by Phil Derby, Synth Music Direct
Dramatic and ominous, "Verucchio Invocation" starts LIVE ARCHIVE in stirring fashion. Silent, save for the occasional pulse and shaker in the far-off distance, the music rumbles to life amidst didgeridoo, rainsticks, drones, and thunder. The ingredients swirl together into a rich whirlpool of sound. Throughout, the music is blended seamlessly from various concert recordings. It is impossible to tell, for example, that this opening track is actually from venues in three different countries. One must listen carefully, or watch the track index, to know when "Common Ground" begins. A bright metallic synth loop floats over very hypnotic tribal drumming to great effect. The intensity builds, chants are introduced, and then it all falls off into dreamy atmospherics.
"Two Reptiles" is a signature Steve Roach piece, quite reminiscent of his DREAMTIME RETURN CD. Layered organic sounds and slow bleats join together in a relaxed but very primal mode. "Dreampipe Dialogue" is an effective, brief bridging piece to the appropriately named "Soundworld Collage". The entire disc is filled with sound effects that seem to echo into eternity, but that feeling is particularly pronounced here. A startlingly intense burst of rapid, unusual percussion asserts itself about two-thirds through. Certain sounds seem to mimic animals deep in a rain forest. LIVE ARCHIVE is rich with world-music elements, but the disc pauses to breathe through "Ascension", a very calm, tranquil selection.
There is a feeling of familiarity to many of the pieces, no doubt derived or inspired at least partially from Roach and Obmana's previous works, yet the arrangements seem fresh and vibrant. Another successful entry in the growing Roach / Obmana catalog of textural sonic tapestries.