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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Steve Roach Journeys to the Infinite (2020)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

A great compilation of ambient tribal music from an artist who offered so many unbelievable textures of EM for totally free? Go grab this jewel!

1 Flatlands 4:55

2 Artifacts 12:21

3 Realm of Refraction 11:19

4 Neural Connection 12:07

5 Skeleton Passage 15:20

6 Vortex 8 10:49

7 Indigo Moon 5:39

8 Longing to Be 10:10

(DDL 82:25) (V.F.)

(Tribal ambient, Dark ambient)

What good memories! It was then that I was looking for A Story from the Rain, a composition by Richard Burmer that was regularly played on a New Age Radio waves here in Montreal on Sunday evenings, that I discovered the world of Steve Roach. It was on the Western Spaces album. The seller from Sam the Record Man had sold me Desert Solitaire (1989), saying it was the Canadian version of Western Spaces. Obviously, this was not entirely true. There was no A Story from the Rain, but I immediately hooked on this strange organic music and this vision of the end of the world in it. It was Flatlands! What a good souvenir and what a wonderful piece of music! Quietly, I devoured Desert Solitaire, opening the door to the majestic universe of Steve Roach. Assembled by Marius-Christian Burcea as part of an interview with Steve for his weekly podcast, JOURNEYS TO THE INFINITE is a particularly good collection that spans 33-years of career of the American musician. And the least we can say is that the interviewer strongly insisted on the approaches of tribal rhythmic trances, it's the goal of his podcast, with a series of lively titles which allowed me to discover facets of some albums that I still hadn't heard. What do you want, Steve has so many!

Artifacts follows this bend with synth waves that incubate these organic pulsations gurgling with Aboriginal percussions. This title from the album Origins in 1993 highlights the hypnotic guitar loops of Suso Sáiz. More intense and more animated, Realm of Refraction is taken from an album that I had not yet discovered from Steve, Light Fantastic. Neural Connection is another little-known title for me and offers a slightly slower approach with series of rhythmic loops suspended to the sound effects from the deserts' wizards or even the old sages of the aboriginal tribes. This is a title that comes to us from the Blood Machine album produced in 2001. We take a big step back in time with Skeleton Passage from the album Live in Tucson: Pinnacle Moments. An album that I highly recommend! By the way, everything that revolves around this masterpiece that is Skeleton Keys is essential. Vortex 8 initiates the ambient side of JOURNEYS TO THE INFINITE. Ambient music from Steve Roach means heavy, dark music tied around reverberating breezes. That's Dark Ambient music! This title comes from the album Alive In the Vortex. An ambient title with long organic oscillatory movements that end in a long phase of dark breezes. Indigo Moon from the wonderful Trance Archeology follows in the same spirit of tranquility, just like Longing to Be which brings us back 10 years earlier with the very ambient and tenebrous album Sigh of Ages.

A compilation of Steve Roach on a CD and 82 minutes of music is ridiculously unrepresentative of his great career. I understand that it's within the framework of a podcast and that the idea will make its way towards a true compilation. But the stake is enormous! Steve has released more than 75 albums since Now in 1982. But the beauty behind JOURNEYS TO THE INFINITE is that it is available for free on Steve's Bandcamp site. Where other treasures are also offered free of charge and others are at friend's prices 😉

Sylvain Lupari (30/04/20) *****

Available at Timeroom Bandcamp

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