STEVE ROACH: Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II (2004)
“The desert atmospheres are always present with these tribal percussions divinely drummed by Byron Metcalf's visions”
1 The Wounded Healer 9:20
2 Energy Well 7:17
3. Opening the Space 6:18
4 Heart's Core 8:53
5 Fires Burning 9:03
6 Metamorphic 9:59
7 Holding the Space 21:23
(DDL 72:17) (V.F.)
A little in the same fever as Fever Dreams I, The Wounded Healer opens with a slow rhythm where the percussions seem to be out of breath. The atmosphere is still as dark there on layers of synth floating with intriguing streaks which sail on a sea of very adjusted sound effects. FEVER DREAMS II is a worthy addition to its predecessor. The tribal side is more spectral thanks to the superb and bewitching vocals of Jennifer Grais as well as this magnetizing flute by Mark Seelig. These two elements add an astonishing ancestral depth to the tribal-ambient prismatic music of Steve Roach.
Energy Well is a slowly evolving title that picks up speed on the rails of a virtual train. The magic operates on good percussions which break the rhythm and of a fluty synth which produces the reverberations of a chimney spitting out its fumarole. The finish is low-key, just enough to introduce the heavy buzzes of Opening the Space. A totally hallucinating title with its heavy clamors which push like the wind, striking and entering with heaviness in cavernous sinuosities. Jennifer Grais' voice, which blends in with arid breaths, is custom sculpted for ambient music. Like an arid river, the finale throws itself into the fiery trances of Heart's Core which shakes like a mad neurotic pulse. Grais' lamentations blend sensually into obscure layers that blacken a surreal desert atmosphere. A bit like Energy Well, Fires Burning slowly evolves on floating and drifting strata which become smoother as the seconds eat up its moods and its progression. The fusion of the synth and vocal breaths give a spiritual dimension that we can easily imagine our body drifting around a campfire in one of its deserts with hallucinogenic smoke in our lungs. There is no denying it, Roach masters his rhythm and his evolution through the superb percussions of Byron Metcalf. Following this principle, Metamorphic is more spasmodic with nervous and feverish chords as well as good sound effects. Holding the Space is a long tribal fair where the rhythm is slow, a bit like Moved Beyond in Fever Dreams I, and where the percussions are in contrast with the soaring layers of the synth.
You liked Fever Dreams I? You will love this FEVER DREAMS II. The heavy, dark and desert atmospheres are always present there, as well as these tribal percussions divinely sculpted by the skillful visions of Byron Metcalf. The only notable difference is the voice of Jennifer Grais who brings a unique dimension to this work by Steve Roach. This is some great Steve Roach that we have here!
Sylvain Lupari (March 8th, 2008) ****½*
Available at Timeroom Editions Bandcamp