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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Erik Wollo & Steve Roach Stream of Thought (2009)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Lovers of dark ambient music, sharpen your ears because here is an opus that will transport you beyond the limits of simple ambient music

1 Part I à XIX 70:00

(CD/DDL 70:00) (V.F.)

(Experimental ambient music)

At that time, 2009, I was starting to discover the universe of Erik Wollo, so I didn't really know all of its impact on this album he did with Steve Roach. I believe that it was their first collaboration and I was at my second entire year of writing reviews about EM. I formally started on April 2006 on the French Webzine Guts of Darkness and I was discovering a universe that was just outside the Atlantic horizon...Here is a translated and slightly upgraded version of this chronicle which appears in 2009 on GoD.

Lovers of dark and enveloping ambient music, sharpen your ears because here is an opus that will transport you beyond the limits of simple ambient music. STREAM OF TOUGHT is an ambient album nourished by impulse circular movements and encircled by synth and guitar loops which twist with persistence. An opus bringing together two great musicians who love to explore the sinuosities of musical caves and the remains of their heritage, creating music that combines tribal rhythms with chloroformed movements and hypnotic sequences that are seasoned with a wide range of synth and guitar layers. A music that emerges from ancestral memories for the purest pleasure for the ears fond of a music of lush atmospheres.

A long title divided into 19 parts, Stream of Tought starts off like a news broadcast. Clear and frantic tinkles dance in a continuous sequenced movement. They are carried around by a guitar with honeyed chords and surrounded by a synth with invading shadows. A moderate Empetus if I may say, but just as crystallized, which borrows very Steve Roach's circles of heavy reverberations in Part 2. A monstrous second part where the resonant circles multiply in nervous loops on a soft synth with spectral waves. We lose of our ears the musicality of these waves which seem to come from a synth / guitar fusion when these waves get transformed into spectral laments with the six-strings of Erik Wollo. Waves which undulate above a storm of organic white-noise, riddled with sound refractions with echoes eaten away by aggressive structures. These first 2 parts pave the way for a hybrid album where the rhythm meets passivity in a dark and stifled ambience, releasing tribal atmospheres which flourish on sequences of rythms created from a wide range of electronic percussions which are crafting the many paces of tribal dances. We are going from mainly ambient parts and some more energized up until Part 10 which stands out with a more electronic approach.

Knockings on the skins of drums draw a hypnotic structure enveloped in a charming synth veil. It's sweet, relaxing and alluring with these synth streaks that slowly modulate a strange melody of unknown lineage. The electronic approach becomes more eclectic on the following parts, forming a curious sea disturbed by waves which collide in a random way. A superb passage emerges which lasts nearly 7 minutes (Part XIII) with a movement spanning gently neurotic sequences, surrounded by a synth with spectral laments. A nice moment which recalls the first releases of Steve Roach (Part XVI too), especially with the presence of the synth streaks which overhang these jolts supported by the guitar with very ghostly ululations of Erik Wollo. Brief atmospheric parts follow which lead to rhythms waddling obediently between ambient passages, until the last part which concludes with a nervous cadenced approach on a superb guitar with dragging impulses and a sequenced structure which laps in a frivolous tender ambience.

With STREAM OF TOUGHT, the Steve Roach & Erik Wollo duo redefined ambient music. The so-called abstract music with an epic title which unfolds in an atmosphere of exquisite bipolarity where the fuzzy, clear and incisive rhythms are molded admirably to ambient passages, tinged with synth and guitars breaths and breezes that fly over a musical journey with outcomes as much surprising than unexpected.

Sylvain Lupari (October 10th, 2009) ***¾**

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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