Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms
by John Shanahan, Hypnagogue
April 2011

Steve Roach synthesizes familiar sonic territories and fresh approaches on his latest episode in the Immersion series, IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS. If you've been following the Immersion discs, as well as with Roach's overall sound-story, the elements at play in this two-disc offering will come as a known quantity.

The first track, "Phase 1," opens with the intricate, insectile skitterings that first populated Roach's POSSIBLE PLANET, racing back and forth to track out cryptic symbols in your head.

From out of the shifting clicks and warbles a misty wash arises that carries the listener easily into "Phase 2." On this leg of the journey, familiarity comes from the shimmering cry of processed guitar. The rhythms ramp up in energy, urged forward by the sort of analog electro-pulse that's powered parts of LANDMASS, DESTINATION BEYOND, and THE DESERT INBETWEEN. Personally, I really like this latest aspect of Roach's work. It's an understated drive that carves out a low-key but distinctly effective sense of shamanic percussion via electric channels. Against those slow-motion guitar chords it feels even more intense. Underscoring it all is a hushed bass line of FEVER DREAMS ancestry, peering out of the flow.

And then Steve Roach manages to surprise me. The crux of "Phase 3," for most of its half-hour-plus flow, is a repeating melody/motif that -- dare I say it? -- is kind of bouncy when you get right down to it. It's light, bolstered at the edges with a sort of metallic, percolating percussive element, and it just lopes its way through swells of synth pads, loaded with tiny sound elements and just enjoying itself as it moves along. It's a happy sort of sound, and it particularly works because the background sounds retain that minor-chord, deep-exhalation sense. The result is a very yin-yan feeling, active versus drifting, up versus down, energy versus calm. In the end, Roach melts away the rhythm and lets the drift take over with hints of that analog skitter roiling below the surface. And so the circle comes around and begins again for perfect looping, something I've been doing a lot of with this.

Or you could segue right into the second disc, the long-form track, "Shroud of Night." Again, the sounds come like memories from the depths of the Roach library, a constantly-moving weave of shimmer and shadow coursing through an endless night. The beatless flow makes a nice counter to its companion disc. Taken on its own, it carries the feel of watching clouds moving across the moon, the mood always on the edge of darkness but retaining a subtle glow at the edges. Roach's guitar textures melt into his pads in a smooth partnership of sound that takes the listener in and down for the duration. Roach notes on his site that this disc was played on infinite loop for a year as he refined it. While I don't suggest you dedicate that much time to it, I have definitely enjoyed sleeping with this disc playing just at the slightest level of hearing and letting it work its way into my subconscious. Deep but soft, "Shroud of Night" is a classic Roach drift, and IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS is another superb addition to both the series and the overall Roach canon.

Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms

CD  $20.00 
ON SALE, $12.00 
Combo Pack $22.00
Box Set out of stock
Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms
Steve Roach
2011 Timeroom Editions 24 (CD)
Reviewed by Electroambient Space, Guts of Darkness, Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion

The Immersion series takes a compelling turn, moving towards a new perspective on Steve's Immersion experience. Disc one, "Circadian Rhythms" explores a sensual flow of harmonic suspension and sparse melodic mantra-like patterns hovering over rhythmic spaces and mercurial zones. Opening up within an organic analog modular garden of sound, a pulsing undulating groove spiral emerges, creating a suspended sensation of constant flow while hovering in the now. "Circadian Rhythms" moves through a continuous 73-minute flow in three phases.

Disc two, "Shroud of Night" was created from a blend of Steve's unique textural electric guitar and harmonic synth alchemy. The strands of emotion contained within this long-form atmosphere take on a feeling of clouds illuminated by full moonlight wafting into the deep hours of the night. This is a place of pure immersion and sonic warmth. Tested on infinite-repeat mode for over a year throughout all times of the day, into the night and beyond. Immerse thyself, once again.

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 contains a CD-sized postcard with additional glyphs hand-scribed by Steve, every one unique.

Disc 1
1. Circadian RhythmsMP373:44 
Disc 2
1. Shroud of NightMP373:33 

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