Truth & Beauty
Steve Roach said at the time of the first LOST PIECES that there would be a second volume of such music intended for release sometime in the future, so sure enough volume two has been released and features some previously unheard pieces and some music that has appeared on various compilations over the past few years.
"Aftermath" which featured on the Spanish version of STORMWARNING, starts off the album in a rather sombre frame of mind, recalling images of a desolate and bleak landscape after a storm has subsided, a melancholic piece of synthesizer imagery. "The Majestic Void" is next and is taken from the 1994 KLEM sampler. This is a lightly rhythmic track that features a sustained drum sequence that provides a subtle but powerful feeling for the music to weave it's magic.
The next three tracks were recorded around the time of the Suspended Memories album EARTH ISLAND, the first of these being "Fall of the Moai" which is a percussive piece that more or less acts as a bridging section for what is to come. "Earthman" features the guitar work of Suso Saiz who seems to be able to make his guitar weep, such is the emotion conveyed, all this while Steve backs him with the tribal feel of his synths. Suso Saiz features again on "Fate Awaits", a slower piece that really pulls out all the stops when it comes to creating an emotional response, and delivers it in around four minutes – absolutely gorgeous. ARTIFACTS was listed as one of my all time top favourite albums in the last issue of Sequences, and "Beyond the Blood" comes from that era with the addition of tribal vocals from 1998. Why was it not included? It is a corker of a track, with sublime shamanastic chanting that pulls you into its clutches, deep and unforgiving.
"Before the Sacrifice" has featured twice on compilations before, once on the German label Timebase, and once on this magazine's included CD (see Sequences 17 Steve Roach, interview). A haunting distant vocal, featuring a light tribal hypnotic rhythm, the music shifts back and forth creating a feeling of uneasiness (perhaps this track should have been before "Beyond the Blood"....?!) "The Unreachable Place (Again)" comes from the period of Steve's groundbreaking album DREAMTIME RETURN, the unreaching becomes the reached, a piece that conveys real emotion and feeling. The last two tracks "The Unbroken Promise" and "This and the Other" are tracks that recall what Steve has achieved in a similar style on THE AMBIENT EXPANSE, floating synthesizer textures that release primeval deep emotions within the listener.
All in all, TRUTH AND BEAUTY comes over as a set of pieces that have been recorded over differing timespans, but remarkably work together as a whole. A rewarding listen.