Dreaming... Now, Then: A Retrospective 1982 - 1997
by John W. Patterson, Eclectic Earwig Reviews
If you have always been curious as to why Steve Roach is a legend in the electronic music world or the prince of ambience, this 2-CD collection will provide ample evidence. Roach has assembled this journey into two parts. Disc 1: The Ritual Continues, provides a near chronologically linear flow of rhythmic, tribal yet pulsatingly electronic pieces. Twelve pieces sample Roach, circa 1982-1994, with one previously unreleased track from 1997. Landmark releases like EMPETUS, DESERT SOLITAIRE, DREAMTIME RETURN, and WORLD'S EDGE are a few of those sampled here.
On Disc 2: Looking for Safety, a nonlinear, natural soundflow, covering 15 years of releases, unveils the ambient soundrealms and cosmic breathings of voids only Roach can form so well. You will melt away in the ebony dark oceans from DREAMTIME RETURN, WESTERN SPACES, QUIET MUSIC, STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, WORLD'S EDGE, and more. Included as the finale is a superb 12:13 unreleased piece, "The Passing Time" from 1997. This one needs to be played loud. Anyone for that pleasant NDE in sound? Here's the tunnel.
My first exposure to Steve Roach was STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, an otherworldly soothing and gentle wash of sound textures very similar to QUIET MUSIC. It made me a solid follower of this composer's vision. I share a wonderfully fitting anecdote from personal experience with the magic of Roach's work. One evening while playing STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, I left my wife and two children laughing and playing in the living room, all immersed in Roach-sound. I went to take a brief bath. Upon returning to visit with my ladies, I found them each fast aslumber, sprawled on couch, chair, and floor with electronic ambience massaging them into deepest sleep. Uncanny. You can't go wrong with this release if you want find truly inspired sonic excursions into the twilight abodes of Hypnos and the Lethean waters of cleansed mind. Highly recommended. (Be forewarned, as you may be soon seeking out all of the releases represented herein.)