On This Planet
by Mark Burbey, Alternative Press
Returning from the mesmerizing nothingness of THE MAGNIFICENT VOID, dark-ambient master Steve Roach draws from a primordial earth and the ever-evolving nature of his own live show. Nothing prepares you for the primal power of Roach in concert, particularly when you're expecting something resembling his recorded work and he surprises you by blowing out all the circuits. Not a live album but a "studio recording inspired by on-the-edge concert explorations," ON THIS PLANET is a suite of birthing meditations and tribal gatherings, one bleeding seamlessly into the next. "Journey of One" descends from lightning-charged sulphur clouds and hits the ground running, driven by fevered percussion and melting into "The Nexus Place," where the rhythms become more deliberate as the first human crawls ashore. "Trilobite" evokes fresh memories of familiar fossils. The distant pulse of "Cloud Watching With the Toolmaker" sends one afloat down an ancient river on the back of a dreaming lizard. The standout track is easily "Remember It Now," a spellbinding swirl of signature synth and hypnotic rhythms, with Roach and his wife, Linda Kohanov, whispering conundrums about remembering and the inability to forget. A leviathan in a sea of sonic ephemera, ON THIS PLANET is unforgettable.