by Darren Bergstein, Muze
As the concept of 'fourth world' music was inaugurated via Jon Hassell and indigenous music was embraced by the clueless record industry, Roach was visiting Australia and gathering together the sonic food he needed to cook up this incomparable recording. With this double disc set (containing over two hours of music), Roach reached a plateau both in his musical evolution and within the genre that has yet to be eclipsed. Revelling in a near-seamless blend of organic and electronic soundworlds, Roach constructs a number of mini-epics that sonically reflect the Aborigine mystique, filtered through a collage of didjeridus, incongruous samples from the deep outback, and all other manners of unidentifiable electronic textures. Cloaked in the infinite tempest of ancient ritual, tracks such as "A Circular Ceremony" and "The Other Side" suggest not just primordial riddles or sacred ceremonial rites, but rather touch on emotions that resonate across all cultural and ethnographic boundaries. Atmospheres suggest uncategorizable flora and fauna developing their own febrile environments. Grooves percolate from handstruck drums that are in turn programmed into multi-sequenced events, while samples of mysterious origin sparkle and flare out of vast, twilight regions. Undoubtedly, Roach's first true masterpiece.