by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
This release from 2006 offers 46 unedited minutes of Roach's live performance at NEARfest at the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 2005.
Roach's skills at producing an intensely lush live performance are well-known, and this recording perpetuates his capabilities with astounding scope.
Ethereal textures coalesce like gathering stormclouds, but the rainfall from these thunderheads is sparkling and vivacious, each droplet of sound infecting the audience with a dreamy clarity certain to expand consciousness. Fragile effects mix with synthetic rhythms to achieve a vibrant environment of thrilling depth. The tonalities waft with luxurious expansion, while soothing embellishments swell with pulsating resonance.
Rhythms come and go, punctuating the heavenly tapestry with remote propulsion, never overt but still contagious in their subtle and complex motivation. The presence of liquid sounds only serves to give the tempos an earthy quality.
Let us not forget the periodic presence of didjeridoo, whose soulful breathing injects an arid heritage to the seething mass of modern tuneage. This instrument's contributions are integral in establishing a pensive moodiness for the concert's dark finale.
While steeped in a celestial demeanor, this music exhibits a certain terrestrial quality, grounding the audience while lifting them to dizzying altitudes. The overall tone is a dreamy one, although these ambient voyages exude a stern power that often commands more than it sedates.
Blending classic compositions with new pieces, Roach seamlessly conjures a lavish soundscape of breathtaking mien.