by Forrestter Cobalt, SuperSphere
Steve Roach, like label-mate and occasional music partner Vidna Obmana, excels in creating slowly moving ambient drone classics. Ironically, sometimes it's almost difficult to differentiate between albums outside of cover art, making it equally difficult to pin-point both what might be considered a "classic" Steve Roach release, or even which ones are better than others. What I'm trying to say is that I like every Steve Roach album I own, which is a good thing – what's the point of owning a record you don't like? But that's not my point. The point is that there is something gentle, soothing, and deeply spiritual about every Steve Roach release. It's just that each album takes on different hues, if you will. Sometimes you get didgeridoos, sometimes you get E-bows, sometimes you get highly rhythmic trance-inducing meditations. Depending on what sort of ambience you're looking for, Steve Roach has probably already fashioned an album or two of it, whether it's something like what he calls "Desert-Ambient" (one of my particular favorite conceptual styles), "Tribal-Ambient", or just "Atmospheric Space" (the heading MIDNIGHT MOON falls under). MIDNIGHT MOON is definitely an atmospheric space. Composed mostly with deep, rich waves of drones, pitch-bending bass vibrations, and high octave washes of guitar strings cycling throughout, embodies emptiness, darkness, and sometimes a strong sense of isolation. Moments bring to mind Biosphere's classic Substrata or Fripp and Eno's Evening Star, yet this remains uniquely Roach – never getting below freezing, and never reaching a boiling point. This is an album to listen to while laid out on the frozen earth, looking up at the stars. Or even better, an album for a laser light show in a planetarium.