Jul 29, 2018

Sundaze 1830


Today's Artist is a longstanding leader in contemporary electronic music, composer and multi-instrumentalist,a onetime professional motorbike racer born 1955 in La Mesa, California,  drew on the beauty and power of the earth's landscapes to create lush, meditative soundscapes influential on the emergence of ambient and trance. Drawing from a vast, unique, deeply personal authenticity, his releases cover a wide range of dynamic styles all of which bear his signature voice. For 35 years the boundaries are constantly challenged in his work, ranging in style from pure floating spaces, analog sequencer music, primordial tribal, rhythmic ambient, dark ambient, long-form 'drift ambient,' and avant garde atonal ambient.....N'Joy

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A longstanding leader in contemporary electronic music, composer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Roach drew on the beauty and power of the Earth's landscapes to create lush, meditative soundscapes influential on the emergence of ambient and trance. Born in California in 1955, Roach -- inspired by the music of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and Vangelis -- taught himself to play synthesizer at the age of 20. Debuting in 1982 with the album Now, his early work was quite reminiscent of his inspirations, but with 1984's Structures from Silence, his music began taking enormous strides. The album's expansive and mysterious atmosphere was partly inspired by the natural beauty of the southwestern U.S. Subsequent works, including 1986's three-volume Quiet Music series honed Roach's approach, his dense, swirling textures and hypnotic rhythms akin to environmental sound sculptures.

In 1988, inspired by the Peter Weir film The Last Wave, Roach journeyed to the Australian outback, with field recordings of aboriginal life inspiring his acknowledged masterpiece, the double-album Dreamtime Return. A year later, he teamed with percussionist Michael Shrieve and guitarist David Torn for The Leaving Time, an experiment in ambient jazz. After relocating to the desert outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, Roach established his own recording studio, Timeroom. In the years to follow, he grew increasingly prolific, creating both as a solo artist and in tandem with acts including Robert Rich, Michael Stearns, Jorge Reyes, and Kevin Braheny -- in all, he recorded close to two-dozen major works in the '90s alone, all of them located at different points on the space-time continuum separating modern technology and primitive music.

His album roster from that decade includes Strata (1991), Artifacts (1994), Well of Souls (1995), Amplexus (1997), and Dust to Dust (1998). Early Man was released on Projekt in early 2001, followed by one of his many collaborations with Vidna Obmana, Innerzone. Throughout the remainder of the 2000s, Roach remained extremely prolific. His release schedule included the Projekt titles Trance Spirits (with Jeffrey Fayman) and the quadruple-disc Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces, Spirit Dome and Somewhere Else (with Obmana), Fever Dreams, Mantram, and Nada Terma (with Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig), and the ongoing Immersion series, Arc of Passion, and Stream of Thought (with Erik Wøllo). He also self-released several titles on his own through Timeroom Editions.

Over the next decade, Roach would show no signs of slowing as he continued with a non-stop slew of new material under his own name, as well as collaborations and soundtrack work. Though new volumes of work appeared at a clip of more than three albums per year, standouts included more collaborations with Byron Metcalf, 2013's Future Flows, 2014's disparate releases of arid road trip music on The Desert Collection and ambient explorations of mortality and humanity on The Delicate Forever. Roach began constructing an extensive analog modular synthesizer system in 2014, and in 2015, the album Skeleton Keys was composed entirely using this setup. In 2016, Roach released two full-lengths with Robert Logan (the more rhythmic Biosonic and the serene drone album Second Nature), as well as solo efforts This Place to Be and Shadow of Time.

In concert, Steve creates transcendent electronic music emerging from an elemental instinctual mode. These events bring together an audience from around the country and as far away as Europe, all looking to experience the on-the-edge experience that erupts in the live setting. This makes Steve's concerts an entirely different experience from the recorded medium. With months of preparation absorbed into his system, evocative soundscapes blend with ecstatic rhythmic sections born from hands-on analog sound creation and sonic shapeshifting. The result is a direct transference of creative energy from the artist through his instruments out to the listener. Live performances are the place where Steve's music thrives, created at the leading edge of now.

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The cover of On This Planet offers two of the many faces of Earth. One is a craggy, misty place of eerie cold, the other a wind-worn ancient desertscape. Both extremes are intense and lonely, yet extremely inviting in their inhospitableness. It is like being drawn toward the knife. Challenging "dark ambient" composer Steve Roach asks you to experience his compositions loud. This is no unobtrusive sonic background, but a sound atlas to the nether regions. His creations are wrought with didgeridoo, clay pots and other varied percussion, synthesizers, conversation, and electronic respirations. This is a condensation of material developed for and through his 1997 tour. On the basis of the evidence presented here, listeners who missed the tour should rue the day they passed up any opportunities to witness it.

