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STEVE ROACH: Molecules of Motion (2018)

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

“Year after year it's the same thing. I keep asking myself if Steve Roach has still something to say outside the ambient music. Molecules of Motion says to me YES!”

1 Molecules of Motion 24:21 2 Grace Meditation 23:39 3 Phase Reverie 10:11 4 Empath Current 15:02 Projekt | PROJEKT353

(CD-DDL 73:15) (V.F.) (Ambient sequencer music)

That old wizard of sounds! Inexhaustible and simply delicious for the ears, whether in ambient music or animated by sequencers, Steve Roach returns with another album of original music in MOLECULES OF MOTION. We read the title and we look at the cover, and already we have a vague idea of its content. But I never thought that the color and the design of the tones would fit to the spirit of its front cover.

The title-track gradually and slowly breaks the silence with a movement coming from beneath the ground. An immense sonic vertebra emerges, and its fluid movement begins to produce a series of magnetizing sinusoidal loops. These loops undulate in a choreography for multi-colored oscillating lines with a panoply of sequences of which some possess organic tones as well as deformed shadows which play constantly on the nuances of this horizontal spiral-shaped rhythm. Unlikely, a kind of melody, ingenious weaver of earworm, gets fixed between our ears, like the effect of a kaleidoscope and its labile loops which come and go tirelessly. The rhythm is nervous in its helix structure. It's wriggled even at times like a spasmodic dance of scissors whose brief blows hatch the long-sequenced vertebra which tirelessly takes back its shape, going so far as to flirt with more floating passages. Synth layers house at the top of this decor slightly influenced by a psybient kind, but a little more edible for timorous ears. These layers are much more present, and their forms are more accentuated in Grace Meditation which takes the structure of Molecules of Motion, but in a slightly more ambient form, even closer to the meditation. The tones of the sequences still shiver with resonant colors and the slowness of the movement allows us to hear the vast sample of sonic distortions which eventually hatches into a fascinating chaotic melody. The echo forges gyratory forms which come and go, suggesting a meditative pause. Phase Reverie releases an anesthetic phase with a panoply of synth veils which intertwine with different tones, including a totally buzzing, to form the basis of a morphic ballet. The signature of the ambient works of Steve Roach is more apparent here. The sizzling tones live like reclusive sounds, like sonorous hermits who go from home to home in order to find this tonal brotherhood sparkling with brightness in the first two titles of MOLECULES OF MOTION. A quiet and very effective title that puts us in the spirit of Structures from Silence. Despite its more hectic pace, we cannot exclude Empath Current of the same equation. The sequences sparkle with more vitality, cutting out the moods of continuous leaps and bounces, while the synth pads spread sleepy textures and veils of suave and floating voices. A very beautiful title which concludes an album up to the expectations that we can have with respect to Steve Roach.

After Skeleton's work, I wondered what would be Steve Roach's next step? Would he still be able, after all these years of creativity, to surprise an audience that simply asked to be reassured by his presence and his works? We must believe that yes since MOLECULES OF MOTION is a splendid album from first to last note. This album is teeming with these ambient and semi-ambient rhythms which are the signature of Steve Roach. Except that here the movements of quarrel between this fascinating variety of tones in the arpeggios which sculpt these oscillating discords are simply enjoyable for the ears. As in the tones of Skeleton Keys. So, Steve Roach still has this gift to surprise again. And I still have this feeling of repeating myself when I talk about a new album from the Arizona's Wizard of sounds. Brilliant!

Sylvain Lupari (June 14th, 2018) *****

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