Dreaming... Now, Then: A Retrospective 1982 - 1997
The majority of Steve Roach's formative work in the 80's was on the Fortuna label, part of Celestial Harmonies. Towards the latter end of the Fortuna period, 1982-94, Roach began discographies privately and on the Fathom and Projekt labels. However, the successes of this particular retrospective are largely because of the connectivity of the Fortuna label output itself, even into the early 90's, a development that is particularly vivid on this compilation's first disc entitled "The Ritual Continues." Every track here is well chosen, from the very early days of NOW and TRAVELER, through the surging sequencer lines of EMPETUS and his two early collaborations (WESTERN SPACES and DESERT SOLITAIRE), and into the modern electronic / indigenous acoustic fusions of DREAMTIME RETURN, WORLD'S EDGE, ORIGINS, and ARTIFACTS. The tracking is excellent and largely chronological, reflecting an evolution of Roach's more rhythmic music. There are also two previously-unreleased tracks added as bonuses (one per disc), the compilation's 7 1/2 minute title track, a retreatment on the piece from ORIGINS, and disc two's "The Passing Time" clocking in at over 12 minutes. From 1997, three years since the last Fortuna album ARTIFACTS they help to create connections to his more recent music.
Roach's more ambient side is reflected on disc 2, "Looking for Safety". Not chronologically ordered like the first disc, Roach displays his relatively shorter atmospheric pieces like DREAMTIME RETURN's "Magnificent Gallery," or "Quiet Friend" from STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, and the vibrant "Temple of the Frog" from ARTIFACTS. The tracking is not chronological on this disc, giving Roach an opportunity to create a new flow from piece to piece, one that succeeds as much on the merits of the new order as it does on the music. Overall, it's proof that you can make such a medium be as interesting to the long-time listener as the newcomer.