The Ambient Expanse
by John Diliberto, Tower Pulse!
There is ambient music with techno-beat variations and snatches of melody. Then there is "Ambient" music with canvases of shifting drones, rhythms that pulse slower than an unfolding universe and melodies that are at best, implied.
This is the terrain explored by five fellow travelers on 68 minutes of THE AMBIENT EXPANSE on five pieces that throb and melt in opulent, sub-harmonic immersion.
Synthesist Steve Roach is the producer of the Expanse. His imprint on this style is as profound as that of Jimi Hendrix on the guitar. From the dreamy cycles of his 1984 album, Structures from Silence to last year's ominous THE MAGNIFICENT VOID, Roach has been the Marco Polo of the drone zone.
As the producer and collaborator on all tracks, his influence overwhelms the other artists, whether it's the veteran Patrick O'Hearn or relative newcomers Stephen Bacchus, Vir Unis and Vidna Obmana. Fortunately, that influence also results in the kind of nuanced and detailed soundscapes of which Steve Roach is the master.