Stream of Thought
by Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion
STREAM OF THOUGHT
is the long-awaited outcome of these two skilled musicians, of which the first drafts were already put down in 2007. Spanning exactly 70 minutes, this "continuous stream of sonic conciousness in 19 parts" is a complex, emotionally charged and very diverse sound painting.
Sound wise, the music is less traditional and more experimental, moving away from Roach's deeper, transcendental style, although some ambient moments are still present. Instead, it merges carefully moulded sonic vistas, creating a highly cinematic journey in which rhythmic, high-tech and ethereal ambient styles blend. Erik's nice guitar playing shows up now and then, adding some extra icing on the cake.
Taking off atmospheric, things get really groovy on the great second part, while most other parts are charged by freeform textures, high-tech pulse sequencing and percussive elements. Parts 4 and 5 venture nicely in darkening, surreal soundworlds, while a low beat and fractal sequencing take centre stage on part eight. Toward the end, the high-tech sonic outcome on part 15 and 16 sounds rather chaotic, inconsistent and experimental to my ears, before the albums renders down into a smooth style.
All in all, STREAM OF THOUGHT
is an expertly produced, mixed and mastered, constantly evolving cycle of dynamic sonic wizardy, more experimental in nature. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a surreal listening experience (which is also a treat for testing the sound your hi-fi system, by the way).
|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.