The Desert Inbetween
by Ned Raggett, AllMusic

Steve Roach's continual expression of artistic intent via regular releases continues into 2011 with THE DESERT INBETWEEN, in this case also being the latest of one of his many collaborations. Brian Parnham, a protege of Roach for some years, has explored both similar sonics and, given works like THE BROKEN SILENCE and BETWEEN HERE & THERE, thematics. Both artists clearly find a deep inspiration and fascination in dry, empty, and contemplative Southwest surroundings. THE DESERT INBETWEEN is almost a natural outgrowth of their individual approaches; hearing both the steady, echoed drumming familiar in much of Roach's work as well as Parnham's loops of didgeridoo on the first track, "Opening Sky" -- if indeed they aren't playing each other's "typical" instrumentation in the end -- shows right off the bat how the two easily mesh forces. Song titles such as "Spirit Passage" and "Return to the Underground" underscore the overarching themes of transition and void suggested by the title in turn; the instrumentation throughout, via entrancing if unsurprising motifs of reverb, distant drumming, half-heard voices, and sounds that could be animals or could be something else, combines to feed into the sense of flow instead of simply stasis -- traveling without moving, if one likes. The deep drones that recur throughout as well -- the echoed bell sounds and much more on "Somewhere Between" being a clear highlight, all drawn-out texture as vast soundscape -- are all the more striking as a result.

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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