by Matthew Rowe, MusicTAP
October 26, 2002
Steve Roach terraforms his soundworlds and populates them with extraordinary life forms. Whether those life forms are microbial, extraterrestrial, or dimensional, whether they are clothed in malevolence or passing in this kaleidoscope of sound, they remain darkly ambient.
Steve Roach starts us out on our journey with an outer peripheral flyby of the world that he is introducing to us, and flows into an actual placement of our fertile imaginations onto the very ground of his creation. Once we're there, we look, with interest, at the inhabitants of this multi-tiered alien place. Our interest is soon replaced by fear as our passings become darker and more intimate with the shadows of our psyche. This is, after all, the crux of this work, an exploration of our dreams, an examination of our spiritual barometer.
This assembly of intricate meditative sound pieces pays homage to many of the forerunners of ambient music. There are nods to Tangerine Dream, the standout poppa of this genre. Like "Sorcerer", "Stratosfear", and other TD classics, Roach's music dissects and walks through the viscera of humanity and it's thoughts, revealing and expounding on what is brought to the surface.
Like German composer Michael Hoenig, whose DEPARTURE FROM THE NORTHERN WASTELAND stood alone in its time, Steve Roach's many works are above that of his peers. It's not that his peers are less elegant in their own creative machinations, it's that Steve Roach explores more miles of imagination than any other artist.
The twelve works on this disc represent the understanding of human nature, its belief patterns, its meanderings along dark paths, unattended, and with every emotion of fear and loneliness pressed to the glass of the soul. Roach's works are also light sources, illuminating the treacherous walkways of our inner selves. Highly meditative and deeply immersive, every piece on this disc is a blazing sun.
CORE is a beautiful journey. It's music is soothing at times but induces fear at junctures in its progression. It requires letting go and allowing yourself to be dropped into the core of its heart. You always come out the other side, unscathed and challenged but spiritually richer for your travel.
What can be said about the production of this disc that isn't already understood about a Steve Roach set? The mixes are sonic masterpieces, expertly marching its musical force through two channels and delivering the full force of its import on output. A tonal masterwork.
A four page fold with art by Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman. The art sets the tone for the music inside, complementing and enhancing by reference. This is always an evocative hallmark of a Steve Roach work.
THE FINAL SAY
CORE is another great ambient treat from the inner mind of Steve Roach. You cannot help from being affected by his tone travels as they carry you along its textured routes. If you have a collection of Roach material, this is an incredible addition. If not, this is a great starter.