Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms
by Matt Rowe, MusicTAP
The cyclonic capacity of Steve Roach to create variations of his ambient works is something to be amazed at. With fresh reservoirs, Steve Roach adds to his evolving Immersion series, this time with a 2-CD ambient experience aptly called Circadian Rhythms. Circadian Rhythms is the fifth in the continuing series.
A circadian rhythm is a built-in cycle, guided by several elements of science. Light, physiological changes, behavioral impacts, and various other cycles that are unavoidable all merge to create a biochemical response that we can be governed by. When an ambient master like Steve Roach works to create a sonic exploration of that, the effects can be quite interesting. Mix it with your imagination, and a story (or stories) develop to further enhance the audio experience.
Disc one consists of a single track (in three phases). "Circadian Rhythms" is an ambient exploration of a thousand life cycles, all going on at the same time. It's almost overwhelming. And it's quite brilliant. This alien assault on your senses is effective in its ability to grab you at the tunnel-like opening of your awareness, drawing you into the stereo mix, which is immaculately produced with very expressive sounds spilling out at both speakers, quite distinguishable and very immersive. The 70+ minute track, completely on disc one of the 2-CD set, moves into strange territories with percussive movement, a fast heartbeat, a rhythm of life exploded at the manic level.
Whether slowed to a thought-purifying clarity (as phase three provides) or escalated to nightmarish levels, "Shroud Of Night" encompasses disc two for over 73 minutes. It is a non-breaking float into your ethereal darkness. Once the patterns evoked by the three phases of "Circadian Rhythms" have delivered their narcotized effect, "Shroud of Night" fills your ambient-induced mind with a detached Matrix-like solution (where you lie quite still, open to all of the experiences that are being imagined). It's peaceful when it shouldn't be. And yet you cannot help to give in to the effect of being outside yourself. Eerie in every way, yet healing in a mood-changing way.
Circadian Rhythms is the best in the Immersion series (thus far) in a commanding way. It approaches your life-cycle with adrenaline pumping ambience and takes you on a journey into yourself. To me, this is the mark of great ambient works. They deliver a soundtrack for a million scenarios, all played out in whatever images and locations your twisted psyche can develop. Good ambient music can relax you. But great ambient works like the kind Steve Roach feverishly mass-produces with such excruciating detail can live within you forever. With Circadian Rhythms, you are given an experience you will not get anywhere else.