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The Ancestor Circle by Steve Roach & Jorge Reyes

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STEVE ROACH & JORGE REYES: The Ancestor Circle (CD on Projekt)

This CD from 2014 features 73 minutes of tribal ambience.

The source recordings that comprise this album were discovered in 2013 on a cryptically labeled set of tapes from a week before the Roach/Jorges concert at Tuscon's Temple of Music and Art in May 2000.

Roach plays analog and digital synthesizers, hybrid trance grooves, ocarinas, ambient percussion, processing and looping, textural guitar, and spirit air. Jorges plays: prehistoric flutes and ocarinas, voice, ambient percussion, tarahumara drum, electric guitar, and looping.

From instrumentation and titles, one can correctly presume this music explores a realm of antediluvian tribal harmonies, the type found in primitive nocturnal ceremonies—and you'd be right. The tuneage is sparse and harmonic and moody, but the introduction of modern technology to the mix gives everything a futurist flavor.

While there are different song titles, the tracks run together into a seamless flow.

The beginning employs ethereal tonalities to establish a vaporous vista that hosts temperate soft beats and eerie chittering sounds. These latter contributions form a sighing tapestry that lends elusive definition to the music's atmospheric foundation. As things progress, substantial electronics emerge, bestowing a periodic intensity to the flow.

This continues, eventually joined by randomly vibrating chimes and shushing pulsations. Ghostly voices swim into play, remote and celestial in their intonations. These voices engage in some resonant acrobatics amid a rising tide of blooping electronic grooves. The vocal effects and the grooves interweave playfully but solemnly, creating a passage that fuses tribal ethics with computerized influences. While the voices persist (yet seem relegated to the background), the electronic pulsations reign dominant (while remaining gentle and fluid).

Eventually, the flow reverts to an ambient presence. Tenuous textures roil and occupy the stage, shuddering and gradually mustering some definition, until one pulsation emerges to guide the tuneage into a passage marked by mounting rhythms and an array of peripheral effects that become progressively pronounced, as does the urgency of the quasi-muffled percussion.

Warbling strains of a flute creep into prominence, establishing a crepuscule mood that is further enhanced by a resurgence of a tribal drumbeat attended by spiritual sounds of electronic origin.

Ultimately, the music slides into a stretch of extreme ambience, with textural clouds punctuated by sparse effects.

A satisfying blend of primitive and modern musical sentiments.

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