Arc of Passion
by Roger Batty, Musique Machine
ARC OF PASSION is another long-form ambient exploration from one of the most respected names in ambient circles, Steve Roach. Split over two discs taking in over 100 minutes of music dipping into all sides of Roach's sound, from deep lush ambience to electronica beat-driven ambient to didgeridoo and tribal percussive-laced elements, all to make an enjoyable (if a touch flawed) sonic adventure.
It all starts out in fine lush fashion with the track "Moment of Grace" that's built around beautiful harmonic synth patterns that ebb and ripple around you. Giving a feeling akin to a soothing sea slipping in and out of a golden beach, you really sink deep into its relaxing sound waters, slowly bobbing off on harmonic bliss. Next up we have the first part of the title track, a rhythmic electronica-based ambient track that for the most part brought to mind an updated take on Tangerine Dream's rhythmic 1970's work, with ambient techno and tribal twists. It all starts off rewarding enough for the first ten minutes or so, Roach nicely moving around the rhythmic textures and sounds to keep one's attention nicely to summon up an effective atmosphere.
By the second part of the title track that opens up disc two, the tracks are still beat-bound but it's just so much more focused, hypnotic and rich with sonic progression over the heady and slowly shifting rhythmic matter. He moves wonderful emotionally-touched synth patterns over the beat, having almost a smoldering cinematic string quality about them. Lastly we have "Views Beyond" which returns to beatless synth territory to create a rather mystical-sounding end track that hums and shudders with didgeridoo textures. The track has quite a haunted and sombre vibe to it, giving the feeling of moving through dusk-embraced desert mountain landscapes.
On the whole, another rewarding and for the most part consistent ambient journey from Mr. Roach, primed for drifting off into one's imagination with its rich, lush and emotionally-charged sound textures.