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Steve Roach - Fade To Gray CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

3.04 | 4 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars In addition to the sublime `Shadow of Time', a pair of very different collaborations with upcoming electronic musician Robert Logan and a stunning archival live release `Pinnacle Moments', progressive electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach closes out 2016 with no less than three complete brand-new studio works, all offering glimpses of very different aspects of the artist's personality, genre bending and constantly exploring musical mind. Of the three, `Spiral Revelation' is rhythmic and lively, `Painting in the Dark' a lightly psychedelic pure ambient work, but this one, `Fade to Gray' is another of Roach's single long- form compositions very much in the manner of the previous year's `This Place to Be', a challenging and impossibly subtle work that remains as challenging as always.

Completely devoid of any rhythmic elements, the seventy-four minute sound-collage `Fade to Gray' is a furtive unceasing drone of ever-reaching echoing ambient washes and darkly symphonic sweeps. Dreamy lethargic ebbs seep into cavernous groaning crevices, slivers of light eventually piercing through melancholic veils of stormy faraway rumbles to blanket the atmosphere with pristine serene pools.

These sort of works are often quite hard to assess, and they always prove divisive amongst listeners. To some, these unhurried and drifting musings are utterly entrancing, others find them completely tedious and uneventful. `Fade to Gray' is certainly not the latter, but it can be patience testing and quite confronting in the first half, not particularly easy listening until some lighter, more inviting qualities gradually reveal themselves in the later stretches. It's definitely not a place to start for newcomers looking to explore Roach's works (out of this new triple set, best pick up the other two first). But, as always, it's a quietly reflective and thought-provoking mood piece from a master of many electronic-related genres, and it remains a mysterious and evocative soundtrack.

Three stars for general listeners, four stars for seasoned dark ambient fans.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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