Streams & Currents
by David J Opdyke, AmbiEntrance
February 10, 2002
From Steve Roach's STREAMS & CURRENTS expect both the fluidity and electricity evoked by its title. As in 2000's MIDNIGHT MOON
, the airwaves thrum with radiant guitar-sourced drones, rendered in Roach's own improvisational mode of spontaneous play.
The skywardly ranging tracks were created "in the deep hours of night", without overdubs or post-processing, as evidenced by the live loops of present moment which swirl at various heights, shimmery skeins sparkling against deeper rumblings. Muffled drumbeats shuffle-step beneath the metallic gauze which opens spirit moves (28:18); the rhythm soon vanishes leaving the air filled with tonal puffs and gusts while warm rivulets ooze below.
Similarly abstract evolutions occur in following 15- and 14-minute-long pieces, slow rising and almost touching, the latter seeming especially ephemeral though more overcast. The disc closes on a pair of shorter tracks, the quietly roiling fogbank of ebb and its partner in vague beauty, flow (4:00).
Steve Roach releases something remarkably akin to (yet different from) his renowned audiovisions of wide-open western spaces, reaching those sprawled-out vistas via another mode of transportation. You can float for miles and miles on streams and currents of guitarsound with nary a riff or power chord to be heard... only the deceptively simple billowings of six-string-borne gaseousness. I'm moved...
|Streams & Currents|
2001 Projekt PRO128 (CD)
Reviewed by Alternate Music Press, Alternative Press, amazon.com, Ambient Visions, AmbiEntrance, EMR Electronic Music Reviews, Ink 19, New Times L.A., Sonic Curiosity, StarVox, Tower Pulse!, Tower Records epulse
STREAMS & CURRENTS creates a sanctuary that is rarely found in today's music. The perfect atmosphere for contemplation and dreaming with eyes open, imbued with an ephemeral quality that seems to linger at the edge of conscious perception, creating an introspective, enveloping flow of mood-altering pieces. The album progresses into deeper, darker, warmer, and quieter zones, towards a beautiful submerged ending.
Do not expect jangly chords or ripping riffs, however, for Roach has filtered this guitarwork through a series of sound processors, rendering the strings into languid soundscapes that undulate timelessly through the air. These delicate tonalities drift like somber dust motes on aerial currents, guided into elongated harmonies by Roach's masterful ability to derive structure from sounds that teeter on the brink of silence.
For all its passive qualities, this music possesses an undercurrent of vitality. These calming aural moods are dense with seemingly endless textures and soothing drones, but their softness is subtly alive with a subdued agitation accountable to their guitar origins. While "pure" electronics display an unearthly resonance, in Roach's expert hands the guitar proves itself to be just as capable of filling the air with ethereal sound.
Where others may be satisfied to compile passages of raw scrapings and dreamy strumming, Roach treats the output of his guitars like an assortment of airborne mists, guiding these sonic vapors into introspective currents whose elegant contortions smoothly traverse space and time to generate a timeless zone of infinite expanse.
For the CD's epic piece, "Spirit Moves", a mantra beat has been added to the haunting strains, delivering the composition from higher atmospherics into realms that exhibit more humanity and substance. This quasi-tribal percussive presence is utilized only for the beginning of this 28 minute track, allowing moodiness to resume control of the patient flow.
Matt Howarth — Sonic Curiosity
|1. ||Present Moment|| ||7:52|| |
|2. ||Spirit Moves||MP3||28:37|| |
|3. ||Slow Rising|| ||14:38|| |
|4. ||Almost Touching||MP3||13:56|| |
|5. ||Ebb|| ||4:52|| |
|6. ||Flow|| ||4:00|| |