Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms
by Sylvain Lupari, Guts of Darkness
Was there something to add after the first four chapters of Immersion? With Steve Roach, we are never shielded from surprises. IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS is a surprising album where a strange musical fauna lives through Steve Roach's instruments. If "Shroud of Night" is a long meditative introspection, "Circadian Rhythms" swarms with finely-peeled microscopic life.
"Circadian Rhythms" is a musical reflection on the fascinating kingdom of animal and vegetables. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour biorhythm. More pronounced in plants, it's also present in unicellular bodies, like mold and bacteria. It's a little bit of this tiny world, filled with multi-form creatures, that Steve Roach puts to music.
Phase One begins with strange tones of an effervescent world, in which tiny latent movements are finely explained with amplified sonority. Those who are familiar with the musical universe of Roach will not be disoriented, because very finely elaborated tones here have already seen the sound of days on POSSIBLE PLANET. Long and threadlike serpentine movements AND metallic slides grow and circulate in a world of shadows where guitar notes jib weakly among dark varied oscillations. It's a journey in the inside, where swarms of a thousand eclectic tones and a world of quixotic insects seethe with a surprising musical life. From this babel of sponges and microorganisms, sonorities emerge, soft astral waves which gradually grow in opulence and cover this Lilliputian fauna of soft floating molecules.
With layers of synth over a slow stormy tempo of guitars, Phase Two is quite in contrast with the tranquillity of the slow Immersion that we heard on the first four volumes. These guitar and synth layers multiply, entangling with elongated caustic riffs over a more precise rhythm. This is a unique clan rhythm where percussion seems to be forged straight from the bells, rattlesnakes, and elements which drag under the rocks of Arizonan and Australian desert plains. When I listen to this, I have the strange image of vultures flying over the ruins of a civilization to be spared, bathed in the soft atmospheres of recent works such as the very beautiful LANDMASS and especially DESTINATION BEYOND.
Little by little, Phase Two's fervently still rhythm calms down, as beautiful soothing synth layers reach a finale espousing the hesitating rhythms which march stealthily into Phase Three. This last portion of Circadian Rhythms offers a fine balanced rhythm which leans on a soft hypnotic sequence, as a suave bass line fidgets among hiccupping chords. This is all coated by beautiful synth layers which undulate in a delicate rhythm. We are in the lands of DREAMTIME RETURN and WESTERN SPACES but with a zest of musical freshness showing Roach's evolution.
There is not much to write about "Shroud of Night". It is a long and atonal night-lament which respects the precepts of the Immersion series but with a more accentuated abyssal depth. A mix of synth and guitar layers float in an immersive serenity, as if we were in communication with the aquatic world where whales feed our subconscious with slender enveloping laments. It's Shroud of Night's great beauty. All along, we have this vague impression of being submerged in a quixotic suspended ocean where cetaceans float in diapason with our immense need for immersive tranquility, a little as in "First Light" from IMMERSION: THREE.
Roach has filled every available millimeter on the CD, so that our subconscious is invaded with the smooth tranquility which began with Immersion: One in 2006. With IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS we have the best of Steve Roach's dual worlds in a single album. We have tribal and progressive rhythms with seducing atmospheres on "Circadian Rhythms" and ambient dream-like music on "Shroud of Night". IMMERSION FIVE - CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS excels at taming Steve Roach's two main genres.