by Andy Garibaldi, CD Services (UK)
Still the new studio albums keep coming, and still the quality level stays right at the top, as the whole of this near two and a half hour album illustrates to perfection. So, how does it differ and what makes it so special? Well, the first disc is the main album, while the second is a sort of reconstruction, or deconstruction, of the first album, but both are space music gems that consist of essentially over seventy minutes as one single organic track. But what makes this one his best for a long, long time is the variety and textures of the electronics and synths that he is using, allied to the fact that he has at last achieved the perfect combination of space music with selected 'rhythmic' passages where the rhythm is entirely in keeping with, and a vital component of, the assorted space synth layers that are occurring all around. Here they're in the form of a descending and ascending motif, a bit similar, but entirely unconnected with, a musical phrase used on an album on my label (CD Services) by Doug Snyder, and a phrase which is just fantastic in either context.
After the opening layers that set the scene, the piece and components develop and cruise through seemingly infinite textures of space synths, textural percussives, heavenly synths, and eventually the arrival of that oh-so subtle cyclical backdrop. They provide a soundscape over the entire changing length of the track that is truly wondrous, a sea of sounds that genuinely make up his finest album for ages, despite the fact that the last few have all been immaculate.
But this is something out of this world altogether. The sheer breadth of the sounds and textures on offer is unreal, and it is the fact that things are always changing, always developing, always progressing towards some far-off point that make this such a superb album. If that wasn't enough, the second CD takes an altogether purer space music approach, with a reduced variety of textures, but more synth layers and the sort of album that in Roach's world, becomes a thing of unbelievable beauty and purity. But finally, the crowning glory on both albums is the human factor. The warmth, the atmosphere, the sense of real feeling as a work is carefully crafted with love and affection. Quite superb.