Dust to Dust
by Phyllis Pollack, CounterPunch
December 24, 2005
Steve Roach is among a breed of innovative, iconoclast and unrestrained experimental musicians who create untrodden depths within exquisitely constructed musical horizons. Among Roach's collaborations, he has recorded with Tibetan monk Thupten Pema Lama, intertwining solo chants and ambient music. The disc he produced for the African group Takadja received a Juno Award, Canada's equivalent of the States' Grammys. His music has been used in the soundtracks of numerous feature films. This CD's standout track, "Gone West," is what the Roach and King describe as "the soundtrack to lingering ghosts, to the lost and not-so-forgotten dreams of restless souls who were driven to "Go West, by God." On DUST TO DUST, the white lines on this musical highway are punctuated by Roach's harmonicas, electronic instruments and processing, bass, and alcohol bottles. King, riding shotgun, paves the road with guitar, bass, washboard, percussion and an occasional vocal. "Gone West" is the beckoning road trip you went on that ended too soon, the souvenir you picked up that always makes you long to return. DUST TO DUST is incandescent and alluring, as trance becomes transfixing, with its multi-layered cactus and granite-filled layers of sound. The track "A Bigger Sky" is a tricked-out brooding work that becomes a sonic seduction. With haunting and beautiful tracks like "Ghost Train," it is no wonder that the dearly departed would venture to come back for just one more listen. These two musicians from Tuscon, Arizona have recorded a transcendent musical masterpiece, an alluring, provocative soundtrack to the story of how the West was won.