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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH: Day out of Time (2012)

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

This is a nice compilation of titles scattered in time that we can see, but especially hear, with the incredible depth of a film which offers us the Dolby Digital

1 Underground Clouds 5:04

2 Begins Looking Skyward 6:20

3 Walking Upright 6:49

4 This Life 4:35

5 The Dreamer Descends 11:40

6 True West 3:05

7 The Holy Dirt 7:29

8 Merciful Eyes 4:54

9 Two Rivers Dreaming 4:48

10 The Eternal Expanse 10:10

11 The Return 8:22

Time of the Earth The Movie 77:00

1 Underground Clouds 0:49

2 Begins Looking Skyward 4:16

3 Walking Upright 6:30

4 Sound Of Stone 5:20

5 This Life 1:08

6 The Dreamer Descends and True West 4:46

7 The Holy Dir 14:42

8 Merciful Eyes 7:38

9 The Eternal Expanse 9:4110 The Return 9:53

11 The Return 7:37

12 The Dream Circle 4:35

Time of the Earth: avec The Dream Circle Audio Track 73:57

(CD/DVD 149:27) (V.F.)

(Ambient, Tribal Ambient)

The adventure of DAY OUT OF TIME and TIME OF THE EARTH began at the end of the 90's. The film maker and documentary maker Steve Lazur patrolled the immense American western deserts to satisfy his16mm camera of films radiating of striking images. This filmographic route through time lasted over a period of 3 years. Afterward the American cineaste proposed his images to the music of Steve Roach, a pioneer of soundscapes who depicts with a profound poetic glance these immense areas of solitude which cover the Western United States. This unexpected union was going to give TIME OF THE EARTH (the movie released on September 21st, 2001) and DAY OUT OF TIME, a Steve Roach compilation album (released November 2002) among which the titles selected from epic albums such as Early Man, Atmospheric Conditions and Dreamtime Return, as well as varied compilations from hard to find material), would dance with Lazur's images of clay. These separate works got scattered in time until they ended out of print and untraceable. Ten years later Sam Rosenthal gathers both works, restored and remasterised them to offer the whole conceptual work in a nice eco-cardboard artwork where the beauty of Lazur's images can be now brought wherever we go; in thoughts or in journeys through the ages of the deserts of the mythical American West.

The desert is a barren land whipped by dry winds and this is how Underground Clouds begins this odyssey through the American arid lands. Winds as hot as this terracotta crisscross the plains that are lost in the horizon. They blow at varying speeds, penetrating the great stigmas of giant boulders that change the auditory current into subtle Aeolian streamers, as Roach brushes his zephyr cult with fine organic elements that gently marinate under slow throaty drones and percussion / scattered pulsations that breathe invisible life into these Californian deserts. Less dark, Begins Looking Skyward and Walking Upright (both from Early Man) float with satisfied gaze on a land whose beauty can only be grasped as the crow flies. The synth layers which float release a celestial force which goes hand in hand with the majestuosity of the clay landscapes. The first rhythms of DAY OUT OF TIME are heard halfway through Walking Upright. It's a rhythm usual to those of Steve Roach with fine Amerindian percussions which draw a slow spiritual trance through the slender lines of a synth which slams like a strobe whip. And the more we advance in this compilation, as well as in the DVD, the more we feel the attachment of the filmmaker and the musician for these lands of desolation. Roach's music is equal to what the American synthesist was composing at the time, long and sinuous synth lines whose rainbow-colored breezes are entangled in an ultimate magma of rich opaline tones on fine and delicate rhythms which embrace the lunar trances of the peoples of the first nations. These musical landscapes, as in This Life, cast mixed eyes on lands that retreat to their earthly sacrifices. These ambient phases are shaken by rhythms sometimes weighed down by deep pulsations while the tribal percussions are sometimes seasoned with more electronic elements, like in This Life and the powerful True West, a rare track that we found on a mini LP entitled The Dreamer Descends, whose title-track and its paranoid whispers, its magic flutes and its heavy tribal percussions, is also reproduced on this astonishing compilation. The Holy Dirt offers a more fluid rhythm where trance aboriginal incantations float on percussions and a bass line as round as heavy. Merciful Eyes, another rare title from a compilation entitled A Storm of Drones, is a splendid contemplative ode propelled by calm and serene winds that transient sonic elements disturb with the aridity of the chimes of the deserts. Subsequently, Two Rivers Dreaming, The Eternal Expanse (another rarity that nests on an out of print compilation) and The Return (from the mythical Dreamtime Return) conclude DAY OUT OF TIME with a surprising angelic serenity for an album that depicts the arid lands of the American West.

In spite that the images of the DVD suffer from the wear of time and from the possible points of comparison with the filmic technologies of today, TIME OF THE EARTH draws its beauty and its power through the rhythms and ambiances of Steve Roach music which, mixed in Dolby Digital Stereo, takes an incredible ambiophonic depth. It's like listening to another version of DAY OUT OF TIME so much the musical reliefs are incredibly defined. The restoration of the images is precise, so much and so well that we have the vague impression to view the plans of a scale-model of an extraterrestrial world. The colors are of fire and the filming is breathtaking, testifying of the film-maker's audacity to make us travel through these immense rocks hand-crafted which give a striking lunar approach to these lands of aridity. The music adopts well enough the plans of view and the scrolling of the images which flow like aerial currents, except for those trances moments which are too often move on static shooting. But the contrasting effect is always within the reach of a strange poetry which scatters its stanzas in the winds. And like on most of the works remixed on the Projekt label contain surprises, this DVD edition offers another audio track which parades on the same images; THE DREAM CIRCLE. It's another opus from Steve Roach's catalog (Soundquest Recordings - LTD 1, 1994) which is out of print and fits stunningly very well to the images of TIME OF THE EARTH.

DAY OUT OF TIME is a splendid CD / DVD combo which is a real foray into the ancestral musical territories of Steve Roach. If the images of Lazur suffer from time and its technologies, Steve's music remains of a contemporary depth. Navigating between 1995 and 2000, this music bypasses the ages as it crisscrosses the clay landscapes of which the camera shots get more pride from the music than the opposite. But whatever, the result is a superb compilation of titles scattered in the meanders of time that we can see, but above all hear, with the incredible cinematic depth that Dolby Digital offers us. A delight, both for the eyes and especially the ears!

Sylvain Lupari (July 23rd, 2012) *****

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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