STEVE ROACH: A Soul Ascends (2020)
Updated: Mar 5
“Another masterpiece, A Soul Ascends flirts dangerously with Steve's 84 classic and must be the new reference for 2000's ambient music”
1 The Radiant Return 32:14
2 In Present Space 16:01
3 Reflection in Ascension 25:42
(CD/DDL 73:58) (V.F.)
A delicate line of light radiates far into the depths of our speakers. From these to our ears, it's only a few seconds. It's already enough for the first wave of breaths which transform into slight buzzing assails our hearing. Twigs sparkle like filters of incandescent light, constantly reminiscent of the essences of Reflections in Suspension as they clump together in an opalescent wave to dance languidly with the amazing waves of sound that have formed without our noticing them. The universe of Steve Roach! As soon as our ears transmit to our subconscious these seraphic details of his arsenal of tonal colors, the rest already insidiously subjugate this need to disconnect from a lifestyle incompatible with the tranquility of his astral symphonies. And the waves of sounds continue to rock our illusions of a world of divinity by stretching out like heavenly bodies beside our emotions. Hugging them and making them waltz with our need for inner peace. Far from being monochord, these waves inspire a harmony floating with our murmurs where each sound expression that emerges from it becomes a pretext for us to stay in our fetal position. Between our emotional cortex and a Cosmos so close to our daily inspirations, the slow sound masses of The Radiant Return import this need to recharge our batteries through majestically shaped drones that float like astral jellyfish and their venom of serenity. Our senses follow our ears which seek this slightest signal which would disconnect us from this symphony for souls abandoned on the edges of our road-years. But we always come back to this need to redefine oneself in the axes of A SOUL ASCENDS.
Another ambient work from Steve Roach? Yes, and then after… After albums like Structures from Silence, The Magnificent Void, Sight of Ages and more recently Etheric Imprints, Steve Roach always finds a way to surpass himself and surpass our expectations with an album that moves us, that touches us deeply, a little as if we were absolutely waiting for the master of ambient textures to move on to another level of meditation. And A SOUL ASCENDS does it without problems. Without noticing it too much, our senses are now drifting with In Present Space. However, the transition took place with a tonal violence that took me by surprise. After these almost scarlet waves which rise like a horde of specters apprehending a collision between two spheres of serenity, the music exudes a greater duality with peaks of intensity which arouse our curiosity. And still, that cosmic owl cry brings us back to the earliest essences of The Radiant Return which is desperate to survive in the new spheres of cosmic turbulence of In Present Space. After the troubled visions of this title, the sleepy waves conceived at the beginning of the album take by storm the wonderful Reflection in Ascension which is without a doubt, with its ambient melody, the strong point of this album which flirts dangerously with the masterwork of Steve Roach, Structures from Silence.
A SOUL ASCENDS has become the new benchmark for ambient music of the 2000's. Never since his magical 1984 album, Steve has managed to reach such a high level of excellence. And despite all these little gems that he has since designed for us. The imposing waves of sounds enclose us so deeply, the cosmic elements charm us with their appearances as spontaneous as calculated and this ghostly oriental vision of Reflection in Ascension is quite simply invasive. And all this in a context of meditative music! Magical and not only essential, but necessary!
Sylvain Lupari (July 25th, 2020) *****
Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp