Dust to Dust
by Brett Neely
April 1998

Steve Roach and Roger King put their west foot forward in this 1998 release from the Projekt label.

Roach and King, venturing into Roach's Timeroom studio, unsure of what would result, and unaffected by pressure to produce a product, created this album anyway. Provoking memories of dust-clouded wagon trails and desolate ghost towns, DUST TO DUST speaks of tales real and imagined, as interpreted by these two musical journeymen.

Both Roach and King make their homes in the American southwest. Roach, a veritable electronic music legend, continually seeks adventurous new collaborations. In DUST TO DUST, he finds another plane on which to expand his musical experiences. He joins Roger King: friend, native Tucsonian, and guitarist. King formerly owned and operated Westwood Studios in Tucson, and currently runs a digital CD mastering studio.

Black and white photographs make up the cover and the background for the insert booklet. Cactus plants, an abandoned house, dusty paths, barren trees, and swirled clouds provide a visual base from which adventures have taken place.

Using guitars, a harmonica, a washboard, beer bottles, and various electronic instruments, Roach and King map their own territory with a unique style of music.

From the deterministic "Gone West" and the encouraging "Daze Wage," to the mysterious "Bigger Sky" and the almost subconscious "Lost and Forgotten," this cold yet heartful disc touches on many aspects of the high hopes and the utter despair of journeys west. The surreal environment of "The Ribbon Rails of Promise" speaks of the high hopes of the westward journeymen, sometimes leaving behind much more than they would recover.

Only one transition on this disc is flawed. In "Gone West," the opening track, at 1:07, the guitar makes an uncomfortable leap over a barren background accompaniment into a new section. This transition needs more force to hold the song together. Otherwise, the album is structurally sound. Musically, DUST TO DUST is raw and unpolished at times, without lacking strong production.

The cover art, the rough-edged music, the haunting melodies, and the precise studio work combine to make this a solid album.

DUST TO DUST provides music for voyagers, dreamers, and soul searchers. No matter where the journey may lead, this album provides the listener with more than enough head space for modern day contemplations.

Dust to Dust

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $10.00 
Dust to Dust
Steve Roach, Roger King
1998 Projekt PRO79 (CD)
Reviewed by AmbiEntrance, Brett Neely, John Pemble, Alternative Press, CounterPunch, Illinois Entertainer, Muze

Western Music in the truest sense. It is a bold step in a new direction: Where sounds paint pictures with a range of colors drawn from the land, where stories are told with the instruments of old and new pioneers. Guitars, harmonicas and washboard rhythms find their place next to a wagon full of electronics. This is the music, and even more the soundtrack, to the lingering ghosts and the lost and not-so-forgotten dreams of the restless souls driven to "Go West by God!" The story shifts between the present and the recent past when a dust trail was the only road west. The rails were freshly laid, still wet with sweat and blood. For better or worse, hopes and dreams turned real in the vast southwestern deserts, becoming a metaphor for a clean slate and a better life.

"DUST TO DUST has the mystery and allure of 150 year old photographs of strangers whose eyes and stoic faces suggest a thousand untold stories." -- (Mark Burby, AP magazine)
1. Gone West7:27 
2. A Daze WageMP36:13 
3. A Bigger Sky 3:19 
4. The Ribbon Rails of PromiseMP315:05 
5. First Sunrise 4:27 
6. Lost and Forgotten 10:44 
7. Snake Eyes 5:35 
8. Rain and Creosote5:02 
9. Ghost TrainMP37:21 

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