by Glenn Hammett, The Raging Consciousness Desk
Steve Roach is the James Brown of Electronica; the hardest working man in the music business. Now, with the sad, untimely passing of Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze), Roach is the only artist one expects a monthly CD of quality music from. "Quality" is the key word here, as many artists manage to release recording after recording of rehashed, recycled mixes. The difference lies in Roach's ability to construct each release to differ somewhat. Those hearing MIDNIGHT MOON for the first time may have a tough call at naming the artist - it is unlike any other - unique to anything else.
If comparisons are drawn, however, try to imagine DUST TO DUST vs. THE MAGNIFICENT VOID with a slight hint of A Small Good Thing's classic Slim Westerns thrown in, and you begin to grasp what MIDNIGHT MOON sounds like.
Roach began toying with the idea of using his own guitar work to make this recording during the DUST TO DUST sessions, when Roger King left his guitar at the Timeroom, Roach's high-end recording studio. Late night / early morning sessions began in a totally "from scratch" method as Roach discovered the nuances and sound-worlds he could wring from this "new" contrivance. The result (one Roach swears he'll never examine again) is a brilliantly rendered, delicately balanced journey through the inner-cosmos. Any time slide-guitar is introduced, sonic visions of tumbleweeds, rusty-hinged saloon doors creaking with the wind, and a big sky automatically come to mind. Roach's visualization of MIDNIGHT MOON, however, lies in comparing the sonic landscape to a dark, immeasurable cave. On listening, there is a draw to vacillate between the two – a blend of the vast, endless Other present in THE MAGNIFICENT VOID and the earthy down home-on-the-range depiction of DUST TO DUST. MIDNIGHT MOON makes use of echoed, distant guitar sounds at the center, adding sonorous drones, sweeping waves of texture, and scarcely noticeable extraneous sounds put together in a glowing, creative manner. As is usual for Roach, the sound is remarkable, enveloping the listening room in all its overwhelming omnipresence. It really is startling how impressive Timeroom recordings sound when compared to the industry standard. That said (and this may come as a surprise as I only recently discovered) for the most part, the recordings talked of in this group sound much better than the "million dollar recordings" from artists that Billboard is so smitten with. Give a listen to Kid Rock or Puffy and you will hear, all too well, what I am saying.
On second thought, do not waste your time listening to that garbage. Do your ears a favor, and take my (hard-earned) word for it. Get the new Roach instead.
Another winner brought to you by Projekt.