by Rik Maclean, Ping Things
The last 12 months have been a very prolific time for Steve Roach, seeing the release of a number of different discs in a variety of styles, each one displaying elements of Roach's incredible talent and musical mastery. PROOF POSITIVE is one of the discs he's put out during this time, a new release from Roach's Timeroom Editions series that proves once again that Steve Roach's reputation as a leader of the electronic genre is both warranted and well earned.
"Westwind" opens the disc, a long form track that begins with a steady pulsing tone, an arpeggiated pattern, analog purity at its finest. It gains volume, strength and sound, shape and form as it continues, becoming more complex and dense. Nuance and change develop as time passes, and soon the track begins to take on a life of its own. The sound of wind passes through, breathing life into the track, giving it the feeling of being of both the earth and the sky, a joined being that shares the best traits of both worlds.
"Living The Pulse" follows, a much shorter piece that percolates and moves in a similar living pattern. The song very much has an organic feel to it, something that shifts and moves of its own accord, of its own life, reaching out and becoming something sentient. Tones evolve and alter themselves and shift slowly through the course of the track. It's a wonderful and beautiful thing.
Another shorter track, "Essential Occurrence", is up next, blending in and mixing with the previous piece. It continues in a similar organic analog pattern as previous tracks, adding a bed of pads playing underneath that anchor the song, providing a sense of oblique motion until the pads overtake the rest of it and lead into the next piece.
"Adreno Stream" incorporates a variety of deep and thick pulse based synths, constantly moving and shaping themselves into new sounds. It's quite impressive as the sound moves the listener from one location to the next, an absolutely fabulous journey in sound with Roach acting as your guide.
The title track "Proof Positive" ends the disc, a mystical journey of sequenced sounds and tones. It starts off subtly, but gains strength and steam as the track progresses, developing into a completely immersive experience that draws the listener in and surrounds them, moving them from a vital and active world of sound, into a more peaceful and meditative zone of contemplation. Wonderful work.
Surely this disc is a brilliant meditative tool, a set of music that one can easily fall under the spell of and become lost in. It moves through spaces and environments and becomes itself a living thing. Surely that's a trait of the best sort of music, that it can become something separate from the listener's experience, and becomes its own entity. With the release of PROOF POSITIVE, Steve Roach has once again breathed life into his art and created something more. Highly recommended.