Steve Roach: Structures from Silence (1984)
“Oh that this music has lulled, comforted and soothed my nights of thoughts and tormentes”
1 Reflections in Suspension (16:39)
2 Quiet Friend (13:15)
3 Structures from Silence (28:33)
Fortuna Records | FOR-LP024
Projekt | PROJEKT119 (CD 58:42)
Oh that this music has lulled, comforted and soothed my nights of thoughts and tormentes at gnawing my bitterness. At the time, I was not what you could call an ambient music lover. Brian Eno? Very little for me! Apart from a few melodious things which are very too rare. When I heard STRUCTURES From SILENCE? for the first time, the Berlin School style had turned its analog rhythms and harmonies for a more digital era, and the ambient music style flooded the speakers of the Zen movement. The shock to my ears was quite disturbing. I had already heard, and I was already seduced, Now & Traveller; two albums whose sequenced rhythms were inspired by the Berlin School. The Pacific School (I owe this term to my friend Fabrice) was beginning to replace the Berlin School with emerging artists such as Michael Stearns, Robert Rich, Craig Huxley, Ray Lynch and Mannheim Steamroller. The music was softer. It was the New Age era. On the purely electronic side, there was Synergy but EM, at least here, had already changed of direction.
And landed STRUCTURES From SILENCE on my Linn table. I had never heard such lyrical music, not even that of Klaus Schulze. I remember this little melody which rolled and rolled in loops and had emerged between the rubbing of my needle and the grooves of the vinyl album. Like an unlisted bird cooing in a cryptic haze, the melody of Reflections in Suspension came into my ears to branded them. Since that autumn day of 1984, I had this goosebump and it was not the only pone tied to the music of Steve Roach. My crush for his music took root here. Even in his most tranquil phases. But can there be more quiet than STRUCTURES From SILENCE?
We can't describe silence. But the elements that lead to it, yes. And that's the beauty of this album; everything brings us to silence, to inner peace. The haunting melody of Reflections in Suspension rolls its minimalist loops on synth pads that minute by minute offers a subtle crescendo whose sweet implosion hypnotizes us. We hear prism to sing, as is an invisible choir murmuring the sighs of contemplation. It's like rocking in a hammock under the stars with crystal winds and elven breezes. Definitely Steve Roach had just given harmonic textures to ambiences in EM. Quiet Friend is also beautiful. Enjoying a superb ambiospheric intro, where synth pads hang in space, the melody hatches around 8 minutes. Roach skilfully mixes his astral voices and quiet waves that form a long arrhythmic movement. And when serenity and sleep invade our senses, a delicate melody is barely formed and makes sing its arpeggios that scroll awkwardly. The melody breathes that of Reflections in Suspension but she is more fragile. And these arpeggios waltz nonchalantly on the bed of limpid water where silent lapping reflects their fragile crystal symphonies. But we are already sleeping. The title-piece is of a simplicity to unstich the parameters of any stress. Steve Roach makes sing the slow lamentations of the oblong and silent waves of a calm sea in our ears throughout the 28 minutes of this abstract symphony on the structures of silence. But we are already sleeping! Shhh ... ..
Sylvain Lupari (December 7th, 2013) *****
Available at Projekt