by Hannah M.G. Shapero, Eclectic Earwig Reviews
June 9, 2002
This album, produced by Colorado-based Kelly David and mixed by Steve Roach, opens with an ear-catching explosion of electronic special effects. From there it takes off on an ambient ride that goes from driving engine and drum rhythms all the way to dark spacey drift. BROKEN VOYAGE uses the familiar sounds that we know from Steve Roach-inspired albums: exotic percussion, electronic loops, environmental sounds like crickets, rain, and thunder, and long sustained synthesizer notes and chords.
Though the Roach influence is strongly evident, David asserts a somewhat different sound, less melodic and more abstract. David evokes other places than the now-familiar Western desert; there are passages of what sound like Pacific Island "tiki" music, or even ironic "lounge" rhythms, as well as a Hendrix-like wailin' guitar interlude (played by Michael Brugman) on the edgy track 5, "Cargo Cult." David's pacing is excellent; he moves from hard rhythm to chilled drift, then back again, with professional ease, never letting anything go on for too long. Even in his longest track, the 22-minute "Shadow Side" (track 3) he keeps the listener's attention with riveting railroad rhythms and dark abyssal industrial sound-colors. All of these are wrapped in the trademark vast smooth space of Roach's digital reverb.
Steve Roach, now in the prime of his career, has inspired what I would call the "school of Steve Roach", a generation of techno-ambient composers using the Roach style to do works of their own. Some of these are unoriginal imitators. Others, who have worked directly with Roach, such as Biff Johnson, have taken this style in their own direction and found voices of their own. Kelly David is one of the latter; David is a music veteran who has taken up Roach's techno-ambient genre in mid-stream. He has proven, in this album, to be one of the school's star graduates.