by Mark Burbey, Alternative Press
Sonic synergy illuminates the dark desert of a tribal terrain.
European audiences have always been ahead of the curve in their appreciation of electronic music. So it's no surprise that, while touring Europe in 1993, Steve Roach was spurred into an instant collaboration with German synthesist, Elmar Schulte. Like some would exchange ideas over a beer at a bistro, Roach and Schulte made haste to a recording studio and let their music do the talking.
Roach teamed with Schulte (under the name Solitaire) at a time when he was producing astonishing solo albums like WORLD'S EDGE, ORIGINS, and ARTIFACTS, and mesmerizing hybrids in collaboration with Robert Rich, Jorge Reyes and Suso Saiz. Roach's music is unstoppable in its evolutionary development and remains forever fresh and vital, but RITUAL GROUND represents that period in time when tribal elements became a gripping quotient in the ambient equation. The rhythmic power of tribal music and the warm chill of deep space music combine here to access spiritual caverns with sublime emotional resonance.
In its original release from the now-defunct Silent Records, the album was easily missed, due to the fact that neither artist's name appeared anywhere on the outer packaging. But enjoy it now, like the unearthed masterpiece that it is.