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Steve Roach: More Innovative Ambience

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STEVE ROACH & DIRK SERRIES: Low Volume Music (CD on Projekt)

This release from 2012 offers 59 minutes of extremely ethereal ambience.

Ten years ago, Roach and Serries (aka vidnaObmana and Fear Falls Burning) recorded several collaboration releases that explored a particularly haunting style of ambience. Here, they reunite to create a dose of extreme minimalism crafted to provide the listener with a sonic escape from today's heyday.

The first track comprises a series of delicate texturals that sigh in tandem. The gentle interplay of these tones generates a melodic presence of sparkling definition.

The next piece pursues a similar motif, seasoned with twinkling sounds which remain almost elusive as they swim amid the sashaying tonalities. Gradually, though, these auxiliary elements creep into a position of equality, deftly merging with the atmospheric milieu and establishing a presence designed to enhance relaxation.

In the third track the tones adopt a more melodic structure, resulting in a dreamy pastiche as the sonic aspects fuse into a gestalt of manifest calm.

Track four introduces softly jangling guitar notes to the melange of sighing electronics. (Astute listeners might identify this guitar plucking as more defined examples of auxiliary sounds from previous tracks.) Their contribution lends a grounding effect to the drifting atmospherics, a sort of clarity amid the ethereal excursion.

The last piece brings together all the elements from prior pieces into a shimmering pool of mollifying sound. The texturals flourish with crystalline beauty, generating a flow of exceptionally tenuous circumscription. While extremely minimal in definition, the music embodies a strong subliminal effect on the listener's psyche.

Overall: a superb selection of tunes designed to facilitate meditative withdrawal.

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STEVE ROACH: Day Out of Time (CD and DVD on Projekt)

Originally separately released in 2002, this 10 year anniversary edition combines both the CD and the DVD in one package. The CD features 73 minutes of atmospheric electronic music, the full soundtrack to the Time of the Earth DVD by Steve Lazur.

This music represents Roach's more arid, desolate side, soundscapes that evoke the natural wonders of the American West. Epic rock formations are conjured by his ethereal electronics, majestic heavens full of glorious clouds are generated by his atmospheric textures. Languid tonalities unfurl with minimal percussives chittering in the distance. Sound flows like a gas, immersing the audience and transporting them without movement on a voyage of the mind, stimulating the listener's creativity until they imagine floating above grand spectacles and soaring through stratospheric altitudes.

The Time of the Earth film is a gripping travelogue of Earth's most unearthly vistas, a geological visual feast that reveals incredible majesty in the most desolate regions of our planet. Besides Roach's gently stirring soundtrack, also featured on the DVD is a long-form version of "The Dream Circle" as an optional second soundtrack.

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