by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
Steve continues to rediscover the fun of analog modular synthesizers on PROOF POSITIVE. "Westwind" gets the disc up and running quickly and stays that way for about half of its 22 minutes. The brisk sequencing calls STORMWARNING to mind, albeit in a somewhat mellower fashion despite the speed. By the twelfth minute the sequencing has faded away and we drift dreamily along to the end. Perhaps the biggest surprise is "Living the Pulse," which sounds eerily similar to some of Klaus Schulze's output in recent years. I half expected an operatic vocal sample to appear (well, not really). There is a jazz flavor to it, and though the rhythm and the sounds used are clearly Steve's, it is yet another style to add to his already stocked sonic arsenal. It crossfades into "Essential Occurrence," which serves as a reminder that when Steve uses a sequencer it doesn't sound retro, it sounds fresh and new. Yes, I have heard Berlin school bands with a sequencer loop similar to the one featured here, but not quite, and not with the subtle ambient textures surrounding it. "Adreno Stream" starts soft but soon takes off in similar fashion to "Westwind" although it has a percolating sound like the main theme in Klaus Schulze's classic "Totem" from 1973's Picture Music. But again, that's not to say that Steve has gone retro. He continues to build on his wealth of experience to continually create anew. The 33-minute title track keeps the rapid pace but manages to instill a laid back feel such that it is a long, relaxing ride to the end. The disc is proof positive that Steve continues to excel at his craft.