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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Steve Roach Trance Archeology (2019)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

A splendid album with this unique vision of rhythms arising from the dust of sounds that Steve Roach has created from the moons

1 Spawn of Time 17:51

2 Indigo Moon 5:39

3 Trance Genealogy 15:45

4 Long Shadow 6:09

5 Birthpulse 5:20

6 Firebreather 4:51

7 Unearthed 6:27

8 Soul Archeology 11:50

(CD/DDL/Spotify 73:56) (V.F.)

(Trance ambient)

The word perfection has always flirted with Steve Roach. But it always surprises me when friend Steve gives us little masterpieces whose qualifiers start to lack when the time comes to describe his enchanting universe. Already that Bloom Ascension is in the running for the album of the year, here is the magician of the panoramas whose evolutions are fixed to our perceptions returns in force with a very solid TRANCE ARCHEOLOGY. And the least we can say is that the music literally sticks to the meaning of this title which suggests a big 74 minutes of trance-tribal music. And it's indeed the case! Apart from the passages needed to accompany the revival of these rhythmic extractions which spring up in the form of hypnotic loops. Forget the sequencers! The basis of the rhythms is based on tribal percussions and synth loops and sound effects that drumming and rolling under the magnetizing layers of synths and their shadows tinged with blackness. In short, a splendid album with this unique vision of rhythms arising from the dust of sounds that Steve Roach has created from the moons.

A strange noise, like a belching snail, rises from the silence at the same time as glass and steel balls entangle their musical knockings in an awakening sound mass. Spawn of Time takes its time before imposing its structure of tribal rhythm which rises between the percussive rolls of the balls and which is agitated like the steps of warrior-dancers above this cluster of organic-percussive tones. And it's throughout the 8 chapters of his last opus that Steve imagines and starts his impressive paraphernalia of tones as unusual as very attractive. Above these tones are drawn waves and shadows from a synth still as imposing and attracted by the sources of darkness. The tamtams are presented in a minimalist form, giving free rein to Steve Roach to infuse his structures with the fruits of his understanding of what surrounds the Earth and of what is created, as microscopic as it may be, in his womb. These long lassos woven into the sound of reverberating drones envelop the finale in a cabalistic veil, thus giving free rein to our perception. Dark and cavernous with these winds coming from the interstices of the Earth's core, Indigo Moon lets float a melodious approach whose contrast with the elements surrounding it leads us to Trance Genealogy which wraps our ears with a spiral deposited at our feet. Dozens of kaleidoscopic loops spring up. They rise and spin with these sparkling tones of micro-organic sounds, constantly leaning on a minimalist rhythmic framework activated by the sequenced multiplication of hypnotic loops. These elusive loops are sprinkled with sound particles coming from a mass which is going withering by sprinkling our ears with tones splashes while synth layers in cello tones extend a bodily aura that leads Trance Genealogy to the ambient modulations of Long Shadow.

Here the roars have two shades. The shadows of the synth stretch like a long, groaning bow on thousands of strings where these absent voices are hidden. Voices that constantly come back to haunt our hearing in the serene moments of the album. Birthpulse makes revive the rhythmic territories of TRANCE ARCHEOLOGY with a very Aboriginal vision. Tamtams resound in the shade of a heavy pulsating bass, played by Will Merkle, on a slightly bouncing structure worthy of the title of this latest Steve Roach album. There is a slight elastic effect forming echoes in this rhythmic design whose organic vision ignites the bubbling status of Firebreather. Magic, this phase fills my ears, like my imagination which sees this tribal trance dance interpreted by a shaman waving bones and rattlesnakes with his hands chanting dizzying incantations. The presence of Robert Logan is no stranger to this new bank of sounds that amazes my Totem Tribes as well as my ears. Unearthed pursues this heavy and slow rhythm approach which tries to survive in a pattern of sound samples which seems to move away from the origins of TRANCE ARCHEOLOGY. It is slowly, and with Soul Archeology, that Steve gradually lowers the rhythmic temperature of his latest opus and, by extension, our circadian excitement. The pulsating rhythm with a suction effect in its tearing away from the walls of the void remains dangerously bewitching. Shadows of the synth come to veil the moods in mode; sleeping is coming soon, with slow movements that zigzag in leaving in their furrow the vestiges of the Immersion Series. An imposing finale to impose the tranquility of another masterpiece by Steve Roach.

Sylvain Lupari (December 27th, 2019) *****

Available at Projekt Records

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