STEVE ROACH: LiveStream-The Desert Eternal (2020)
Updated: Mar 5
“LiveStream The Desert Eternal ends in beauty another fantastic year for us from Steve Roach”
1 Night Cloud 9:17
2 Structures from Silence 10:16
3 Mercurius Spirit 8:32
4 Mystic Chords 17:10
5 Prometheus Rising 18:20
6 Heart of Fire 22:17
7 Continents Edge 6:39
8 Songline 10:18
9 The Lair of Ancients 8:45
10 Circular Ceremony 23:34
(DDL 135:12) (V.F.)
(Ambient, Tribal Ambient)
Steve Roach had another great year in 2020. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the adage in 2020 was to reinvent yourself. And that, Steve understood it well by offering concerts performed in his studio-home, the Timeroom. LIVESTREAM 09 26 2020 THE DESERT ETERNAL is the result of one of these concerts. We follow Steve Roach establishing his sonic terrain in order to bring us to climaxes that are unique to his ambient textures. It's also Steve's second live album this year, the other being the excellent The Sky Opens which contains much the same setlist.
Night Cloud is an unreleased track which sounds strangely like the slow, long winged caresses of Structures from Silence. Sound pearls ring with their incandescent colors throughout this morphic symphony darted with synth riffs and sparkling of the secret excitations which give it its slow impulses. Structures from Silence stick perfectly to this secret life that has passed from the Timeroom studio on this magical evening at the end of September. I find that Mercurius Spirit is better developed than its first version that we find on The Sky Opens. Less dark than the elements of the Mercurius album, the title blossoms in the same register as Structures from Silence with a little dark tint. Mystic Chords is a great intense title with this litany of the piano in an obscure monastic ambience. Indeed, the chords are illuminated. I love it when the title swerves to embrace the phantom whispers of Structures from Silence. We are in the excellent ambient music of Steve Roach who is very inspired on Mystic Chords that he nevertheless guides towards a darker second part and a final inspired by his organic heritage. Quite simply divine, Prometheus Rising offers a nebulous introduction with circular synth breaths slowly rotating like a flashing light that we manipulate with our hands in order to illuminate this intimidating rattlesnake fauna. Intimidating like this rhythm which hatches around the 4th minute.
We are in the Sacred Lands of a new Dreamtime Return to which Steve adds this new chapter. The bassline is like this giant beasts feeding on these rattlesnakes and other insects with magnetizing chirps. It's also the chant of wizards feeding on the inspiration of this hypnotic trance which is accompanied by chants of wolves from another world. The ambiences get more intimidating with the hoots of gurus in their wolf skins struggling like devils in holy water. Percussions get in in order to give more energy to this pagan trance rhythmic structure. It's 18 minutes of pure happiness with an ambient finish that blends into the Heart of Fire setting. This last title, which is totally unknown to me, breathes the airs of Prometheus Rising in a less wild rhythmic structure but which still remains quite incantatory. The bass line shakes the shamanic bells which dictate the tune to be followed by a choir for dead souls. It's a slow and captivating track that gets sucked in by a long 5-minute final towards the confines of Continents Edge, another track that is unknown to me and whose evasive harmonies on tribal percussions draws us irremediably in the territories of Structures from Silence, the album. Continents Edge has very close links with The Continent that we also find on The Sky Opens. Its ambient tribal rhythm is delicately shaken by clay percussions while being covered with nice chloroform layers. Taken from Dreamtime Return, Songline has the same effect with its frantic percussions drummed by the percussionists of the tribe, while the didgeridoo releases its pagan incantation. Although more intense and mysterious, we can compare The Lair of Ancients to Time of the Ancients from The Sky Opens. And unlike this album, Circular Ceremony stretches its moods to lie down on a good texture of ambient rhythm in a superb version reworked from top to bottom, closing an album as beautiful and more dominant than The Sky Opens. Wonderful Steve Roach!
Sylvain Lupari (02/03/21) *****
Available at Timeroom Bandcamp