The Desert Inbetween
by Matt Rowe, MusicTAP
February 2011

The immense ambient expanse of THE DESERT INBETWEEN, the newest Steve Roach collaboration, this one with Brian Parnham, explores a desert of secret places where there should be none. Using eerie and expanded tones to represent the chaotic environment of a land where few can exist outside the fear of the unknown, and the unforgiving, the duo has forged a strong work.

Metaphorically, the composers may have used this tone painting to examine the seemingly empty but fully lethal darkness that resides in "THE DESERT INBETWEEN" our own lives. A proper visit to this latest ambient episode of darkness yields the usual experience of an hour of departure that remains long after the voluntary immersion.

THE DESERT INBETWEEN applies its continuity with seven bridged tracks. And while the titles act as a sort of signpost, or mile marker, they are truly segments of a massive symphony to be played back in its entirely at each sitting.

Steve Roach has long successfully created the musical equivalent of the various stages of humanity and its struggles mixed with the confusion of its darkness. It is a recurring musical trademark that sifts through these theatres of life, often with attendant fear.

Brian Parnham, Roach's co-composer of this album, brings a strong set of instrumental and percussion skills, as well as strong visionary composition to the completeness of THE DESERT INBETWEEN.

If you like a great ambient experience, an often unvisited treat since the early days of Rock and the brilliance of great composers (Hoenig, Froese, to name a few pioneers), then the immersive ambient darkness of THE DESERT INBETWEEN will trip your brain with explosive synaptic impact and fill your brooding soul, not with hope but with a reverential sense of anticipation.

Visit THE DESERT INBETWEEN. Like much of Steve Roach ambient works, you won't soon forget it.

The Desert Inbetween

CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $5.00 
Box Set out of stock
The Desert Inbetween
Steve Roach, Brian Parnham
2011 Projekt PRO253 (CD)
Reviewed by Richard Gürtler, AllMusic, Electroambient Space, Guts of Darkness, Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion, Synth & Sequences

Steve Roach's unique soundquests continue to take him and his listeners on powerful journeys to worlds at once alien and familiar. On THE DESERT INBETWEEN, Roach teams up with fellow synthesist/percussionist/didgeridoo player Brian Parnham to explore a hybrid electronic acoustic soundworld sure to please listeners of Suspended Memories and ORIGINS -era tribalism as well as THE SERPENT'S LAIR -styled electronics.

The blending of highly-altered organic sounds and instruments (voices, bells, didgeridoo & percussion, Waterphone), electric guitar and a vast array of analog and digital instruments connects deep into the primal mind. Drawing inspiration from the stark and magnificent expanses of the desert southwest, this project explores the outer edges of solitude: psychological states accessed when the imagination is cut free from daily concerns and permitted to focus on the essentials.

THE DESERT INBETWEEN expresses a longing for a state of beautiful isolation. The desert bakes away the superfluous to bring about a heightened state of self awareness, the expanse in between ordinary reality and special states of connected, creative awareness.

The desert has long been a landscape that holds great inspiration for musical artists, writers and painters. To the receptive, it immediately provides a more direct path to the deeper self and source of one's artistic impulses. As the land of extremes, the desert is alive with beauty, stark vastness, magnificent vistas and silence. All of these places are expressed on THE DESERT INBETWEEN. Both artists know this desert realm after years of being immersed in this environment. Either as a metaphor for the inner world or a direct interpretation, the dynamic and subtle interweave of this experience is clearly alive here.

THE DESERT INBETWEEN is a masterwork collaboration of organic, tribal ambient rhythms, nuanced hand-made sounds and searing textures.

Also available: SOUNDS FROM THE INBETWEEN BOX SET, joining THE DESERT INBETWEEN and IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS in a limited-edition box, autographed and personally hand-numbered by Steve (autographs may be omitted by special request). Each box also contains a CD-sized postcard with additional glyphs hand-scribed by Steve, every one unique.

1. Opening SkyMP311:03 
2. Ancestral PassageMP39:19 
3. Serpent GulchMP311:11 
4. Somewhere BetweenMP37:13 
5. Spirit PassageMP34:14 
6. Return to the UndergroundMP317:14 
7. When the Raven Flies 6:31 

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