by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
Electronic music pioneer Steve Roach returns to his ambient roots with this enormous dose of psychologically soothing soundscapes. This limited edition set comes in an oversized package adorned with suitably fluid visuals.
The music is equally fluid, flowing with sedate determination designed to separate the audience from reality and plunge them into an inner realm of psychic contemplation. Somber electronic tonalities establish a misty harmonic presence that defies time and space with deceptive constancy. Nebulous drones of crystalline quality generate a placid sonic environment in which change is so gradual as to be invisible. These emanations maintain an unvarying stability with their seemingly unchanging resolution. Passages take forever to progress from one stage to another, employing subtle transformations of ethereal fashion.
Close analysis reveals that these soundscapes indeed possess variations, but the steadfast structure intentionally masks this evolution in elongation. The result is a masterful dedication to passive stimulation.
Tenuous threads of vaporous harmonics undulate with leisurely tranquillity. Delicate sounds create an unobtrusive environment of gently swirling ambience. Pulsations endure with loving serenity, becoming acquiescent sustains that merge into an infinite union.
This music easily banishes tension, freeing the mind for introspective exploration. While approximating a Pacific void, the tuneage actually promotes mental activity. Its seemingly emotionless state incites vivid contemplation.
This trio of minimal compositions possess distinctly different characteristics. The first disc ("First Light") captures the transition from dusk to dawn with languid alacrity. The second disc ("Sleep Chamber") is a perfect soundtrack for slumber with its calm descent into somnambulant depths. The third disc ("Still") achieves an exquisite illusion of artful immobility.
This music provides excellent sonic accompaniment for escape.