STEVE ROACH: Shadow of Time (2016)
“What do I find interesting in the ambient music of Steve Roach? It answers my needs to reach this state of mind which allows me to rest”
1 Shadow of Time 38:07 2 Night Ascends 23:48 3 Cloud of Knowing 11:54 Projekt | PRO00334
(CD/DDL 73:49) (V.F.) (Ambient and immersive EM)
Because both works were closely bound, I have listened This Place to Be and SHADOW OF TIME back to back for the last 2 days. And if the exercise seemed to me sometimes weighty, I saw the light there. In fact, I heard the sound there. The sound of the silence! The sound of the void! Being the master in the art to modulate winds, to make sing the murmurs of the silence or to make glitter the shadows of caverns, Steve Roach gets back with another monument of dark ambient and meditative music. And like every time, the exercise implies to establish points of comparison with the ultimate masterpieces in the genre; Structures from Silence and Quiet Music. But is not exactly Structures from Silence, or still Quiet Music, what we wish. If in the past albums such as This Delicate Forever, Etheric Imprints and most recently Emotion Revealed seemed to sound like a return to basics for Steve Roach, the Californian synthesist has always took a small distance to avoid the traps of the comparison. Often, he has flirted with these borders. And often we had the impression that some albums supplanted the astonishing beauty of these two works. Arising as far as this time, SHADOW OF TIME answers Steve Roach's need to get away from his opuses a little more dynamic. It's a pity, I liked this side of Roach! But if to do so he composes a music as so subliminal than this one, the disappointment finds a way of ecstasy. First of all, the incomparable title-track and its 38 minutes of serenity!
Easy to describe, Shadow of Time is a long minimalist journey where we fly on the back of a huge eagle by a dark night of heat wave. Slow winged movements spread a dark aura where each impulse collects itself such as a big wave which wraps us of its sonic froth. It's so quiet! Like these caresses which besiege us when we are between two phases of sleep. Platonic? Not at all! Each forward motion is like a tune which accentuates little by little its acuteness and changes subtly its intrusive color in the somber breaths of the drones which roam as these hoarse winds which are prisoners of the decorations of the hot Californian desert. We can hear voices here. They are as much discreet as that it could also be the fruit of our imagination which is taken by this unique sibylline stream of waves, symbolic of those drifting symphonies on silence by the only Steve Roach. If we feel the steams of This Place to Be here, it's even more obvious in Night Ascends whose winged movements are clearly more intriguing, more disturbing than those of the long title-track. But we always stay in the high spheres of meditative music with enigmatic harmonies blown by esoteric atmospheres. There are morsel of nightmare which are dragging around here... Cloud of Knowing concludes this prequel of This Place to Be with an even more quiet movement, even more immersive where the imprints of the Immersion series are roaming a little as on the lookout of our awakening. What do I find of interesting in this music which is not? A question blown by my Lise. No melody, me I found some, and no rhythms at all, still I hear the delicate ambient beat of the repetitive loops, she added. And it's all the debate! My buddy, who was my guide in the discovery of EM, found SHADOW OF TIME very immersive and especially very long.
So my conclusion is very personal and I think that this music of Steve Roach suits our moods. I find there what I am looking for when I need some peace of mind, when the sleep is late to chase away these dusts of hyperactivity which fight against the aphasia. And it is there that Steve Roach becomes our inmost spiritual companion. But beyond this statement, I fully agree to insert this last work on meditation from the Californian synthesist between both masterpiece aforesaid at the opening of this review and Emotion Revealed which remains for me a wonderful surprise.
Sylvain Lupari (August 16th, 2016) ****¼*
Available at Timeroom Direct Bandcamp