by Chuck Van Zyl, Star's End
May 17, 2002
The circle, ripe with cosmic associations, is a most mysterious object. Often representing infinity, the line of a circle does not begin nor does it really ever end – a seemingly endless sequence of events. It is this perplexing concept that Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana are consumed with in their musical collaborations. The dark soundscapes that are brought forth on the album INNERZONE are the result of loops; cycles of sounds layered in and out of phase that mature into spheres of pensive ambience. Throughout the album, the duo conjure up drifting soundworlds that absorb the listener into the flow. But the cyclical nature of this conceptualization is most easily noticed when the musical current picks up and the beats emerge. The ring of rhythms repeat their rapid curcuits, surfacing out of the aural fog, breathe, then back down below. Along with the prevailing synthesized sounds, INNERZONE features an array of unconventional acoustic sources; distorted, shifted, delayed and otherwise processed – almost beyond recognition. These accents add an exotic flair to the album's uniform sonic circulations. As in other forms of minimalism, this realization offers little in the way of melody to focus on. Instead, it asks the listener to go beyond this convention and into the pulse, timbre and spirit of the music – to discover their own INNERZONE experience.