Possible Planet
by Andy Garibaldi, CD Services (UK)
April 2006

It will come as no surprise to many of you to find out that this is a 73-minute, three-track album of space synth music. What might surprise you is that he's found yet another new way of playing and arranging it, so that no matter how much of his music you've heard in the past, you're hooked to this from the moment it starts. The opening sixteen minute "First Murmur" is slowly swirling, unfolding cosmic music in slow motion, accompanied by a backdrop that sounds like synthesized cicadas as the twittering sounds echo and rotate out the back of the foreground electronic drifts, all created on purely analogue synths. This track segues directly into the 31-minute might that is "Gestation", here carrying on the feel and sonic palette of before only becoming ever darker, as, slowly, more textures are added to the ensuing cosmic drift. This huge, shifting mass of immense deep, dark space synth music drifts and drones to mesmerizing effect for the duration of the track and is one of the best darkwave cosmic music tracks he's produced to date. Without a break, it's into the 25-minute "Cell Memory" and here the darkness lifts as brighter synth textures and layers swirl all around the mix, backed by more of the backdrop twitterings, but a whole lot lighter than before as the synths slide and glide in slowly cosmic fashion. Around the six-minute mark, the track opens up into this pulsing mass of gloriously analogue synth heaven that then spreads out all over the expanse to fantastic effect as this swirling mass of cosmic bliss unfolds then takes you on a journey to the 22nd minute whereupon the swirl fades, the analogue heaven remains and things slowly fade to a cosmic conclusion. All in all, yet another new and refreshing take on synthesizer space music from, arguably, the supreme master of the genre.

Possible Planet

magnify magnify
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.

Steve Roach News Music Discography Live Press Reviews Store Links Bio Contact