Destination Beyond
by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
December 2009


One begins to wonder how many albums Steve Roach can create in his lifetime, not to mention how many that are comprised of a single track running an hour or more. Lest you think that might get old, or formulaic, think again. Destination Beyond is yet another feather in Roach's proverbial cap. While Steve's longform works are usually quite minimal, this is an active, ever-changing piece, along the lines of PROOF POSITIVE although a touch mellower than that. A pulsing bass line forms the foundation as warm pads float over the top and cool grooves complete the package. At times the bass drops out to allow more space to breathe, most notably from about 32:00 to 45:00, as pure space music floats by for several minutes. For the most part, however, the energy is never very far away. But it is a kind of energy that calms and mesmerizes rather than stimulates. Although suggestive of a world always on the move, DESTINATION BEYOND is a reminder that we can take time out to relax and contemplate as well.


Destination Beyond

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Destination Beyond
Steve Roach
2009 Projekt PRO235 (CD)
Reviewed by Brainwashed, Electroambient Space, Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Signal to Noise, Sonic Immersion

Blending the two core aspects of his work, Steve ramps up for the fall of 2009 with the stunningly expansive DESTINATION BEYOND. This all-new release combines immersive atmospheric harmonic zones (like those recently experienced on DYNAMIC STILLNESS) into the setting of spiraling patterns and hypnotic rhythms (similar to those found on ARC OF PASSION). Perfectly blending these two sonic qualities over the course of the continuous 71-minute piece, the flowing soundscapes on DESTINATION BEYOND propel the mood to a mesmerizing state which is unique from any of Steve's pure rhythmless immersive work while achieving a similar sensation that works perfectly in repeat playback mode.

DESTINATION BEYOND pushes electronic music to its highest level, living and breathing in the immediacy in which it was created. The album flows along an organic continuum. Clocked, synced and performed in unison within Steve's desert studio, it showcases his mastery of a life-long devotion to hands-on performance. Utilizing real analog synthesizers with knobs and sliders, a mixing console and real-time processing as an additional instrument results in soundscapes infused with a pure natural flow. It is an artisan approach to sound that is quite rare in today's cut and paste approach to electronic music.

Within an impressive body of work that spans nearly 30 years, certain stylistic forms evolve and reappear as significant signposts, as touchstones for both the listener and the artist. This release clearly draws from the heart and soul of Steve's sonic vision.

DESTINATION BEYOND is infused with breaths of life and forward momentum which draws the listener into a serene sense of physical and mental travel. The sound ebbs and flows in constant movement; the meditation of emotion in the music is a yearning for what is over the next rise. As Steve explains in the liner notes, "When the DESTINATION BEYOND calls the heart must go... The magnetic pull and drive towards the point on the horizon, towards the DESTINATION BEYOND. Never reaching this point -- but always seeing it just ahead -- remains a constant theme and impetus in my life."

 
1. Destination BeyondMP371:41 



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