by Phyllis Pollack, Valley Scene (San Fernando Valley, California)
FEVER DREAMS is close to 74 minutes of meditative, ambient, multi-layered percussion and bass, wherein each line flaunts its own distinct rhythm, cascading over dreamy, provocative landscapes of tricked-out, penetrating keyboards. The musical journey allures and compels the listener to have an audio experience that is anything but passive.
This is Roach's 54th album, and as always, he manages to enter new auditory frontiers. The bass lines from Patrick O'Hearn, met with Byron Metcalf's commanding percussion, become subliminal, hypnotic, danceable grooves, layered over a carpet of magical keyboards on "Wicked Dreams."
"Fever Pulse" is the second opus on the album, wherein primal meets prescient.
"Tantra Mantra" enters another dimension, with its fancy footwork of layered, up-tempo rhythms, and other-worldy, elusive melody, where sound transcends, evolves and dissolves into harmonic blends of flowing rhythm. Keyboards pierce through a wall of soft rhythmic pulsation in this track, which lasts almost 30 minutes. Cascading rhythms percolate over a series of eclectic, tunneling tonalities, creating an effect that is relaxing, while still energizing, because of the pace of bass and drums.
"Moved Beyond", a relentless and staggering composition, is the final track, and perhaps the best of this album. Sonically mind altering, seductive, and calming, the composition is a musical Valium, a rhythmic sort of Mandrake.
Steve Roach makes music that is an innovative, healing piece of art.