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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH & JORGE REYES: The Ancestor Circle (2014)

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Each rock that Steve Roach turns in the desert releases a sonic perfume as we can't hear anywhere else! You doubt it? Try The Ancestor Circle

1 The Circle Opens 9:04 

2 Memories Unsuspended 24:49 

3 Espacio Escultorico 9:36 

4 Spirit, Stone and Bone 4:19 

5 Procession of Ancestors 10:20 

6 Temple of Dust 15:12

(CD/DDL 73:23) (V.F.)

(Tribal ambient music)

The circle opens with ululations. The howls of the winds. The Circle Opens temperate their scarlet screeches in a slow sonic tornado where the percussions croak like big bullfrogs and that the synth lines let filter sibylline chants that winds scurry with furrows of electric smoke. The rhythm is ambient. It waddles like a delicate contemplative tribal trance under the rustling of arrhythmic percussions, both tribal and organic. It rocks without ambitions, except to maintain its ambient effect under the humid breezes of dark caves where the voices of specters stroll. Like an astral journey where souls moisten the walls of memories, The Circle Opens introduces us to this unexpected collection of music forgotten in the vaults of Timeroom. THE ANCESTOR CIRCLE found its source when Steve Roach discovered a series of unreleased music recordings composed and performed with the late Mexican musician Jorge Reyes at the time of Vine, Bark & ​​Spore in the spring of 2000. The first four titles are taken from these sessions while the last two were developed in the spirit of May 2000. Steve Roach seasoned them with more contemporary sonic elements when he remixed them in these same studios in the summer of 2014. And the spirit of Jorge Reyes is there, without a shadow of a doubt. The high point of this compilation of forgotten songs is undoubtedly Memories Unsuspended, which seem to draw its inspiration from the music of the Suspended Memories trio where the duo Roach & Reyes united their moods with the textural guitar of Suso Saiz. The initial winds are born from the caves to travel on the desert plains where the songs of reptile shiver like the strings of crossbows. The winds whip these trembling percussions and blend with the shamanic chants while Memories Unsuspended displays a kind of crescendo constantly stunted by the force of static winds and these spectral voices which adorn a contemplative ambient tribal trance. The voices are at times powerful and disturbing, while the percussions, and their organic envelopes, seduce as much as these tides of winds which shake up the wild passivity of Memories Unsuspended. The title plunges into a kind of crazy tribal trance with wild incantations, loud winds and superb percussions, both tribal and organic, which rustle in an opera for desert's specters. And huge cavernous winds soothe the violence of immemorial spirits, slowing down the crusade of Memories Unsuspended which divides its last 10 minutes between rhythms abandoned to textural atmospheres and a rain of synth lines where meditative shamanic aromas and cabalistic colors of twilight merge into a fascinating symphony for forgotten ghosts. Each rock that Steve Roach flips to the desert gives off a sonic fragrance like nowhere else! Whether alone, with Vidna Obama, Byron Metclaf or Mark Seelig, the sorcerer of contemporary sounds always succeeds as much in dumbfounding as in seducing in a style of music where the lack of originality and emotions inevitably leads to boredom. And this is how THE ANCESTOR CIRCLE progresses. The ambient passages, in particular the superb Espacio Escultorico are constantly pecked by very good percussions and synth layers with harmonies and waves as poetic as sibylline. At this level, you should also hear Spirit, Stone and Bone and Procession of Ancestors to capture the full dimension of percussions, winds and strange chants that envelop the hypnotic arrhythmic movements of The Ancestor Circle. We really believe we are at the gates of a secret world that Roach portrays with the accuracy, the rectitude that we know of him. Ambient, enveloping and intense, Temple of Dust somewhat abandons orations and shamanic trances to offer us these sweet meditative soundscapes unique to Steve Roach's repertoire. It's the calm after a violent sonic storm where the meditative rhythms are far from being soporific.

Sylvain Lupari (November 4th, 2014) *****

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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