by Mark Teppo, Ear Pollution
Steve Roach has been doing ambient and fourth world dreamscapes for so long now that to say is music has a timeless quality is almost meaningless. It would be better to say that they have a permanence in our subconsciousness, a constant residence in a place beneath and beyond time that stretches out before us in an unbroken wave to the infinity. This wave is easy to ride: you slip in a disc, close your eyes, breath more simply, and let yourself be moved. With MIDNIGHT MOON, Roach has crafted soundscapes that are so transformative that, like the ocean's riptide, you are pulled in without warning and taken far out along the wave.
Roach has traditionally used synths as the foundation for his sonic creations and, with MIDNIGHT MOON, we find him exploring the sonic possibilities of the guitar. In the late hours after the sessions which gave us DUST TO DUST (a fantastic collaboration with guitarist Roger King), Roach would find himself drawn to these stringed instruments. This same sense of discovery translates to the dark undertone of the songs, a journey of illumination through dark caverns with distant specks of gleaming lichens and pools of still black water. There isn't the same sense of oppressive isolation that you would expect with Final or Lull, but there is still a sense that you are far from civilization and the closest you might get to contact with another living creature would be the unblinking eyes that stare out at you from the inky gloom cast up around you. A truly meditative experience, MIDNIGHT MOON finds Steve Roach journeying to sonic terrain as yet unexplored, melding his unique vision of sonic landscapes with the unearthly lament and tonality that can be drawn from the guitar. This is the quiet emptiness between the notes of the spaghetti western theme music – the distant desolate spaces with the full moon hung low.