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Steve Roach - Molecules of Motion CD (album) cover

MOLECULES OF MOTION

Steve Roach

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 8 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars There's no shortage of recent albums from American modern electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach that offer drifting drones of impossibly subtle touches, but here the atmospheric master offers up one of his spaciest and most urgent works in some time, 2018's `Molecules of Motion'. Roach infuses his lulling, meditative synth washes with unceasing yet elegantly implemented rhythmic touches, making it not only one of his most colourful, exciting and actually quite accessible performances of the last couple of years, but one teeming with life and full of all the movement at its core that the album title promises.

The opening title track `Molecules of Motion' and `Grace Meditation' (both running around twenty-four minutes each) set much of a template for the entire disc. Carefully unfolding synth veils float and weave around jangling sequenced patterns, gurgling electronic distortions and seductive enveloping ambient shrouds, with the latter piece being the lightly more coolly soothing of the two. Full of mystery, expansive aural presence and the slightest hints of recurring little melodic touches rising and retreating back and forth, they even surge into brief ringing darker edges and mind-expanding contemplations. `Phase Reverie' holds graceful and gently lethargic synth caresses to lull the listener into a drowsy dream state, and closer `Empath Current' dances with ringing sequencer programming over placid ambient pools, achieving a perfect unison of carefully frantic and sparsely laid-back before a ruminative come-down in the final minutes.

Despite a vast back-catalogue of studio albums, collaborations, live performances and archival releases, it can be extremely daunting for both newcomers and more restrained collectors of Roach to know which works to approach, but `Molecules of Motion' makes for ideal next choice to look into for many reasons. It's far removed from his more challenging droning works, the constant rhythmic elements mean it's full of liveliness and movement, and it even delicately reminds of German Berlin School originator Klaus Schulze's deep-space atmospheres anchored by driving programming in many spots.

`Molecules of Motion' is truly one of the most thrilling and defining works from Roach that can rank among his best releases, from an artist that always puts out intelligent and thoughtful works that have never unashamedly attempted to ever be commercial, and prog-electronic fans are going to find endless things to love about this one.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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