by Ben Kettlewell, Alternate Music Press
Steve Roach never ceases to amaze me. He continually produces innovative cutting edge music, and while it seems impossible for an artist with such a large body of work, each new album shines brighter than the last. Although the challange of taking such hard to classify music to the next level is daunting, Roach delivers with grace and poise. I think it will be tough to top this one.
Hot on the heels of Steve's new DVD release reviewed elsewhere in Alternate Music Press, TIME OF THE EARTH with cinematographer Steve Lazur, Steve's new solo album CORE finds Steve digging deep into his musical roots, and drawing out some of the best musical ideas he has ever recorded from this deep well of ideas. Within the structures of CORE, Steve offers the listener many layers of beautiful analog pads, with gurgling sequences melding together reminiscent of his early works EMPETUS, and STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE. Not only does Steve recall the immediacy and vibrancy of those early works, but there are hints of his more atmospheric desert worlds in there as well.
If I could sum up the album in one word, it would be "powerful"! This is powerful music, and if you're not in a place where you can really crank up the volume without disturbing the neighbors, then you must experience it with headphones. With the volume cranked, the music comes alive. You can feel your walls resounding with those deep percusive structures, and those powerful ominous pads which penetrate the senses spiraling deep into the core of your being.
With this new release, Roach revives the stylish opulence, nostalgic grandeur, and poetic refinement of his sequencer-based electronic music of the seventies and eighties, but it trancends in it's refinement much deeper than that. Rhythmically activated, and spatially charged, CORE is a seductively original work of art. Richly textured with imaginative sounds, samples and dynamics from crunchingly intense rhythms to ethereal images of early works like STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE and WESTERN SPACES, Roach continues to tear down the style barriers with this eclectic masterpiece. "Core Meditation" as well as the other eleven compositions on CORE fuse elements of shamanic ritual, electronic, experimental, and ethno-ambient into an engaging ecstatic matrix.
This deeply reflective, highly evocative music weaves its own kind of universal magic, touching even the casual listener deeply in it's own mysterious way. Roach is a master at navigating the technical and rhythmic complexities of such unhurried and freeflowing excursions, and mature enough to make those technical accomplishments subservient to musical ones.
This album confirms Steve Roach as a master at creating gorgeous and lyrical soundscapes. The whole album flows together seamlessly. Highly recommended.