A Deeper Silence
by Darren Bergstein, e/i magazine
Listening to A DEEPER SILENCE, cochlea bathing in its luxuriant fathoms, begs contemplation regarding the inexorable march of time, particularly as this year's already slipped into the eve of its final quarter; in fact, speaking in senses both chronological and philosophical, notions of time, of fleeting moments and indelible memories, thread the conduit binding Steve Roach's first handful of 2008 releases. There's a simultaneous longing and exuberance across the span of these three recordings -- embracing things past and things current yet remaining anticipatory towards the future, Roach nevertheless recognizes the unerring arc of the circle. Dots are connected, lines are re-drawn and recalibrated, the ghosts of muses past beg for exorcism; amidst Roach's work, time is truly the fire in which he burns. Sounds might rest temporarily, occupying relatively safe havens until their oasis is shattered by the next cyclonic statement, yet in Roach's slipstream, psychotropic fulfillment comes from bridging the id of then with the momentum of now. It's beginning to and back again.
Out of the barest sliver of eclipsed sunlight illuminating the top of the front cover, an infinity symbol subtly emblazoned over the tray card's near-blackest ever black, years bloom, flare, fade, and are reborn within the tableau of A DEEPER SILENCE. Ostensibly a continuation of the themes augured by 1987's Structures from Silence but allowed to naturally expand across a far longer bandwidth, when the soft machine tufts of A DEEPER SILENCE first emerge it's as if they always existed, ready to unveil themselves to whomever chooses access. Like ancient solar winds, gravity thinning their entrails across limitless parsecs, the disc's beauteous tones achieve a perfect symbiosis between reflection, sensation, and environment. "Immersive" these elastic, whispering filigree are, yes, but it's a far different tenor (though the aesthetics are certainly shared) than that displayed on Roach's earlier Immersion series. On those 2007 recordings, Roach's dronic maps availed themselves of braided, gelatinous, and indeed minimal, textures, eerie fugs of sound that engulfed you in startling ultraviolets. Play A DEEPER SILENCE in varying situations -- as a preternatural listen, precursor to sleep, or perchance to dream -- and each time its sparse opiate narcotizes different corners of the soul. A more profoundly introspective skein of sound, yielded via the "cold" ions of electronics, one would be challenged to find -- embodying ambient music, in fact codifying Eno's own behavioral maxim for such musics, the subtly insinuitive tow of A DEEPER SILENCE not only suspends memories, but left to its own devices, displaces the very flow of time itself.