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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH: Afterlight (2009)

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

A quiet album nourished of superb synth strata animated by an airy life

1 Afterlight 73:54

(DDL 73:54) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

The year 2009 will have been one of sweet tranquility for our favorite American synthesist. Without breaking anything, nor even caressing the walls of sounds, Steve Roach will have made 4 albums of an absolute quietude, if we except the soft tribal rhythms of Destination Beyond. In fact, AFTERLIGHT floats in the limits of the psychic paranormal, keeping far away from encroaching on the dark meditative paths of his Immersion series.

Like a sonic mist blowing through the crystalline stigma of a forgotten world in obsessive torment, Afterlight flows with a synthesized smoothness that is strangely reminiscent of the superb layers and intoxicating pads of Structures from Silence. A long epic track of 74 minutes, Afterlight subtly undulates under a sea of synth waves and layers. Semi-crystalline and semi-spectral layers that blend with the various psychedelic artifacts that the magic of closed eyes can create throughout this long journey without destination. And that's what characterizes AFTERLIGHT from the Immersion series. The album bubbles with a mysteriously quiet life, but strangely animated by the many undulations of a synth as serene than melodious. A synth that intertwines its waves and lines of various sonic variances, moving from dark passages to passages that are distinctly more intense. In doing so, Afterlight becomes a peaceful musical journey fed by slow and multiple oscillations that hover in a sonority with clear paradoxes. It's as if the shadows were bickering with clarity, both in hues and in forms.

For the umpteenth time, Steve Roach thwarts the placid rectitude of long astral sound travels. AFTERLIGHT boils with an intense life marked by a poetic serenity so much its intimist vibrations are moving and poignant. A good album, quiet certainly, but nourished of superb synth strata animated by an airy life, like the soft dreams that one shapes during periods of depression. Beautiful and good, it redirects me towards Structures from Silence of which it would be necessary for me to describe you all the majesty... one of these days!

Sylvain Lupari (January 6th, 2010) *****

Available at Timeroom Direct Bandcamp

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