The Desert Inbetween
by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
May 2011

This release from 2011 offers 67 minutes of expansive music.

Roach plays electric guitar (melodic, looped, textural and EBow), analog and digital synthesizers, euro rack modular system, megabass waterphone, hybrid grooves, ocarinas, and ambient percussion. Parnham plays digital, VST and analog synthesizers, didgeridoo, udu drums, shakers, grooves, processing, muted guitar bass pulse, field recordings, various percussion, trance elements, and hornitos bottle.

Blending aspects of tribal and textural elements, this music explores the solitude inherent in a desert scenario.

The electronics are delicate and ethereal, delivering harmonic flows that hint at melodic definition while remaining unobtrusively atmospheric. Chords are elongated and coaxed to freely drift through a vaporous medium of additional tonalities. Auxiliary electronics contribute a twinkling presence which remains distant but discernible.

While some percussives are utilized, they do not contribute strong rhythms, instead tempering the streaming ambience with sparse tempos of a muffled nature. These beats generally reside just at the periphery of conscious detection, thereby providing a tasty subliminal presence that stirs the audience's deeply buried tribal memories. The application of other tribal instruments enhances this primitive character while maintaining an elusive quality in the music, often haunting and quite engaging. On other occasions, use of guitar effects establishes a mechanical churning that inspires an otherworldly flair.

The compositions are fragile and expansive. Instead of harnessing the desert's arid properties, the music evokes vast regions of emptiness and urges the listener to populate that void with their own introspective musings. By breaking down the barrier between reality and consciousness, this tuneage promotes psychological exploration -- or just idle relaxation, although the chances are good that the former state will creep in to supplant the latter if given the opportunity.

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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