Analog Haven
by Peter Grenader
August 2005

Steve Roach has released POSSIBLE PLANET, his first all-analog release in an age. I just finished listening to it; highly recommended.

I had an opportunity to hear some this project a few months ago at my home with Steve and long-time bud of his, Loren Nerell of [synth store] Analogue Haven and I was endlessly impressed then, as I was again today, with Roach's programming chops. I think anyone who has laid a hand on analog equipment has quickly come to realize how much more challenging good sound can be over that so instantly available on samplers or digital emulators. Anyone that is, accept Steve. For most of this record it's virtually impossible to pick off a single oscillator or filter sweep. Instead, Steve's pallet comes right out of the earth: a series of fascinatingly complex, highly intelligent and organized textures.

No need to mention his compositional skills, which have always been exemplary. I'm pretty sure this would hold true if he did a project built from nothing but rubber band twangs. Steve's got a gift and it shows on anything he lays his mind to.

And for you analog heads out there... not only is this work entirely analog, but done entirely on modular equipment: namely Analogue Systems, Doepfer, Blacet and being proudly boastful, Plan B instruments. We all received a nice credit of his appreciation in the copy. Thanks, Mr. Roach.

Anyway, pick this CD up. It's available on his site now and well worth the effort.

Possible Planet

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $10.00 
Box Set out of stock
Possible Planet
Steve Roach
2005 Timeroom Editions 16 (CD)
Reviewed by Mark Morton, Peter Grenader, Frank MacEowen, CD Services (UK), Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, Morpheus Music, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion

This pivotal new long-form soundworld work pulls back the layers and increases the magnification to reveal a truly organic, analog-based core sound at a level not heard before in Steve's music. The metaphor of emerging lifeforms on a possible planet sets the mood for the three movements presented as a continuous immersive zone. "Wet", "shimmering", "cellular" and "diaphanous" are some words that could describe this living-breathing soundscape.

"While this long from zoneworld was created between December 2004 and May 2005, it developed into a pivotal new release for me. It's also included in The Dreamtime Box because it represents a parallel in some ways to "Looking For Safety" from DREAMTIME RETURN. As an artist if you live long enough to draw a line back in time, the recurring themes can link up to create an interesting graph of stylistic confluence. These two pieces, POSSIBLE PLANET and "Looking For Safety" (recorded in 1986) are at similar points on that graph, with many years in-between them and created in very different circumstances, but still sharing the same air. "During my 'analog rebirth' (see below) this desire started emerging to create a kind of soundscape environment which portrayed an undefined life form as it's just starting to emerge from the primordial soup on some distant planet. The sounds were forming in my imagination and were brought to life as you hear them across three movements. This set the mood for the idea of expressing the emerging, evolving sense of consciousness coming into form."

The Process... "I have always had a visceral connection to the instruments which I choose to channel my energies. Sonically POSSIBLE PLANET is the result of an analog rebirth that started for me last Fall. A series of events created a craving obsession in my imagination and within my ears to hear and create from pure means, not digital to analog converted or virtual analog, frozen waveforms or soft-synths. I wanted to feel the current coming right out of the wall, and shape it from that point forward. POSSIBLE PLANET was created completely on a modular analog system which I assembled over a five-month period. As the sonic life form was evolving, the system that was creating it was evolving as well, in order for the changes to occur. This was also a great metaphor for the themes of the emerging cellular life forms I was dreaming into. "In order to remove the reliable and familiar modes of working, I eliminated a few basics: no MIDI, keyboards of any kind, or computers for composition and editing. It was all about twisting knobs, feeling it in my fingertips and coaxing the current into the desired direction. POSSIBLE PLANET was recorded during three live sessions. Each session would start after several days of creating and learning the nuances of a 'living' patch I had created, from which the soundforms were drawn."
1. First MurmerMP316:01 
2. GestationMP331:26 
3. Cell MemoryMP325:52 

The three movements form a continuous flow. Also available as part of THE DREAMTIME BOX.

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