by Sylvain Lupari
At the time when electronic music "technolized" itself, where numeric sequencers and electronic percussions are the heart of rhythms, Steve Roach returns to the cradle of analog and offers us a fantastic piece of work -- the kind of opus which recalls the heat of the glorious years of the complexity of analog movements.
The first lines of "Westwind" do not leave any doubt. A superb modular sequence traces its loops which circle with grace and limpidity, around motley analog sound effects. Introspective, these superb sound waves reverberate in a cosmic sphere, giving a consistent and cordial texture on nervous beats, which agitate its chords with feverishness. Midway through, "Westwind" slackens its tension to plunge into more atmospheric movement, tinted of isolated loops on short sequences which are disturbed in a sea of caustic sound effects. A Mellotron nourishes a dark and luxuriant sound environment. "Living the Pulse" also takes the rhythmic road with an aerated tempo, sustained by light tinkling and a beautiful bass line which progresses with heaviness as the title advances, the kind of track which we did not expect from Steve Roach. It melts on "Essential Occurrence", a brilliant short track. Heavy and intense sequencer, keys waltz with discordance in a fluid atmosphere which floats under a superb vaporous synth. Strange and attractive, Roach plays with sounds so easily. Adreno Stream could be named "Westwind II", the sequential structure is so similar. In the background, we have a vague impression of hearing an organ floating, giving the track an antiquated ornament, with a zest of contemporary breath. A little more and we would believe we're hearing Picture Music from Klaus Schulze. Simply sublime, as PROOF POSITIVE progresses, Steve Roach does not cease to astonish. The title track continues on this sequential movement with a more fluid and limpid rhythm, with long circular loops on a droning and floating synth, linking two parallel sound universes which offer a deep, copious and harmonious perspective. Great synthetic art.
With PROOF POSITIVE, Steve Roach shows that he is as much at ease with rhythms as with floating elements. An opus of incredible depth which astonishes by the heaviness of its hypnotic loops. A little as Jarre had done in 1976 with Oxygene, Roach comes to replace the needles of electronic music with all the intensity and emotion which surrounded these mystical works. PROOF POSITIVE is one of the top electronic music CD's of 2006.