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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ROACH: Rasa Dance-The Music of Connection (2013)

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Rasa Dance-The Music of Connection is a nice, but too short compilation which is a must to those who want to discover Steve Roach's universe

1 Gone West 7:27  

2 Fate Awaits 8:29  

3 Nightshade 9:04  

4 Flatlands 4:55  

5 Merge 6:21  

6 Hearts Core 8:49  

7 Eye of Noche 13:19  

8 Where Rasa Lives 15:01

(DDL 73:29) (V.F.)

(Atmospheric, tribal, sequenced EM)

How many decades and eras crosses Steve Roach's career? How many albums, solo or in collaborations, fills this career? I say that like that; approximately 130 albums since the first movements of sequences on Now (I still haven't hear Moebius) since 1982 to today. Throughout these ages, Steve Roach has kissed all the styles that ambiospheric EM has been able to generate, going even into the ethnic rhythms and the spheres of Berlin School. Why this introduction to RASA DANCE-THE MUSIC OF CONNECTION? Because this last Steve Roach album, which is a kind of musical will about the relation between a horse (Tabula Rasa) and his master (Linda Kohanov), is a compilation, too short, of works and especially styles which mark out some periods as far as 1989.

Gone West, out of the album Dust to Dust in 1999, really plunges us into the plains of the American westerns with 7 ambiospherical minutes where rattlers and noises of the desert are lulled by an acoustic guitar and its worn-out chords which dust out the breaths of a solitary and melancholic harmonica. Fate Awaits from Truth and Beauty (also in 1999) is a long ambient passage where synths cry and rage with abandon in the dusts of the forsaken chords of a guitar which makes its notes stroll on the walls of an earth and of its tears of stones. A lesson on how ambient music can have a soul. We can really feel the first interactions man/horse with Nightshade (Soma with Robert Rich in 1999), of which the soft Amerindian tribal rhythm depicts this strange union where the horse let slowly tame by his new master. Flatlands, from the superb Desert Solitaire in 1989, brings us on horseback in the sinuous land ways of the American deserts which are encircled by these immense mountains with the sides as dangerous than mythical. If you don't possess this album yet, it's a big sin. The percussions, the gurglings of the synths, the semi spectral strata and the atmospheres are wonderful musical sketches of a world that we imagine only by the eye of a camera. Dreamlike and essential! Speaking of essential, what to say about Empetus (1986) of which the superb trance of sequences in Merge, sequences which flicker like some frenzied scissors snips in emptiness, can draw both the movements of a magic dance, a rebellion or a wild ride of a bloodstock in search of freedom? This is a great sequencing play. What seduces in this compilation is as much the selection of the tracks as their order of scrolling, weaving a surprising pattern where the rhythms and the atmospheres intertwine with a surprising correctness. So, after the wild rhythm of Merge, Hearts Core, from 2004's Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II, brings us back to this tribal touch with a shaman rhythm where the unchained percussions breathe of a strange organic life and the celestial voices implore some astral auras around a reddening fire. It's to us to imagine a link with the horse. Me, I see a passage towards another world, especially with the next 30 minutes when Eye of Noche, from New Life Dreaming in 2005, and Where Rasa Lives, out of Back to Life in 2012, submerge our senses of serene translucent and sibylline strata which mould the breaths caressing and annihilating the imprints, the vestiges of our passage, our past.

With all these albums which furnish the impressive musical fauna of Steve Roach, this compilation which makes the bridge between his 80's and 2010 years is a wind of freshness which calls back the origins of the American synthesist. Available in downloadable format only, RASA DANCE-THE MUSIC OF CONNECTION is an excellent means to get acquainted with the work of Roach because the selected tracks are magnificently ordered so that the ambiospherical structures, which can make run away those whom the music of Roach calls from the tips of the ears, pass as knocks of brushes which dust out the tribal and sequenced trances. The link with the horses? With Rasa? I leave that to your imagination. Because Steve Roach's magic is that we can have one thousand perceptions on his music, that there is always a link which unite them. A must to those who want to discover Steve Roach's universe.

Sylvain Lupari (July 15th, 2013) *****

Available at Steve Roach Bandcamp

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