Dreamtime Return, New Life Dreaming, Possible Planet, The Dreamtime Box
DREAMTIME RETURN: This is the 2005 re-mastered edition of Steve's incredible 1988 classic album DREAMTIME RETURN, a hugely ambitious and moving collection of ambient tracks both beatless and rhythmic. There are pieces with electronic beats, hand drumming, rainsticks, electronic woodwind, didgeridoo and Aboriginal vocals. Kevin Braheny brings an incredibly beautiful sound to "The Other Side" with his soaring, elegant, violin-like Steiner EWI, and Robert Rich provides the sounds of gourd drums and dumbek. The album explores both gutsy tribal influences and expansive musical landscapes where sweeping cloudbank synths create the most tranquil of aural environments.
NEW LIFE DREAMING: Akin to smooth, shifting light, delicate concentrations and wavelengths of sound drift beatless and percussion free, as if gazing into a sky of music; as graceful as the most gentle interludes of an orchestral symphony. Byron Metcalf's rhythmic contributions are in the form of a low beat, snuggled way under the surface; easy and comfortable like the pulsing of one's own blood.
POSSIBLE PLANET: Beatless long-form zoneworlds. Odd organic ripples and trickles, somewhat insectile and spluttering, lead into sheets of synthetic tones sweeping slowly across the soundscape, with deeper drones looming below. Wave-like tonalities rise and fall like the calmest of water bodies, breezy movements wafting over the surface. In places dense spacey effects suggest an incumbent event, expectant, emergent. The final piece sees a warm layer burble into place like the arrival of spring, with subtle nuances breathing into life. The previous elements are still there forming a unique space, allowing the central weighty drones to sheet through the sound, softening and intensifying in repeated cycles.
DREAMTIME RETURN: Panoramic, positive and dramatic. A supremely peaceful album that interweaves elements and suggestions of Aboriginal culture with sensitive synthesiser work in a way that highlights all that is good about a shared planet. There are passage here of transcendent ambient floatation, and others where a somewhat brooding tone is complemented by uneasy sonic air currents.
NEW LIFE DREAMING: Bright and optimistic. The music here is attractive and consonant, harmonious, blissfully serene. Silky sonic mists are enhanced by the subtlest of peripherals, at times so slight as to leave the listener wondering if the sounds are actually present or merely suggested by the ingenuity of the mix.
POSSIBLE PLANET: One of unfolding wonder, the sound establishing its own intimate terrain and then absorbing the listener as if by osmosis, drawing the ear in, filling every available space. The sounds here are strongly environmental, suggestive, even anticipatory. Gestation establishes an enormity of lurching vacuum drones, an expanse in which something uncertain is coming into consciousness.
As a set these three albums come packed in a hand painted earth toned box of sturdy card. This assemblage is an appealing object to hold, with Aboriginal art-inspired patterns dotted across the front. Regarding the individual CD's, DREAMTIME RETURN carries an updated version of the original artwork but includes also a number of never-before seen photos from Steve's Australian adventure captured during the making of this recording. NEW LIFE DREAMING features a couple of photographic panoramas where the eye is drawn to open air and cloud formations that harmonise with the sound on the disc. POSSIBLE PLANET is a complete visual contrast: close-up, sparkling, fresh and alive, plant tendrils and pods glisten with water droplets and reflected light. All three albums contain explanatory notes and credits along with relevant contact details.
Since its release back in 1988, the two-CD classic DREAMTIME RETURN has become one of the important, widely known and highly respected ambient albums to date. Today it still sounds amazingly fresh and invigorating. The music is the result of Steve's travels in the Australian outback, along with studies of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, and his desert walkabouts in California. The accompanying CD's NEW LIFE DREAMING and POSSIBLE PLANET are both available separately as Timeroom Editions releases, but come highly recommended as a part of this package due to their conceptual connections with Dreamtime.
WHO WILL LIKE THESE ALBUMS
Anyone wanting to own a piece of ambient history. Anyone appreciative of Steve Roach's colossal stature in the genre. Anyone wanting an introduction to ambient music at its best.