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STEVE ROACH: The Passing (2017)

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

“How can Steve Roach be so seducing after so many albums in the same vein? Discover it with this sublime The Passing”

1 The Passing 59:19 Timeroom Editions ‎| TM39

(CD 59:19) (V.F.) (Ambient harmonious)

Steve Roach knew quite a very productive end of 2016 year with 3 albums appeared in December. And each of these albums visited the sound territories occupied by the American synthesist-philosopher since he released Now in 1982. I don't count any more the albums since then, so much they are many and flooded in an impressive list of reissues. The last time when I tried a counting, I believe that I had exceeded the point of 100 albums. But it doesn't matter in that story! If some of his works sound as something of deja-entendu, in particular at the level of dark ambient music, others turn out to be monuments of pensive, meditative and transcendental music. Like this impressive THE PASSING whom Steve Roach wrote and performed in 5 days, just in time to be offered in downloadable format the day of his 62nd birthday on February 16th, 2017. Skillfully masterised by Howard Givens, this last album respires the soft perfumes of the best meditative music of the Californian musician sculptor of deep ambiences. A nth album of meditative soundscapes! The source dried up? Not at all! To say the least not here.

The contemplative adventure begins with a deafened wave which spreads its presence like a guide making us discover the greatness of empty spaces. Foggy strands get out from this dense shadow which seems to float as in a passage towards another territory. We can hear secret flutes manipulate the incandescent heaviness of this shadow of which the whispers are reflected into a long ceaseless humming. It's at around the 14th minute when the charm becomes obvious! Some slow wings which are bearer of sibylline harmonies begin to float all around this long wall of vocal drones, reflecting an attractive harmonious approach of which the equivalence is in this ghost melody that our ears savor since the first stammerings of Reflections in Suspension, but in a lento mode. And there far from me the idea to draw a parallel, because over the time I understood that there is only one Structures from Silence. All which looks like it, set apart Emotions Revealed, is but a mirage that we like comparing. But this winged melody possesses nevertheless the same effect of comfort, of to hear an old friend. We float within this minimalist melody to the uncertain and undoubtedly nebulous forms which presents constantly an accentuated inflection, like a fluttering which becomes viral. Sometimes I have the impression that Steve snivels through this opaque passage so much the tone of the melody is a reflection of condolence and where the slow movements in the wings loaded of ever-changing colors prostrate themselves as prayers. An insidious melody my friends whose meditative layers tangle the colors of the harmony in a slow horizontal spiral. A little as the specter of a huge squid in an oceanic bottom gone iridescent by the thousand fires of a weighty sun. My ears, which are marked by musical imprints of thousand albums of EM for more than 35 years, recognize here this spectral melody, very cold and flavored by powder of copper, but oh much delicious of Mojave Plan from Tangerine Dream's White Eagle. Except that here she is especially slower and more encompassing. It's as if we were between two universes. In a few words, the imagination becomes fertile as our feelings soar with this undeniable effect of crescendo which slumbers between the depths of "The Passing". Can a so long title hide an effect of redundancy? A drying up of our interest? That always depends of our expectations. Except that at this level THE PASSING is not really different from the other sonic Masses of Steve Roach. On the other hand, we always have this impression that "The Passing" evolves with subtle differences due to its colors which change as our ears lose it in the magnetism always fascinating of this slow shaded membrane which irradiates the mysticism of "The Passing". In brief, another very beautiful monument of ambient and meditative music of Steve Roach. The journey is beautiful and soft, the melody is mesmerizing and the structure is soaked with this bewitchment unique to Steve Roach. Great Roach here! But there I have this feeling of being redundant.

Sylvain Lupari (May 17th, 2017) *****

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