Arc of Passion
by Roger Batty, Musique Machine
January 2008

ARC OF PASSION is another long-form ambient exploration from one of the most respected names in ambient circles, Steve Roach. Split over two discs taking in over 100 minutes of music dipping into all sides of Roach's sound, from deep lush ambience to electronica beat-driven ambient to didgeridoo and tribal percussive-laced elements, all to make an enjoyable (if a touch flawed) sonic adventure.

It all starts out in fine lush fashion with the track "Moment of Grace" that's built around beautiful harmonic synth patterns that ebb and ripple around you. Giving a feeling akin to a soothing sea slipping in and out of a golden beach, you really sink deep into its relaxing sound waters, slowly bobbing off on harmonic bliss. Next up we have the first part of the title track, a rhythmic electronica-based ambient track that for the most part brought to mind an updated take on Tangerine Dream's rhythmic 1970's work, with ambient techno and tribal twists. It all starts off rewarding enough for the first ten minutes or so, Roach nicely moving around the rhythmic textures and sounds to keep one's attention nicely to summon up an effective atmosphere.

By the second part of the title track that opens up disc two, the tracks are still beat-bound but it's just so much more focused, hypnotic and rich with sonic progression over the heady and slowly shifting rhythmic matter. He moves wonderful emotionally-touched synth patterns over the beat, having almost a smoldering cinematic string quality about them. Lastly we have "Views Beyond" which returns to beatless synth territory to create a rather mystical-sounding end track that hums and shudders with didgeridoo textures. The track has quite a haunted and sombre vibe to it, giving the feeling of moving through dusk-embraced desert mountain landscapes.

On the whole, another rewarding and for the most part consistent ambient journey from Mr. Roach, primed for drifting off into one's imagination with its rich, lush and emotionally-charged sound textures.

Arc of Passion

feature  feature

CD  $20.00 
ON SALE, $15.00 
Arc of Passion
Steve Roach
2007 Projekt PRO202 (CD)
Reviewed by Electroambient Space, Musique Machine, Signal to Noise, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion, Star's End, Tokafi

Three striking new pieces born from the moment. Steve Roach's new 2-CD set seamlessly fuses three long unfolding soundworlds into a vibrant sonic odyssey. The result can only be described as a living, breathing ARC OF PASSION. As one of the pioneers of electronic music, Steve's career has many musical highpoints; ARC OF PASSION proves to be another definitive statement along the path. Advanced response from listeners places this album at the top of the list of must-have releases from Steve's body of work. Steve reaches into his sonic palette to weave elements drawn from his three definitive styles into a continuous, evolving flow. Rich harmonic chords, spiraling sequences and deep sky soundworlds move fluidly within this 2-hour set.

A vibrant immediacy is alive on ARC OF PASSION; recorded in a studio-like environment at Analogue Haven with an audience of 80 people, the sonic textures and evolving nature of the pieces reach into the core of the present moment bringing it into form with elegance and energy.

The opening 19-minute track billows outwards with rich and shadowed harmonic movement; deep chords ebb and flow like the thunder clouds of a summer storm, entering the realm of the hauntingly serene MYSTIC CHORDS & SACRED SPACES or THE MAGNIFICENT VOID albums. The set flows into the 60-minute title track built from layers of percussive and melodic patterns interwoven and evolving while holding a steady pulse and direction. Waves of emotion from intertwining sequencers provide the foundation for the evolving trance patterns that develop into full mesmerizing, passionate form. The closing 20-minute piece is deep primal ambience mixed with processed didgeridoo hovering within an expansive soundscape. Long, arching tendril-like forms breathe within this infinite soundfield.

Steve comments: "This arc represents a trajectory of emotion infused with energy from a radiant, serene core that comes from within the creative moment." ARC OF PASSION is a deep and vibrant expression of life lived passionately.

(Source: Projekt press release)

"Steve Roach reaches back into his sonic palette and pulls forth quite possibly the definitive album of his career. Beyond essential." -- Michael Ostrich,
Disc 1
1. Moment of GraceMP319:05 
2. Arc of PassionMP331:36 
Disc 2
1. Arc of Passion (continued)MP328:44 
2. Views BeyondMP321:29 
-  Disc 1 MP3 ExcerptsMP3 
-  Disc 2 MP3 ExcerptsMP3 

Steve Roach News Music Discography Live Press Reviews Store Links Bio Contact