by Darren Bergstein, e/i magazine
September 2008

Reacting to the moment, indeed fabricating its template as the post-midnight hours drew out all sorts of internal phantasms, Roach's fomentation of LANDMASS out of a radio station's sound booth speaks volumes about his regenerative gift for invention and application. While A DEEPER SILENCE opened up vast, unhurried spaces for disembodied traveling, LANDMASS is a far more extroverted construct, six lengthy pieces of stormsurge and metamorphic resonance. Recorded live at WXPN studios in Philadelphia on the venerable Star's End radio show, LANDMASS condenses a millennia's energy of continental drift into one epoch-spanning force of nature. The breathtaking vistas that ribbon-wrap the digipak provide some total recall of their own -- Roach's collaboration with Kevin Braheny on Western Spaces, imagery coveted from Dreamtime Return -- but rather than a historically assembled composite, LANDMASS instead feels more like a statement of intent. And what a statement. Though the protean chord sweeps and abyssal ambiences incontrovertibly image-stamp this as a Roach album, there's little in the way of repetitive motifs or overused passages; everything about this recording, from point of conception to execution of ideas, feels fresh, vibrant, cinematically rich. Roach's choice of sound design, carved in situ, is all the more dazzling for it: the chromium synths ratcheting-up tensions along a boiling sequencer front acts as the propellant enabling "Transmigration" amid a flurry of levitating pulses central to the record's tingling spine. Track titles vividly depict what becomes electronic analog: indeed, soaring through "Cerulean Blue Sky Over a Seared Desert Wasteland" is no doubt abetted by its oxygenated rush of synthetic cloudbursts and interlocked, serpentine rhythms. "Monuments of Memory" and "Alluvial Plain" bear witness to the movements of geologic time, jettisoning the acrobatic thrall of sequencer so Roach can brush great swathes of plangent color across his desolate canvas. When he finally leaves LANDMASS's (and his host's) excoriated territory behind with the appositely-titled "Stars Begin," hushed drones, cast amongst the galaxies like grains of sand, seem to portend some kind of big bang; instead, they ebb discretely back into the void, forever primed for reawakening when next Roach decides to smite the power.


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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $12.00 
Combo Pack $20.00
Steve Roach
2008 Timeroom Editions 20 (CD)
Reviewed by e/i magazine, Electroambient Space, Musique Machine, Sonic Curiosity, Tokafi

LANDMASS is a surreal shape shifting grand adventure in sound, morphing through a constantly altering perspective giving witness to the creation of iconic landscape formations, stone monuments and massive alluvial desert plains, and the occasional pyroclastic flow. Recorded live on the Star's End radio show in the WXPN studios in Philadelphia with a small audience in attendenace. This adventure in sound reaches into the primal forces of nature and channels them into a work of nearly uncontained energy, momentum and deeply nunanced texture. Even the most massive non-rhythmic soundforms seem to be shifting and moving from the inside out, eventually giving birth to undulating rhythmic ecstasy. A stand-out release in a style defined by Roach.

This is the 20th release on Steve Roach's Timeroom Editions, which marks its 10th anniversary this year. LANDMASS was selected especially for this occasion, and is presented in a beautiful six-panel Digipak.

"LANDMASS is a quintessential compendium of [Steve's] recent activities, spanning a bridge from his 'infinite and minimal' zones to his grand-scale projects in between rhythmic trance and immersive Ambient drift. In many ways, it appears to be a continuation of a confident new style, making use of a diverse palette of timbres, tools and techniques. Percussive particles keep turning up even in the outstretched beatless passages, lending a constant additional tension and propulsion to the already viral visions. Tracks could explode at any minute. Roach is no longer building landscapes from sound, he is recording 'sounding' landscapes built on the most essential building blocks: rhythm and harmony. In this sense, LANDMASS continues the only tradition an honest artist can and should really be true to: his own." — Tobias Fischer, Tokafi

1. TransmigrationMP315:31 
2. Cerulean Blue Sky Over a Seared Desert WastelandMP315:36 
3. Monuments of MemoryMP311:22 
4. Alluvial PlainMP39:46 
5. TrancemigrationMP37:52 
6. Stars BeginMP36:51 

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