Streams & Currents
by John Diliberto, Tower Pulse!
What happens when an ambient synthesist switches to electric guitar? In the case of Steve Roach, he becomes an ambient guitarist. Roach had been molding sonic atmospheres since the early '80s, moving through electronic space music, techno-tribal didgeridoo primitivism and even a bit of country twang. After his DUST TO DUST album with guitarist Roger King, Roach picked up the instrument himself and used it for the abstract sound design of his MIDNIGHT MOON album. He's developed a better command of the instrument on STREAMS & CURRENTS, but even if he could whip it out like Eddie Van Halen, that isn't Steve Roach's concern. He works the guitar for texture, using e-bow, volume swells and delays to create sounds that arc and flow in wind-blown slow motion. Like sand drifting across the desert, complex and detailed patterns emerge out of seemingly random events. But his isn't an album for meditation, it's another Roach ode to the abyss, an interior space that's more psychological than spiritual.