Stream of Thought
by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
This release from 2008 features 70 minutes of stimulating ambience.
Roach plays analog and digital synthesizers and sequencers, loops and atmospheres, while Wøllo plays electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, bass, Roland guitar, synthesizers, VST instruments, sequencers, loops and atmospheres.
Crisp electronics and airy tonalities blend with stringed instruments to generate lavish yet serene melodies.
Initially, layers of soothing but lively guitars establish a bewitching presence with undulating textures providing an atmospheric foundation. That basis expands with subsequent pieces, exploring realms of haunting distinction with floating drones and cosmic ambience. This ambience refuses to remain sedate, however, persisting in variations of thrilling diversity, maintaining a constant level of engagement throughout.
Ephemeral electronics express a trance state that is tempered and elevated by the presence of dreamy guitar patterns. These strings vibrate with a spectral demeanor, bestowing the celestial music with a sense of human spirituality.
While some soft rhythms (all of them synthetic) are utilized, the music is generally a construction of interweaving electronics designed to function like boundless fluid, oozing and flowing without restraint. In several instances, the beats are processed into blurred sequences that are immediately alluring in their ethereal mien.
One sequence casts off ambient sensibilities and flourishes with a more energized sound with sprightly tempos, lively electronics, and guitars that adopt a decidedly astral motif with their searing resonance.
Combining Roach's arid desert flair and Wøllo's arctic stylings, this tuneage is of high appeal and unique disposition, a fusion of hot and cold that exemplifies a psychic plane beyond physical sensations. While the music is presented as a continuous stream, the various compositions (there are 19 of them) possess diverse characteristics whose variety is guaranteed to entertain.
|Stream of Thought|
Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo
2008 Projekt PRO224 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, e/i magazine, Electroambient Space, Guts Of Darkness, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion, Tokafi
The mind is a mystery of thoughts and fluidly-shifting collected memories. There are many thoughts which form complete stories, while others are mere threads with no beginning or ending. The flow of ideas is energetic, pulsating and often in dramatic contrast. In the same manner, STREAM OF THOUGHT escorts us with cinematic precision through the mind's uncountable destinations. Organic electronic and new ambient sonic boundaries effortlessly dissolve on STREAM OF THOUGHT.
With the combined experience of these two veteran electronic composers, this collaboration flows with an agility of emotion and intellect in fluid interplay; minimalist-inspired melodic tapestries, pulsing trance passages, deep drone drifts, and surreal soundscapes morph into cloud-like forms: a constant state of sonic evolution.
The results stand apart from the extended immersive long-form tracks of Steve's recent releases. While STREAM OF THOUGHT is presented as a continuous flow of 19 interconnected pieces, the metaphor of sitting on a stream's edge under full engagement with the present moment is the appropriate context to experience the fluid ebb and mercurial flow of this living, streaming soundworld.
Roach and Wøllo's similar age, musical inspirations and sonic inclinations - along with a mutual respect for each other's 25+ years of work - inform STREAM OF THOUGHT. Starting on two continents with two very different atmospheric conditions (the vast desert of Steve's Arizona and the icy solitude of Erik's homebase in Norway) this release began to take form in early 2007, as the composers traded musical ideas back and forth across long distances. The most formative aspect of the collaboration occurred in the summer of 2008 with Erik's visit to Steve's Timeroom studio in Arizona. Their week yielded the final recording, arrangement and editing. The approach to the album's structure was more like that of film editing, where a sense of time and pacing was consciously developed to activate a powerful visual/auditory reaction, a visceral experience.
STREAM OF THOUGHT explores the nuance of shifts within our perception. Segments of illumination juxtaposed with amorphous interludes and moving, flowing rhythm culminate in an unforgettable, shifting, dynamic experience. Relax and float downstream. Tranquil drifts, passionate rapids, midnight star gazing and blazing sunsets await. This is a vivid soundtrack for the senses designed to take the listener to the outer reaches of the imagination.
Presented as a 73-minute continuous flow.