STEVE ROACH: Etheric Imprints (2015)
“How can't we be seduced by an album which mixes the ambient perfumes of The Delicate Forever, the Immersion series and the great Structures from Silence?”
1 Etheric Imprints 29:44 2 Indigo Shift 12:07 3 Holding Light 17:15 4 The Way Forward 14:49 Projekt | PRO319
(CD/DDL 73:56) (V.F.) (Deep Ambient EM)
After all this time, how Steve Roach can have something to charm us? Through good times and bad and from album to album, the magician of cerebral waves always succeeds in raising his works at a level that few have reached. And when they make it, it's only for the time of one album. After his very interesting incursion in the universe of the ambient rhythms finely shaken by the delicious movements of sequences of the modular Synthesizer System, the bard of the intimately introspective atmospheres returns this time with an opus of purely meditative music. ETHERIC IMPRINTS proposes 4 long tracks where the sound elements sculpt the imprints of instruments that our ears recognize throughout their slow dying vibrations. It's a monument of tranquility where the shadows float roguishly, a little as to half-open the doors of another universe of perceptions
The very long title-track opens with a kind of rustle which melts into a heavy sinister shadow. Some people will hear a long muffled drone or a stringed instrument which tortures its soul and complains slowly in guttural breezes, while others will perceive only the reverberations of the shadows which fall in the notes of a forsaken piano. The magic of Roach operates straightaway with this way that he has to stack his notes, and especially their shadows, in a sound mosaic which often wants to be a posology against the constant race against time which little by little crumbles our life. Here the atmospheres are as much immersive as in the Immersion series, but with the reflections of the notes of a very meditative piano. Notes which fall in a endless gap and decorate the walls where whisper the rustles of huge shadows and cry the reverberations of the lines of an absolutely black synth. Lines which will always agglutinate all along the track like a thick cloud of threatening shadows. Indigo Shift aims to be the mirror image of Etheric Imprints. Here the notes of the piano are becoming shadows, while the synth lines spread a sibylline aura with a heap of sonic graffiti which weaken their lines into long lethal kisses. The ambiences are heavy. So much that we lose of ears the reflections of the piano keys. The layers wrap us with a powerful curtain of sounds filled of scarlet lamentations and where roams an appearance of cacophony which perturbs the ambiences of Indigo Shift, contrary on the title-track which aims to be a slow cerebral sexual intercourse of which the only orgasm remains the reaching of our level of peace of mind. After this long sibylline ambient ode, Holding Light is the music piece which is closer of Steve Roach's usual ambient elegies. The happiness is in our ears! The color of the sounds is rich with some slow and long layers of synth which float and roll like some astral waves. A little more and we deviate towards the secrets of Structures from Silence. Thus, how can't we fall under the charms of Holding Light? The Way Forward doesn't go too far from the musicality of Holding Light by presenting a structure which mixes superbly both extremes of ETHERIC IMPRINTS. The textural envelope of the synth lines throws a cosmic wave while the lamentations, more visible here than on Etheric Imprints, are really sounding as a cello that we caress with a lead bow. It's slow and it's heavy while that other synth lines, more lively here, roll calmly, like these last waves which unwind the last fits of anger of the oceans.
Literally split into two visions, ETHERIC IMPRINTS is Ying and the Yang of an ode where the contrasts are intimately connected by the needs for each other. As much it's sibylline, as much it's seraphic. And it's also something big from Steve Roach who mixes skillfully the fragrances of The Delicate Forever to the black moods of the Immersion series while tickling the ghosts of Structures from Silence. And let's admit with such an arsenal, we can only be totally bewitched! Magical and astonishing, this is what Steve Roach is giving us since years.
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2015) *****
Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp