by Jim Brenholts
EARLY MAN is an ambient album from the master of masters: Steve Roach. The atmospheric minimalism is deep as only Steve defines deep. He does inject tinges of his tribal ambience into the CD, but this set honors the beginnings of the human race. The minimalism shifts gradually from the darkness of nothingness, stillness and silence (Steve has a history here!) to a bright and majestic yet still ambient soundscape. This is not a sunrise as interpreted by Richard Strauss. It is the dawn of time when time became meaningful and worth measuring. Steve, the man of the new millennium, is also the early man! Over the last two or three years I have learned that Steve Roach is a private, personable and very spiritual individual. He also values artistic integrity highly. While listening to "Early Man Decomposed," I hear all of those qualities and elements of all of Steve's musical journeys of his 22 year career.
The strongest overtones are his tribal and primal ambient stylings. Steve augments and highlights those elements with his austere minimalism and visionary space music. The strong references to his desert ambience are overt and well placed.
All of that is very cool and very worthy, but the emotional and spiritual response make this a Steve Roach CD, and a classic at that! The drifting minimalism and the desert ambience evoke imagery of the early man and his isolation and constant discovery. The mysteries of the birth of humanity are driven home, forcefully, by the eerie space riffs and the dark ambience.
Appreciating Steve's music is easy. This CD raises the ceiling again. Through his venture to the roots of our existence, Steve takes us back to the perpendicular universe. Appreciating Steve's emotional and spirituality energy is a challenge! It requires deep and focused listening!
This CD is a special gift from a special man. It is always a treat to embrace a new Steve Roach CD. It is a true honor to review it as well!