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Steve Roach - Biosonic (Steve Roach & Robert Logan) CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 2 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Progressive-electronic/ambient innovator Steve Roach begins 2016 in fascinating forth, releasing two very different collaboration works with up-and-coming England-based electronic artist Robert Logan, the first of which is `Biosonic'. Nearly thirty years in age separates the two musicians, but a mutual appreciation of each-others work resulted in the pair trading samples of sound-files over a four year period and eventually meeting in person to complete the music offered on these two discs (the other being `Second Nature'). `Biosonic' presents these two distinct electronic voices not only truly complimenting each-other, but perfectly working in unison to deliver an ever-evolving sound-work that takes their music in exciting new directions.

Despite being indexed into nine tracks, `Biosonic' is really one single seventy minute constantly morphing aural collage, where fluid, ethereal synth washes rise, fall and twist around an ever-changing pattern of programmed beats and electronic loops. It's energetic and lively, constantly moving, even playful in a few spots, pulsing with subtle grooves and floating on mysterious moods. Surprising moments of dub, drum n' bass and even darkly futuristic psy-trance elements intermingle with the stillness and freeform drift of pure ambient atmospheres, and where what might have once been earthy tribal elements in the past take on an alien monolithic hardness instead.

The surprises start right from the opening passage `Desires: Birth', an up-tempo dash of liquid shimmerings and twitching electronic glitches with joyful upfront synth soloing rolling in and out, giving way to `OmniGen's skittering beats and intimidating industrial-like heaviness. A calming respite arrives with the soothing caresses of `Ecdysis Actrivation' with faraway approaching beats bubbling under, churning slabs permeate barren aural expanses throughout `Primal Confluence', equally pretty and drowsy drones are laced with fleeting harsher split-second slivers in `Erosophere', and `Atrium' is an addictive disorientating darkly grooving meltdown.

The ten-minute segment `The Biomechanoid Lifecycle Revealed' is one of the true highlights, effortlessly cool and darkly slinking chilled grooves murmuring seductively behind hallucinogenic rising synths veils, even flirting with moments of dub. The up-tempo attacking `Biosense' is maddening and suffocating machine violence that perfectly soundtracks the faintly H.R.Giger-esque album cover art that suggests a fusion of mechanical, alien and organic. The album is stripped back to pure celestial ambience for the final twenty-plus minute passage `Amniotic Universe', where cinematic elegance merges with the dreamiest of deep-drifting glacial environments.

Initially a little overwhelming due to the plentiful variety of sounds and moods, careful close listens in an unhurried environment (preferably with headphones) reveal an addictive work with endless delicate little details and intricate subtleties. While there's plenty of Roach's instantly recognisable ambient elements throughout, the constantly contorting, mutating variety of percussive elements weaving in and out of much of the album may by a challenge for those who prefer the more still, carefully-paced nature of much of his modern music, but there is still plenty of that for patient listeners to discover. Steve Roach's music hardly ever sounds dated (if anything it actually exists completely outside of dating fads or any ideas of musical trends), but collaborating with Robert Logan here has delivered one of his most modern sounding and cutting-edge electronic works for some time, their pairing-up on this dark-tinged futuristic soundworld hinting at a multitude of unfamiliar possibilities waiting to be explored.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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