by John Diliberto, Tower Pulse!
Steve Roach takes another plunge into the primordial slime on EARLY MAN, an album that seems to well up from the dark underbelly of the psyche like the id unleashed. By morphing electronic textures with the tribal percussion of doom that has dominated most of his albums for the last decade, Roach orchestrates a landscape of the abyss. Originally released in 2000 as a limited-edition album packaged in two slabs of gray slate, EARLY MAN represented the antediluvian state of earliest consciousness. This edition features that original CD plus an additional, even murkier remix disc in a more conventional jewel box.
In Roach's world, percussion moves like a slow-motion march, as mutated sounds scrape, moan and shake. More than a dark ambient album, Roach's hallucinogenic sound world harkens back to the electroacoustic abstractions of Karlheinz Stockhausen on "Aus den Sieben Tagen" or "Telemusik," although Roach provides more signposts, like the overlapping rhythms and plaintive guitar arpeggio of the title track. EARLY MAN is a hole ripped in time, immersing you in the deep.