The Desert Inbetween
by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
March 2011

Though Steve Roach certainly has an accomplished career as a prolific solo artist, there is often a certain something extra, something special, when he gels with a collaborator, in this case Brian Parnham. They worked before with great results on Brian's release MANTLE, an album of free flowing and nearly formless pieces with Steve contributing to several of the tracks. In contrast, THE DESERT INBETWEEN is a richly textured and varied album, with acoustic, electronic, and tribal instrumentation perfectly blended into a cohesive yet diverse set. "Opening Sky" beautifully and subtly pulls the listener in, exploring a variety of sonic terrain as it evolves. Resonant, swirling drones are later joined by otherworldly guitar sounds and tribal percussion. "Ancestral Passage" is aptly named, comparing favorably with Steve's work on EARLY MAN. Strange sounds, possibly muffled and altered voices, lend an eerie effect. Sparse deep drums and soft atmospheric touches take over in the latter half, almost playing like a separate piece. "Serpent Gulch" has a visceral quality about it, with its pulsating electronics and hypnotic rhythms. Like its predecessor, this one is much softer and distinctly different in the second half. "Somewhere Between" is rumbling and restless, with a particularly cool section in the middle that features a unique melange of metallic and other sounds. The longest track, "Return to the Underground," is perhaps the most understated. It is a brooding piece with subtle sonic textures, although like the others it seems to be continually on the move. THE DESERT INBETWEEN is exceptional.

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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