The Desert Inbetween
by Richard Gürtler
February 2011

Two fellow travelers, Steve Roach and Brian Parnham, have joined their forces together for this exciting trip into the expansive arid regions of the Southwest deserts. My expectations were of course really high, because some of their latest releases like NIGHTBLOOM or THE BROKEN SILENCE easily made my highlights list of 2010.

The album opens very impressively and colorfully: "Opening Sky", with its slowly gradual atmosphere leads into tribal uplifting parts that later return to a peacefully floating finale. Deeper drones with gentle drumming announce "Ancestral Passage", accompanied by distant voices and various organic instruments and environmental sounds, but the thunderstorm turns this cut deeper and darker, but grandiose and sensual terrains, while water sounds, rattles and other unique sound sources are briskly swirling around my ears. This is pure bliss!!! "Serpent Gulch" turns very soon into an absolutely euphoric composition with sharply rhythmed parts, amazing percussions (I love that distant metallic sound...) and frantic didgeridoo, while the last third of the piece weaves into darker mysterious realms. Magnificent!!! The denser "Somewhere Between" is later joined by a variety of percussions, bells and other sound sources. Clouds of beautiful and hypnotic drones on "Spirit Passage" are supported by distant voices and various crispy sonic ingredients; truly magical! But the sound wizardry continues on the 17-minute epic "Return To The Underground". It keeps its hypnotic feel from the previous piece, but spiced by many carving, circulating and evolving unique sound elements, some of them at the end almost alien-like sounding. A mysteriously deep, stimulating and powerful journey!!! The more tranquil "When the Raven Flies" brings the album safely to a close.

Even if the Southwest's stark landscapes have been explored by Steve and Brian many times before, they still hold a huge inspiration for both of them, and I am very thankful for that, because their sonic sculpting on "The Desert Inbetween" is just amazing, perfectly layered, structured and detailed. Each composition is packed with unique textures, sounds and atmospheres. Organic tribal ambience at its most brilliant!!! And all that with a gorgeous six-panel Digipak packaging featuring a photo of a natural rock bridge.

Richard Gürtler, Bratislava, Slovakia

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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