by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
December 2008

This release from 2008 offers 68 minutes of electronic music recorded live in the studios of WXPN for simultaneous broadcast on the Star's End program on May 20, 2007.

Here, Roach's signature ambience is presented with more substance. The tonalities expand to a healthy scale, moving beyond a mimicry of windblown air currents. Additional electronics coax the harmonics into a melodic definition, while more strident tones approximate a relaxed sense of rhythms throughout the performance with their twinkling pulsations.

Versatile sound sourcing bestows the music with novel edges. Are those bells hiding in the wandering effects? Do the ends of several sounds rise with a truncated vitality, lending the notes a hint of buoyancy?

In one passage, the presence of tastefully plodding beats injects a soothing animation to the slowly churning vaporous music. This lively disposition becomes mirrored by the electronics as textures swell and fade with pronounced enthusiasm and those twinkling pulsations exhibit a stately jubilation.

At another point, sprightly tempos occur, driving the melodies into a pacific fervor that is tempered by the airborne harmonics.

While the gist of the compositions is luxurious and peaceful, a sense of escalating tension is generated as the flow carries the audience on a journey across landscapes of ancient majesty, ultimately lifting everyone on an ascension to stratospheric altitudes where the grandeur is obvious despite its subtlety.

While mainly ambient, this music is seasoned with enough instances of electronic enervation to make it satisfying to those who prefer their soundscapes to deliver something more than ethereal essence.


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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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