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Steve Roach - Electron Birth CD (album) cover

ELECTRON BIRTH

Steve Roach

 

Progressive Electronic

5.00 | 4 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars The number of studio albums from American progressive-electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach may vastly outnumber his live discs, but when those ones do show up, the results are always electrifying and particularly special! Roach performed a handful of live concerts in Tucson earlier in the year that this disc is taken from, and along with the `Return to the Dreamtime' double set released alongside it, `Electron Birth' sees the master composer deliver a thrilling and energetic performance teeming with life that completely captures the evocative imagery hinted at in the title.

`Electron Birth' runs just shy of fifty-five minutes, and while it opens with lulling electronic caresses, within seconds looping and ringing pulses are infiltrating the piece, and it only races fervently ahead from there. As it progresses, it picks up a heavier dynamic energy, bombarded with an unceasing and relentless array of varying skittering and jangling sequencer beats, subtly diverting into sly variations and low-key direction changes without losing momentum for even a second, and its backdrop slinks and dazzles as strident sweeping themes slowly permeate with dramatic purpose. Many early stretches call to mind `Ricochet'-era Tangerine Dream just given a modern approach, and the lengthy piece truly revels in the initial Berlin School/German electronic masters inspiration of Steve's earlier works, but it always remains instantly recognisable as pure Roach and comes from the same mindset as his recent studio albums `Skeleton Keys, `Spiral Revelation' and `Molecules of Motion'.

A shorter studio-created `Cloud Currents' is then seamlessly integrated into the performance and strips things back for a purer ambient closer of drowsy and surreal crystalline washes that lap at the listeners' senses, but still retains haunting drifting moods and the most subtle of darker stormy textures.

Prog-electronic listeners (and especially fans of the above mentioned seminal Seventies years of the German electronic masters) perhaps unsure of where to start in Roach's admittedly intimidating back catalogue of endless titles would find `Electron Birth' the perfect introduction. By embracing the Berlin School sound of old without ever sounding like mere rehash or lacking originality, and avoiding the beatless drones of much of his last two decades that some less patient listeners struggle with, Steve has crafted an inviting and instantly approachable performance that doesn't skimp on his usual intelligence and humanity.

`Electron Birth' is Steve Roach looking to the past for a renewed purpose of ever-seeking new directions to pave the path to the future, and another sublime example of a master electronic musician at the top of his game and more inspired than ever despite a career of over forty years to date.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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