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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Steve Roach Live at SoundQuest Fest 2021

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

This is wonderful EM that we can listen too as well as seeing the show on YouTube

1 Movement 1 9:58

2 Movement 2 25:57

3 Movment 3 14:02

4 Movement 4 10:55

(CD/DDL 60:53) (V.F.)

(Pacific School Tribal Ambient)

Steve Roach has somewhat demystified the greatness of his character, as he has democratized his style with the concerts he gave in 2020 and 2021. Some of them were posted on YouTube as part of a global movement where each artist performed in their own studio. LIVE AT SOUNDQUEST 2021 was one such event held on March 27, 29 and 29. The mission of this recent SoundQuest Fest was to create 3 days of global connection, conviviality, and inspiration through the power of sound and vision during this unique and magical moment that will make history. Without falling into the trap of being a flat-earther in front of this important moment that we owe to the team of Steve Roach, who is behind the first SoundQuest Fest in 2010, we can say that it's a successful mission when we see the impressive line-ups of artists invited from around the world. From Steve Roach (USA) to Ian Boddy (UK) without forgetting Erik Wollo (Norway) and a host of American musicians, this global event was also televised and recorded on Steve Roach's YouTube channel. So much for the preamble!

Steve's performance was presented a few days before the launch of As It Is. So, there are some of its flavors, especially in the evolution of the rhythms. The performance of the album can also be viewed in its entirety on YouTube, so we can see the musician-magician sculpting the very ambient Movement 1. It's with the Moog One that Steve builds the steps of this ambient track whose passion is felt by the emotions of the musician transposed to these magic fingers. It's purely ambient and it's very beautiful! Movement 2 is the longest sequence of this album. It has a slow introductory flow with synth pads echoing over the keyboard. The shadows are forming moving structures that give a prismatic aspect to this track that also releases voiceless incantations of the same ilk. Weepy, these pads are a source of ambient and static rhythm. And it's a few seconds before the 7-minute mark that the rhythm appears with a series of sequenced arpeggios that spin with a resonant trickle to create an ambient upward motion. Steve Roach exploits the rhythmic setting around this hypnotic movement that sometimes thwarts our auditory captivity with an arpeggio either removed or simply placed elsewhere in these magnetizing loops. If the drone waves project an aura of anxiety, the ones with more celestial voices and synth layers provide a good counterbalance while the rhythmic loops increase their speed. This is how the movement starts to shimmer, melting the pads to the arpeggios that turn into a mega kaleidoscope to become a few minutes later an impressive rhythmic web that takes us out of our hypnotic state. The bass layers project a chill of terror, while clearer sequences tinkle a harmonic string in this duel where Steve Roach takes out an e-guitar to carve these hootings of fright. The musician controls our emotions by constantly increasing the power and intensity of Movement 2 which lands with a bang in Movement 3.

The weight of the bass sequences still hums and sounds like a double bass vibrating its bass notes in this swirl of clear sequences that continues to flow, like a mini dam released from its tension. The hesitant sneaky approach needs more percussions, more manual ones it seems, which adds a more electronic tribal depth to the track. The rhythm of Movement 3 runs out of steam as it crumbles from its pulses very slowly until the 11th minute when the drones have already been occupying the ambiences for 7 seconds. There remains only the bass sequences and their sly walk which staggers under nice and bright synth layers. We hear again these nasal pads of Movement 1 and the circular movement of the clear sequences flowing the last moments under these deafening drones. And then boom! Movement 4 explodes with the combination of heavy bass, organic electronic percussions (which seems to suck you in) and moiré finished sequences. Steve pushes the adventure of LIVE AT SOUNDQUEST 2021 into the aboriginal lands of his nation with this splendid rhythm made of creativity that shakes our eardrums, like a leaf pushed by fierce and violent winds. There are always these so welcoming synth layers to warm up the ambiences overheated by the hypnotic trance of this clan rhythm sequence. These synth layers that call for the avalanche to counter this rhythm at the 5-minute mark, letting Steve complete this journey of LIVE AT SOUNDQUEST 2021 like he had started it in the 10 minutes of Movement 1.

This is some great Steve Roach my friends, you can see and understand this architect of modern sounds building an electronic symphony from a sound shadow of his Moog synthesizer. What a genius and what music! You can see it all on this link LIVE AT SOUNDQUEST 2021.

Sylvain Lupari (August 25th ,2021) ****½*

Available at Timeroom Direct Bandcamp

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