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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH: Groove Immersion (2012)

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Groove Immersion is an album of concentration of rhythms and retention of emotions...

1 Part One 14:54

2 Part Two 22:07

3 Part Three 12:28

4 Part Four 24:25

(DDL 73:59) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient)

GROOVE IMMERSION is a musical experience as fascinating as sometimes confusing. It's a jumble of captive rhythms which throb under a sky laminated by layers and waves of synths which are floating in a post-apocalyptic chaos. It's a bit like going down a long river agitated by thousands of lapping that we cease to perceive so much we are bewitched by the winds, the breezes and the ululation of the synths. GROOVE IMMERSION has taken root in the land and tribal rhythms of Immersion Five-Circadian Rhythms. In fact, it's a sequel in the Immersion series, except that instead of captivating the listener in morphic and sleepy synth layers and waves, Steve Roach weaves an impressive rhythmic pattern where sequences, pulsations and percussions come together and intertwine in an intense immersive movement.

Strata and waves from synth are obscuring a sky sifted by resonant breaths while the finely drummed rhythm of Part One begins its long pulsatile odyssey. Meticulous, Steve Roach lays the foundations for a surprising rhythmic fauna where Mandala percussions resonate and vibrate thanks to an ingenious system of microphones placed inside the skins. Although agitated, the rhythm remains peaceful like a long linear movement with multiple weighted jolts. Equal to himself, the Californian synthesist embroiders a whole universe to his percussions by adding tones of an insectivorous fauna, like these gigantic millipedes with rubbery castanets that prowl throughout this organic-rhythmic immersion. Synth layers with ethereal mist tones float with a soporific slowness on this movement filled with related electronic tones, weaving a morphic envelope of varied tones. Parts of harmonies pierce this shroud, escaping lost chords which roam throughout the movement and entering our ears like musical worms which meander between the oneiric layers and some more threatening ones. So, these synth layers accumulate in a crescendo which marries the stationary rhythm of Part One to slip into the smoother rhythms of Part Two which, despite a drop in the flow speed, respects the rhythmic and harmonic premises of Part One. And so is GROOVE IMMERSION. The more we move in and the more we sink into a dark heaviness where the latent rhythm is immersed in layers and streaks which shape some surreal and sinister ambiences. Part Three is dark and surrounded by ghostly ululation, concealing a rhythm as active as in Part One. And if we pay attention to all this sound fauna we perceive this fragment of melody which always tries to pierce this heavy veil of rhythm and darkness. A bit like sunbeams lost in the depths of Roachian caves. This segment is the most intense of this album which ends in indecision with Part Four and its divided rhythm which crumbles under the enormous weight of the dark prismatic synth layers.

While we thought the Immersion series was extinct, Steve Roach gives it a second breathe with an album as spellbinding as Immersion Five-Circadian Rhythms. GROOVE IMMERSION is an album of rhythms' liberation and of emotion retention which can charm as much as disconcert. The ambiences are rich and creative, unique to the planetary and organic visions of the bard of the deserts with a thousand cerebral shapes. There is a lot of intensity in this work where everything seems disproportionate as Steve enjoys amplifying some of his sound experiences. And the experience is even more striking with headphones! It's some great Steve Roach! And there is no denying the spell that emanates from this long river bubbling with tribal rhythms. Rhythms that we lose our senses in, the sky is so sifted with copper tones.

Sylvain Lupari (April 18th, 2012) ****½*

Available at Timeroom Editions Bandcamp

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