Dust to Dust
by Jeff Berkwits, Illinois Entertainer
July 1998


The rolling tumbleweeds, barren landscape, and hardscrabble lifestyle of the Old West have inspired thousands of melodies over the past 100 years, from timeworn washboard ditties to contemporary compositions like Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western scores. Venerable ambient artist Steve Roach has taken an innovative approach to this age-old motif, teaming with guitarist Roger King to devise a truly original aural interpretation of the wild, wild West.

The nine haunting tunes, which combine guitars and electronic processing with harmonicas, percussion, and various other noisemakers, evoke powerful images of dilapidated homesteads, foreboding conditions, and most importantly, a diehard pioneer spirit. "Gone West" is a soft, echoing tune that opens the disc in a spectral manner, offering an attractive-yet-dolorous dirge for the region's long-dead settlers. Other standout cuts include "A Bigger Sky," with its ghostly chants and hypnotic melody, and "Rain And Creosote," an atmospheric creation that mixes reverberant riffs with the eerie effects of a desert deluge.

The Arizona-based Roach and longtime Tucson resident King have clearly allowed the sounds of the Southwest to seep into their souls. The duo's appreciation for their historic surroundings imbues the songs with authenticity and substance. DUST TO DUST is remarkably intellectual and undeniably intriguing.



Dust to Dust

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CD  $15.00 
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Dust to Dust
Steve Roach, Roger King
1998 Projekt PRO79 (CD)
Reviewed by Brett Neely, John Pemble, AmbiEntrance, Alternative Press, CounterPunch, Illinois Entertainer, Muze

Western Music in the truest sense. It is a bold step in a new direction: Where sounds paint pictures with a range of colors drawn from the land, where stories are told with the instruments of old and new pioneers. Guitars, harmonicas and washboard rhythms find their place next to a wagon full of electronics. This is the music, and even more the soundtrack, to the lingering ghosts and the lost and not-so-forgotten dreams of the restless souls driven to "Go West by God!" The story shifts between the present and the recent past when a dust trail was the only road west. The rails were freshly laid, still wet with sweat and blood. For better or worse, hopes and dreams turned real in the vast southwestern deserts, becoming a metaphor for a clean slate and a better life.

"DUST TO DUST has the mystery and allure of 150 year old photographs of strangers whose eyes and stoic faces suggest a thousand untold stories." -- (Mark Burby, AP magazine)
 
1. Gone WestRealAudioMP37:27 
2. A Daze WageRealAudioMP36:13 
3. A Bigger SkyMP33:19 
4. The Ribbon Rails of PromiseMP315:05 
5. First SunriseMP34:27 
6. Lost and ForgottenMP310:44 
7. Snake EyesMP35:35 
8. Rain and CreosoteRealAudioMP35:02 
9. Ghost TrainRealAudioMP37:21 



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