Steve Roach Update: The Road Eternal + Live at SoundQuest|
March 27, 2011
Greetings soundcurrent friends,
Some exciting new releases to announce, but first I want to thank you for your enthusiastic feedback on the recent Sounds From the Inbetween box set. Your ongoing support of the music's creation through CD purchases at steveroach.com, iTunes, etc. continues to be vital in nourishing the flow. Thank you! I have been in the deep-end of the mastering process on my next two releases. Here is what's coming soon...
The Road Eternal
Steve Roach & Erik Wøllo
Projekt, May 2011
Following their collaboration Stream of Thought, Roach and Wøllo reunite to travel The Road Eternal, an electronic/ambient path filled with passion and beauty. Five engaging and expansive rhythmic sequencer-based tracks intersperse with ambient zones and soaring electric guitar textures highlighting sparse, arching thematic lines.
Wherein their first collaboration blended a number of shorter passages into a spellbinding whole, The Road Eternal is five longer compositions that build upon a basis of complex, inventive and hypnotic sequencer patterns. Intricate and ever-changing rhythmic cycles merge with melodic phrases creating a compelling groundwork that propels the music forwards. With inspiration drawn in part from classic trance-inducing electronic music with early German roots, the project takes on an interwoven structure draped with harmonic and melodic passages. The route through the music offers different perspectives to hear or "see" on every listen.
This is the sound of big skies, open roads and soaring thoughts, pulling one towards the next destination; reflected in the music with the counterplay of long and meditative rythmic zones and constellation-like melodic elements filled with space. The tracks transpose two different worlds: Steve's southwestern desert habitat and Erik's home base in Norway. The sum of these two environments becomes a hybrid landscape of new discovery. "We are both passionate about the observation of nature and the poetic character of natural surroundings," Erik says, "The ways in which we relate to this, as well as the awareness of the ongoing passage of time. These ideas have been a driving force behind our whole artistic careers, and it is strongly reflected in this collaboration."
"In our music," Steve reflects, "a central pulse and steady momentum is present. The sensation is a consistent feeling of travel. Whether you're driving, flying, riding a train or some other form of transportation, the sound and vibration enters your body and becomes part of the meditation of the travel experience. Listening to these tracks while traveling allows the music to merge with the experience arriving at an integrated place where thoughts and imagination are unified as a soundtrack for one's own road movie. The metaphor of The Road Eternal in the creative process is the other element of the album title: the road the artist travels with the allure of discovering what is next around the corner."
The project began in early 2010 and shifted into high gear when Erik traveled to Tucson that fall to perform at the SoundQuest Fest. After the concert, the two artists holed-up in The Timeroom for a few days channeling the energy from the fest to work non-stop towards The Road Eternal's completion. Roach states, "This is the music I have wanted to create with Erik since I first heard his classic Traces release way back in the 80's."
With Steve on analog sequencing, electronic percussion and most of the zones and atmospheres, Erik focuses on his processed, textural, and melodic elements while performing on various guitars and guitar synthesizers. The Road Eternal strikes a perfect balance of the artists' two distinct styles and common ground.
The sound is vibrant, emotional, full of shimmering light and saturated with optimism. With each artist having devoted over 30 years to their art, this album flows with the understanding and skill that comes from this experience, bringing their specialties together in the true spirit of collaboration.
"The combined efforts of ambient masters Steve Roach and Erik Wøllo have created an extraordinary cerebral flow of ambient music that is at once adrenaline pumping, yet mesmerizing." — MusicTap.net
Steve Roach — Live At SoundQuest — Timeroom Editions — May 2011
Steve's pinnacle performance from 2010's SoundQuest Fest proved to be a real moment in time, and fortunately it was documented with a prestine recording that places the listener front and center. It will be released as a single CD presenting the first 74 minutes of the concert as it unfolded. Three distinct realms are seamlessly mapped out in this inspired set. The opening starts with a 25-minute piece of perpetual forward motion in the mode of Destination Beyond, created specially for the concert, carved from pure analog synths and sequencers. From here we experience an amazing interplay between didgeridoo players Dashmesh Khalsa, Brian Parnharn, percussionist Byron Metcalf and Steve performing real-time looping, processing and mixing along with soundworlds, ocarina and voice. This passage is an all-out expression of shamanic ecstasy that boils over into the engulfing tribal trance state of "Thunder Walk" from the recent release Dream Tracker. The last portion of the set settles into an ultra drifting electro-organic zone. This evocative space, which premiered at the Fest, would soon evolve into the opening of Circadian Rhythms.
Retail release date is June 14 for The Road Eternal, but both titles will be available in May from steveroach.com and iTunes.
We also have two new releases from kindred spirits for you to explore:
A Distant Light
Hollan Holmes has created some stunning visual art for Steve, including Immersion: One, Places Beyond: The Lost Pieces 4, and the graphic design elements for the Immersion Station app. A Distant Light is his debut release as an artist in sound, and a fine debut it is. His artistic touch seen in the visual realms translates directly to his sonic visions. Light-filled spaces and shimmering harmonic zones unfold in their own time and space. And space is the place for this release; file under Classic Space-Music, a'la Music From the Hearts of Space. Sonic enhancements and mastering by Steve Roach.
Sans Serif: Unbound
Projekt, available now
Forrest Fang had been creating outstanding minimal, ethno-ambient recordings since the 80's. This new release could easily be filed in the Immersion category. Five pieces hover and slowly shift in a cloud-like movement. The pure texture is created from a strata of sinuous harmonic layers. The ambiguous source of the of sound is rich, organic and at times other-worldly.
Unbound is veteran ambient musician Forrest Fang exploring lush and abstract terrain under the Sans Serif moniker. Using very small — at times microscopic — sounds as source material, Fang utilizes a vocabulary of long shimmering tones that gradually warp, mutate and transform over the course of a piece.
Fang explains, "The Sans Serif project is my tribute to minimalism. For each piece, I have stripped sound down to certain tones and sonic elements that reappear, with variations, on a much larger scale. The processed elements are the 'clouds' in each piece's landscape that gradually shift from one end of the landscape to the other."
On Unbound, Fang takes the Sans Serif concept one step further by creating a series of extended soundscapes, each with its own distinct personality and mood. The varied atmospheres range from incandescent ("A Silver Season") to dark ("Lost Oracle"). Though rooted in abstraction, at times the music possesses an almost luminous physicality. The pieces on Unbound contribute to an unhurried organic flow that culminates in the multi-textural closer, "Tone In Alium," a piece loosely inspired by Thomas Tallis' 16th-Century polyphonic work, "Spem In Alium."
Unbound is Fang's 10th solo album, 3rd Projekt release and 2nd release from Sans Serif. Not surprisingly, Sans Serif's first release, Tones for LaMonte (Hypnos 2008), was a tribute to minimalist composer LaMonte Young. Throughout, the subtle psychoacoustics invite headphone listening, but its grand scale may perhaps be best appreciated over speakers.