Life Sequence
by Candi Brammer, Ambient Musings
January 2004

Insightful linear notes state that LIFE SEQUENCE consists of previously unreleased material recorded over a fifteen-year timeline (although the impeccable cohesion and flow would've never had me guess that the pieces were collected from different sources and time periods) and marks a return to Roach's more analog, sequencer-driven roots. That means this work is neither representative of the more longform atmospherics of albums like STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE or MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES, nor the tribal-ambient percussives of ON THIS PLANET or THE SERPENT'S LAIR. Instead it bears more in common with the retro-space music often explored and improvised upon in this era by artists like Redshift and Spacecraft who, along with Roach, were initially influenced by the 70's Berlin-school electronic music of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. Two tracks, "Sundial" and "Sands of Time," are collaborations with electronic musician Paul Ellis.

Laser-like sequencing and clatter ride on a cloud of attenuated cosmic mists, which give electric sparks and currents a harmonic aura. While most of Roach's works have largely defined 'inner' space music for nearly two decades, here the stylistic attributes thrive in more 'outer' space territory. This recording also conveys a more emphatic liveliness and uplifting essence than Roach's comparatively more dark and penetrating soundworlds of notoriety. It manages to utilize melody and rhythm to a minimal effect within the confines of spacemusic.

Experiencing LIFE SEQUENCE can be likened to observing the birth or beginning origins of something grow and evolve on the projection screen of the mind -- condensed into a time frame spanning the seventy-three minute and thirty-nine second duration of this CD. For instance, in attunement with the wellspring of our universe, one may journey through space and time while viewing the gaseous formations of nebulae, galaxies and solar systems occurring at rapid pace.

This album is well suited for listening to day or night, either for zoning-out to, or engaging in physically productive or active chores to. It's a welcome change of pace coming from the master sound sculpture, without abandoning the complex craftsmanship or contemplative edge that typifies Roach's works. Recommended for the mental-space traveler.

Life Sequence

CD out of stock
Life Sequence
Steve Roach
2003 Timeroom Editions 12 (CD)
Reviewed by Ambient Musings, Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, Guts of Darkness, Ping Things, Sonic Curiosity, Star's End, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire, Wind and Wire

A chronicle of new and classic unreleased pure electronic sequencer-driven pieces filled with beauty and emotion. Spiraling melodic sequences, floating majestic textures along with thematic and melodic contributions from guest synthesist Paul Ellis all add up to a set of music that is filled with optimism and passion from start to conclusion.

"Steve has really produced what must be the first CD that mixes sequencers and space-music, but manages to have all the atmosphere of classic cosmic music despite the fact that he uses rhythmic 'devices'. It somehow all blends seamlessly and the one simply adds to the other when, in the hands of so many others, it would be just a mix of two styles at odds with each other. A superb CD and yet another winner, for me the best one so far that combines electronic rhythms as well as the soundscaping." -- Andy Garibaldi, CD Services Scotland

From the liner notes...

LIFE SEQUENCE is a chronicle of new and personally significant unreleased pieces. Since the release of CORE and my recent purely atmospheric projects, I felt the growing urge to re-visit my electronic "roots" in analog sequencer style music. The fact that I had moved away from this sound for awhile made reconnecting with it much like finding an old friend inside myself.

While the pieces presented here were recorded over a fifteen year period, they share a similar feeling: that of embracing life's movement toward the unknown with excitement and anticipation. The first two pieces described below were created during especially significant moments of transition in my own life's sequence.

"Destination Horizon" was originally recorded live for the first Echoes Living Room Concert series in 1989. It was also the last piece created at The Timeroom in Venice, California just before for leaving for a second trip to Australia and returning to a new life in Tucson, Arizona. "Living the Dream" was recorded live in the Tucson Timeroom just before leaving the U.S. for my first European tour in 1991.

"Sands of Time" and "Sundial" are recent collaborations with electronic artist Paul Ellis. These pieces grew out of our live rehearsal sessions for a 2002 Portland concert. His appreciation of this style of music and my earlier work in this direction was an inspiration. The opening track, "Lightness of Being" created in 2003, holds for me an unbroken feeling that is connected to the early impulses that drew me to a form of music I still feel close to my heart.
1. Lightness of BeingMP34:56 
2. Living the DreamMP316:56 
3. SundialMP39:27 
4. Sands of TimeMP315:03 
5. Destination HorizonMP327:12 
-  Sands of Time LiveMP317:55 

3, 4 with Paul Ellis; "Sands of Time Live" is an Internet bonus, not on the CD, recorded live June 29, 2002 in Portland

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