUNDER is the debut release by Nathan Youngblood. Carved from dense harmonically rich acoustic and electronic material, this set of tone zones move at glacial speed, hovering very close to the Earth's surface for the duration. Emotionally contained in a sphere of isolation, the gentle tension effectively holds your interest subliminally, and continues to permeate into your physical and mental environment.
 
1. Vesper NestMP38:22 
2. KanashibariMP311:48 
3. UmbraSphereMP36:32 
4. ShearwaveMP319:40 
5. FlumeMP310:54 
6. UnderlandMP36:45 

2, 3. with Steve Roach; production, sonic enhancements, and mastering by Steve Roach


Mantle

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $5.00 
Combo Pack $17.00
MANTLE (CD)
THE BROKEN SILENCE (CD)
Combo Pack $23.00
THE BROKEN SILENCE (CD)
BETWEEN HERE & THERE (CD)
MANTLE (CD)
Combo Pack $18.00
MANTLE (CD)
SEE NONE, HEAR NONE, SPEAK NONE (CD)
iTunes 
Mantle
Brian Parnham (with Steve Roach)
2007 steveroach.com SR01 (CD)
Produced by Steve Roach
Reviewed by Electroambient Space, Morpheus Music, Signal to Noise

This outstanding release plays like a surreal subterranean walkabout within the folds of Utah's alluring slot canyons. Steve Roach commissioned long-time friend and accomplished electronic artist Brian Parnham to drop into the deep end of his sound carving skills. The result presents an adroit sound artist coming into full form within this shadowed sonic wonderland drawn from the Earth's inner realms.
 
1. Skim the SurfaceMP36:51 
2. MeanderingMP35:29 
3. Rising TemperaturesMP37:06 
4. Strata PeelMP36:13 
5. Liquid AggregateMP36:05 
6. Scorpion DenMP35:32 
7. Minotaur's LairMP34:54 
8. MoltenMP37:38 
9. Altar of the UnderworldMP35:14 
10. Relentless FlowMP35:00 
11. BendsMP36:23 
12. Up For AirMP37:15 
 
-  Mantle (medley)MP3 

3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11. with Steve Roach; final assembly, production, spatial implants and mastering by Steve Roach



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