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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH: At the Edge of Everything (2013)

At the Edge of Everything is a fascinating musical odyssey at the heart of the mysticism of Steve Roach's aboriginal visions

1 The Edge Opens 15:26 2 Serpents Rebirth 12:24 3 Hyperpassage 9:48 4 Cloudwatching with the Trancemaker 15:28 5 Crossroads of Three 5:43 6 Apparition Collabration 7:29 7 Refractions of Remembering 7:11 Timeroom Edition | TM29

(CD/DDL 73:35) (V.F.) (Tribal ambient EM)

Recorded during the famous E-Live festival in Netherlands in 2000, AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING propels us in the furious, static but furious, tribal rhythms of Steve Roach's clanic trance and shamanic era. Accompanied of Jeffrey Fayma, on Frame Drums, and of Vidna Obmana, on Fujara and overtone flutes, Steve Roach gave quite a whole performance of rhythms and tribal atmospheres to the hallucinogenic aromas about which the spectators still speak about it on social networks about 14 years later.

And from the first minutes of The Edge Opens we are immersed of these rhythms and atmospheres where shamanic wizards seize of the corporal envelopes of Roach, Fayma and Obmana. These ambiences are black, starred of blue and crossed by translucent streaks which squeak under the weight of a static rhythm. A thick cloud of percussions is thundering, as it's muttering, some passive thunders while shamanic rattlers are calling for a strange cataleptic dance where our magnetized spirits roam between an industrial world (I hear trains) and a totally organic universe. The percussions kiss wooden tones. Wood which bangs together and tinkle to form a stillness rhythm which is more noisy than moving. Shouts and pantings forge a heathen atmosphere while that quietly the whole structure of The Edge Opens spreads its shade with an intriguing ambiosonic setting where noises of all kinds emerge over tremulous percussions which shiver around more sober ones whose knocks click with the precision of a metronome. Hoarse breaths and howlings of possessed are covering this rhythm became by then as much hyperactive than passive which quietly calms down and enters into an immense ambiospherical painting where rattlers excite a heavy of bass line which spits its poison full of gurgling under the waves of a synth tinted of black. Mysterious and mesmerizing, The Edge Opens lays down the main lines of AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING with flexible rhythms which thunder, rumble and swirl such as lassos thrown in ambiences stuffed of organic noises, ethereal cawing and synth lines filled of desert dust which tear more the meditative approaches than they decorate them with serenity. The duel between the pagan rhythms and those more refined, between the shamanic ambiences and those electronic adds an eclectic dimension which makes all the charm of this last sonic legacy from Roach. Each track alternates between its moods and its rhythms with a fragility that exhilarate the listening.

The first minutes of Serpents Rebirth are livened up by drums of which the rollings are made by repetitive waves. The ambiences are less black and less aggressive than on The Edge Opens but the rhythm is more alert. He eventually gets quieter in thesecond half, plunging Serpents Rebirth into a meditative phase where dark winds cross a serenity worried by hootings of spectres who shake their rattlers in a sonic broth soaked of composite noises which are very far from facilitating a quiet peace of mind. After this ambiosonic wave, Hyperpassage crawls hypocritically under the gurglings of the Frame Drum. This part is spectacular. You have to hear the rhythm rises like the helixes of a helicopter over a sonic tundra which stays calm in spite of the appearances of a storm. We hear like the centipedes of an industrial myriad rolling over a structure of rhythm which gets lost in dusty winds and in more enveloping astral waves to return with more strength under the singings of these synths which are very discreet in this jungle of aboriginal rhythms splendidly orchestrated by the Roach & Fayna tandem. Cloudwatching with the Trancemaker also rocks between these moods and these aboriginal rhythms. We attend to a duel of flutes and didge which weaves a thick cloud of mystic mist and introduces a kind of shaman incantation of which the last rustles remain suspended between the waves of synths and the balls of rattlers which roll in an imperceptible rhythmic shape which floats beneath the caresses of a synth to the hot, soothing and wrapping winds. And the tom-toms to be reborn. This time the rhythm is superbly more sustained as on The Edge Opens with a crescendo which thunders and rolls and of which the mixture embroiders a charming trance under the singings of wizards and aurora borealis drawn by synth waves and of their astral movements. Undoubtedly, it's the key point of AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING which sees its rhythmic phases beat with a hypnotic sweetness in Crossroads of Three and its breezes and witches' rustles which frighten and dies out in the soft flutes of Apparition Collabration which sing under a sky darkened by synth waves and resounding didge and finally keep silent in the most astral, peaceful and poetic piece of music of the album; Refractions of Remembering.

With its rhythms and its ambiences to the dramatic crusades of which the skillful crescendo awakens constantly the listening and sets ablaze the sonic curiosity, with this meshing of percussions to the tones so impressive and as much eclectic than esoteric under a sonic sky covered of synth layers with a dimension that only the unknown can claims the paternity; AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is a fascinating musical odyssey at the heart of the mysticism of Steve Roach's aboriginal visions. The show must have been impressive to see. There are only left the sounds, the music. But it's sculptured with so much passion that we can easily imagine much more than what the spectators saw. A masterful work, period!

Sylvain Lupari (April 3rd, 2014) *****

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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