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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Steve Roach Slow Heat 20th Anniversary Remastered Edition (98-18)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

“With time, I realized that no work by Steve Roach is the same and  that his first works  are also the most dominant”

1 Slow Heat 71:16 Timeroom Editions TM01 (CD/DDL 71:16) (V.F.) (Ambient music with organic soundscapes)

With time, I realized that no work by Steve Roach is the same, even in these long and repetitive forms. I also learned that his first works of the genre are also the most dominant. First album to appear on Steve Roach's label, Timeroom Edition, SLOW HEAT is molded following the principles of The Dream Circle. Or at little things near! The movement is slow and structured on slender synth pads that oscillate repeatedly in a weightlessness effect. These layers drop sonic gases which become discrete effects of floating drones, amplifying a musical cloth that drifts by drawing cosmic arches, just like a wandering shuttle in cosmos. But we are actually in the deserts of Arizona! And the friend Steve spent 2 years, so we are close enough to the time frame of The Dream Circle, to polish an album that would redefine the panoramic ambient style. We find this repetitive and quite hypnotic model of The Dream Circle with oscillating sound waves adorned of cavernous breezes and organic sounds. But the American musician wanted to push this immersive sound experience even further. For two summers, 97 and 98, he set up microphones at a distance of 50 feet from his studios in Tucson to record the wildlife of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. These noises were judiciously inserted in this long symphony of Roachian ambiances by mixing adroitly with the sounds of another more electronic fauna. It's repetitive, but not boring. In order to cement our attention and our sound illusions, Steve Roach adds sonic silks that take the forms of translucent filamentary blasts or fine implosions which remind me of Chronos, a Michael Stearns album published 10 years earlier. Combined with these drones that waltz like eagles around a crippled prey, the movement is rich and powerful enough to lift us from our chair and plunge us into an endless spiral. Unlike The Dream Circle, Slow Heat has no rhythmic ascent, evolving in more implosive phases that bring its intensity level into wake up mode. Remastered by Howard Givens, SLOW HEAT reaches an even more exceptional sound dimension, especially in details, because of the technological advances in audio mastering. There is a sharpness here that makes even more attractive those nighttime delights trapped by Steve Roach and especially this strange physical presence of the nightly atmospheres. A little as if the night, and its faithful darkness, could embrace our emotions. Sylvain Lupari (September 15th, 2018) ***** Available at Steve Roach Bandcamp

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