Steve Roach - On This Planet (flac 416mb)

01 Heart Of The Tempest 4:26
02 Journey Of One 3:38
03 The Nexus Place 7:05
04 Trilobite 3:33
05 Void Memory 4 5:36
06 Cloud Watching With The Toolmaker 5:41
07 The Ecstasy Of Travel 4:59
08 Remember It Now 10:36
09 A Darker Star 13:19
10 On This Planet 14:06

Steve Roach - On This Planet    (ogg 171mb)

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Open, dusty spaces are familiar images in the musical world of Steve Roach, but he gives his favorite subject an entirely new twist on this 1998 collaboration with Roger King. Harking back to the ghosts of the Old West, this variation comes courtesy of the harmonica, an instrument new to Roach recordings. It is brought to the fore here, underpinned by King on various guitars and Roach's ever-present electronics. Roach and King drench their instruments in a healthy dosage of reverb, occasionally letting phrases drift off entirely. This technique imbues the music with the impression of viewing yellowed photographs of frontiersmen in a long-forgotten family album. A suite of songs beginning with "A Bigger Sky" and concluding with "First Sunrise" delves into a deeper space that fans will recognize, dissolving all ties with the physical realm by utilizing whispered voices and gradually inserting Roach's trademark rhythmic sequences. But it is the traditional instruments that truly stand out on this album, allowing the listener to imagine a time and place now relegated to myth. Roach once again proves himself a restless experimenter who consistently chooses talented collaborators who will enable him to expand both his own musical vision and that of his listeners.

Steve Roach (with Roger King) - Dust to Dust    (flac 327mb)

01 Gone West 7:27
02 A Daze Wage 6:13
03 A Bigger Sky 3:19
04 The Ribbon Rails Of Promise 10:53
05 First Sunrise 4:27
06 Lost And Forgotten 10:24
07 Snake Eyes 5:35
08 Rain And Creosote 5:32
09 Ghost Train 7:29

Steve Roach (with Roger King) - Dust to Dust   (ogg 150mb)

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Slow Heat is the ultimate in desert ambience. Steve Roach, the premier desert ambience artisan, created this long-form (71 minutes) piece in response to his own desert habitat in Tucson, AZ. The imagery of this music is incredible. It sounds like heat -- listeners will hear the shimmering of the desert sands. They will hear the cacti baking in the sun and they will hear themselves sweat. The imagery is visual, too. Roach's organics bring the soundscape to life. The desert is incredibly active, but the activity is slow. This piece evolves fittingly and slowly. There is no crescendo, only a languid buildup to a slow denouement. Roach remains on his own plane; his discs compare best to themselves. This disc is intended for continuous play and it is the natural follow-up to Western Spaces, Desert Solitaire, and Dust to Dust. It is also one of the Top Five ambient CDs ever.

Steve Roach - Slow Heat (flac  343mb)

01 Slow Heat 71:16

Steve Roach - Slow Heat  (ogg 151mb)

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This is another chapter in Steve Roach's on-going sound world projects, designed for continuous playback or with Dream Circle, Magnificent Void, and Slow Heat in a multiple-disc player. Over two years in the making, the five selections here are worlds unto themselves, though they are linked not only by their creator, but the passage of time, and the (dis)order they creator within the mind of the listener. All of them lie within the heart of the dreamer it would seem, or at least at the heart of Roach's dreams, envisioned or not. Roach has a gift for capturing in his pieces, the essence of moments he has not witnessed in the flesh. He captures a moment, its sense impression, and layers it deep within a pool of sound and space, knowing full well that the moment itself can never be "captured" by recording tape; it can only be represented. And it is with this information that Roach goes about the business of creating the five sound worlds on Atmospheric Conditions, gracing his trace images with ghostly presence and the touch of the sacred upon them. This is not ambient music to "chill out" to mindlessly, though you certainly could. This is a music that creates its own ambience, offers a world and its dimensions for the listener to meditate upon or conduct rituals to, whatever is instructive.

From the single movement "Underground Clouds Over a Secret Grotto" and its notions of vast enclosed spaces and spectral presences hovering above them to the two-movement work "In the Heart of Distant Horizons," who is to say those horizons aren't an extension, dimensionally of the vast enclosed space of the clouds and grotto? They certainly melt together as music, as sonic expanse, as shimmering heat in places where it is difficult to make out anything concretely.

As we move to the final work, the two-movement "Two Rivers Dreaming," we have come to the beginning of a Moebius strip and discovered the interconnectedness not only of these five sound worlds but their accompanying universes as well. This is a sonic architecture based on restraint and listening for languages to assert themselves in the space and time of creation. Design becomes secondary to the inaction of allowing the implications of those languages, those sounds, those very layers proposed as "moments" to enter into the body, into the heart and bloodstream before decisions are made as to what they are trying to say. And Roach is a wise man; he knows, that even after careful contemplation of his sources, he can only go by his intuition because no one has ever been here before. Ultimately, that's what separates Roach from the other electronic composers, he doesn't decide ahead of time what the end of an objective will be, he allows the information and materials collected in the quest for an answer to decide what he should and shouldn't know; therefore he goes deeper and wider without concerning himself about achieving a goal: he stops when he is asked to by the music itself. The circle -- like the photographs by Stu Jenks on the front and back of this recording illustrate -- doesn't just travel around once, nor does it travel in only one direction. To be continued.

Steve Roach - Atmospheric Conditions (flac 339mb)

01 Underground Clouds Over A Secret Grotto 22:32
02 In The Heart Of Distant Horizons 12:58
03 In The Heart Of Distant Horizons 10:30
04 Two Rivers Dreaming 14:59
05 Two Rivers Dreaming 12:11

Steve Roach - Atmospheric Conditions  (ogg 155mb)

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Cass said...

What a superb Sundaze!
Thank you, Rho :)

The Spaniard said...

Hello, Rho:

Steve Roach's Slow Heat is such an atmospheric album. It makes me travel around the space with my mind. Thank you for uploading it. It somehow reminds me of Aphex Twin's Stone in Focus.

It heals my spirit.

I hope you have a good weekend.