( about the music )
( review notes )
( about the artists )

A B O U T   T H E   M U S I C

    I don't claim to be a visionary, but for years I've been predicting the imminent arrival of a "spacejazz" movement among the more accomplished spacemusic artists.

    This music wouldn't sound anything like jazz, but would share some of its musical tactics and recording strategy, like working quickly with lots of improvisation, and a fairly simple production process. But in place of the documentary recording style of jazz, spacejazz would paint freely and creatively with the imagery, electronic studio tools, and advanced sound design of spacemusic.

    Forgotten Gods, though not the first, is a sterling example of this genre -- a natural and fortuitous meeting of three talented musical psychonauts at exactly the right moment in their respective careers.

     Each member of SUSPENDED MEMORIES has dug up the roots of his cultural inheritance, seeking the shadowed origins of the musical experience on the path to discovering a valid ritual music for today. Each has recognized the necessity of creating a super-charged ambiance that transports both musicians and listeners to a plane of psychological intensity that cannot be achieved simply by bombast or by volume.

    National music writer Linda Kohanov was on hand to witness their charmed early meetings, as well as the extraordinary fluidity of the recording process (she also happens to be Mrs. Steve Roach) which she describes in the liner notes.

    With its rich blend of elemental rhythms, mutated voicings and expanded fourth world tribal spaces, Forgotten Gods succeeds admirably in the quest for an improvised spacemusic. Like jazz, you can listen to each of the players and consider their moment-to-moment artistic choices. Like avant-garde work it achieves something wholly new, yet it also manages to satisfy the tonal, rhythmic and textural demands common in other forms of polar music. That's not bad for starters, but under the surface lie the powerful stirrings of an authentic ritual music for a secular age.

    Empty your mind, turn down the lights, turn up the volume. Listen for an hour and I think you'll agree that FORGOTTEN GODS hits the mark with a resounding bang, shake, rattle, and drone.

- Stephen Hill

R E V I E W   N O T E S

different deserts [12:20] Meeting together on common ground with the shared desire to corroborate the latent power of music in the moment. Sampled and acoustic percussion, synths, sampled voice and guitar set the course across the great expanse.

snake song [5:44] A trance dance of power under a crimson sky. The old shaman dances with snakes firmly gripped in each fist. Electronic percussion, clay water pots, seedpod shakers, synth and guitar encircle spirit singing and prehspanic flutes.

night devotion [8:51] For those of the ncocturnal clan, the further into the night, the deeper into the devotion. A fluid, mercurial brew of guitar loops and synth textures support a clay pot rhythm that emerges for the night journey.

saguaro [5:23] Noble guardians of the eternal landscape, sentinels of the roaring silence -- the towering cactus of the southwestern desert. Distant percussion, flutes, whistles, ocarinas mix in a heatwave of guitar loops and synths.

mutual tribes [7:06] The ritual continues. Electro-acoustic trance drums and percussion, mutated flute, voice, didgeridoo and synth textures amplify the hallucinations. Segues to...

suspended memories, forgotten gods [5:01] The broken icon of the past is pieced together, casting a reflection into the future. Chords of question, existential guitar, and the rustling of moth cocoon shakers...

ritual noise [3:48] The drum is always beating like the heart, keeping a steady focus at the peak of the ceremony. Perhispanic flutes, ocarnas, ritual drum and ghost synths convene.

distant look [7:39] From the hill at spiral rock, we see far and then farther and then beyond. Expansive guitars, synths, flute and percussion.  

shaman's dream [6:07] Return to shadow world of night visions, the one of half-formed dreams and fantastic creatures whispering in your ear. Rubbed stones, prehispanic flutes, percussion and voice drift on a mystic chord to the edge of forever.

- Review notes by Steve Roach

A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T S

STEVE ROACH has earned his position in the international pantheon of major new music artists over the last decade through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, open-minded artistic collaborations, and the psychological depth of his music.

He has recorded neary 20 albums since 1981, including Structures from Silence, the classic Dreamtime Return, Australia: Sound of the Earth, and World's Edge. Roach's collaborations with Robert Rich have generated international acclaim with the releases Strata and Soma, both on Hearts of Space.

From his base in Tucson, Arizona, Roach travels worldwide to present his music in concert, where he combines ancient and modern instruments in an atmosphere of ritualistic intensity.

His longstanding influences are not strictly musical. Roach receives much inspiration from regions in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, and the effect of his extensive travels in Australia and collaborations with aboriginal didgeridoo master David Hudson continue to weave their way into the fabric of his music, blurring the lines between the modern and the ancestral.

JORGE REYES, enigmatic Mexican multi-instrumentalist, draws from the diverse culture and history of his homeland as well as international travels through Turkey, Iran, India, Afganistan, and Pakistan, and time spent living and studying music in Hamburg, Germany.

Since the early '80s, Reyes has been developing his musical concept of blending indigenous Mexican and world music elements with modern technology. He has been steadily building a strong following in Mexico and abroad with his compelling concert performances and numerous recordings, including the haunting Comala, Niérika, and his master work, Bajo El Sol Jaguar.

The Mexico City-based artist performs consistently for thousands of people throughout his country, often in the dramatic settings of Aztec and Mayan ruins. Combining pre-hispanic instruments, percussion ranging from clay water pots and snake rattles to his own body, guitar and synthesizers, Reyes evokes images of jungles, jaguars, and Aztec rites. With all his titles available only as imports for years, Forgotten Gods marks Reyes debut release in the United States.

SUSO SAIZ is a Madrid-based composer with an intense, restless, and probing spirit. His passionate approach to life and music are demonstrated in his vast and eclectic list of credits.

Beginning with studies of guitar at the Madrid Conservatory of Music, he went on to form numerous performing and recording groups, including Orquesta de Las Nubes (Orchestra of the Clouds) in 1980, an important Spanish group known for its innovative musical experiments.

Saiz is also a highly respected and sought after producer in the Spanish music arena, with projects ranging across jazz, pop, world, avant-garde, and new music. As a composer and performer, his solo work is a stunning culmination of influences and production techniques which deliver music defying categorization. He explores multi-cultural trance rhythms and the psychology of ambience while transforming the quintessentially Spanish instrument, the guitar, into a vehicle for electronic flight.

Saiz's outstanding 1991 Spanish release, Simbolos, presents his textural, expansive guitar sound in an ever-changing, surreal world of cinematic proportion. Staying true to his music-as-art philosophy, Saiz has released a handful of limited edition works including Hypnotics, a CD of intense sound sculptures created from processed multitrack guitars and shortwave radio cuttings, revealing yet another side to a complex and multitalented musician.

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