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Steve Roach

Progressive Electronic

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3 stars Steve Roach is one of the most important figures of the modern electronic music. Invisible is an album that he made just before the new year, and he published it the 1st January. The first time that I listened to Invisible, I thought it was boring, because the album only contains one track of 58 minutes who doesn't have melodies. So the second time that I listened to it, I wanted to relax me. And I saw that the music was in fact pretty good and the ambience was very well done. Steve Roach have talent for sure, but ambient (even if i like the ambient albums of Brian Eno) is not my cup of tea, but I have to recognize that Invisible is good.
Report this review (#1334150)
Posted Thursday, January 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars 2015 saw an early gift in the form of a new Steve Roach album `Invisible', released on January 1st. With the momentum of the previous year still maintaining for the ambient artist, he spent the last few cold and rainy days of 2014 creating a new long-form piece, and as expected, it's a consistent and immersive experience, from an artist known for thoughtful and subtle unwinding compositions. While a drone piece at heart, it also includes little restrained elements of tribal music, plenty of dark ambient movements and some very unexpected (yet welcome!) deep bass grooves lurking in a few spots as well.

Comprised on one single track running just over 58 minutes, `Invisible' is quite a dark and brooding work. Gloomy synths groan away like an approaching building storm, little electronic glistenings trying to pierce through. They throb and reverberate with life and movement, as a pattering of low-key tribal beats gently rise up from the earth, and soothing electronic wisps slowly extend fingertips out to glide between a metallic sheen mixed with earthly barren desert. Machine-like oscillations grow in power over desolate winds, hallucinatory shimmerings dance before our eyes, bending distorted guitar ruminations twist and spiral over emerging deep bass liquid percussive loops that pour all around. Bubbling grooves fall like rain over the land, and waking signs of new life snake across the surface, carried forth by uplifting and hopeful synth strains weaving a final protective spell.

Available exclusively as a free Bandcamp download at this point, Mr Roach also promises a long list of new releases to follow this one throughout 2015, some brand new, others that have been in production for some years. `Invisible' is not the easiest of ambient releases to appreciate, and those not used to (or not fans of) subtle drone-type music should approach this one with caution. It may not do a lot that the artist hasn't offered before, and some early stretches of the piece are a little uneventful, but for listeners who appreciate this particular sub-genre of electronic/ambient music, that have the patience to listen quietly, this is a very worthwhile release, and incredibly good value considering it's current price.

Three stars. This captivating, initially confronting piece is ideal late night contemplative listening.

Report this review (#1339824)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars The creative streak goes on!

Well, Steve Roach's quest for musical perfection steps forward with this astounding New Year's surprise. "Invisible", 2015, is a single 58 minute composition, which takes on where the "Delicate Forever" 2014, left, but also brings on a more obscure direction.

This hypnotic, low keyed but enormously rich in electronically generated, minimal instrumentation and ideas work, is certainly suitable for meditation rather than euphoria, but it is game if used accordingly. The expansive and very-deep (for real), ever changing atmospheres, are focused and still quiet experimental in their borderless expansions. To say the least, Steve Roach's experimentations at this point of his musical career, could be any other musician's dream to achieve single musical idiom. That is how rich Steve Roach's personal efforts have grown in in his self-aquired musical universe.

A sophisticated progressive electronic/acoustic musical drone-like nocturnal thread which opposite to its title, is more than once quiet visible and even disturbing and nightmarish, but perfectly balanced with shades of contrasts by the use of different atmospheric constructions, I insist, which enriches each of the moving and transforming passages, contained in this single voyage.

So AMBIENT as such it is not. Let's say it is a subtle encounter with all of Steve Roach's darker discoveries put up in a single place, where you can dwell freely, but where it is impossible to escape the inhospitable but inviting and mysterious cosmic landscapes, (And to be honest you would not exactly will like to escape, rather the opposite).

Expect Steve Roach's DARKER compositional skills at its finest and a pre-view of what this musician has yet to offer.

****4.5 "Genius at work, do not disturb" PA stars.

Report this review (#1340174)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Steve Roach "Invisible" CD

Steve Roach, the genius ambient soundforger, is known for his numerous legendary long-form releases. "Invisible", released though his Timeroom Editions imprint at February 13th, is the latest one, if I count physical editions only, released just in time before Steve Roach's two live shows at the Galactic Center in Tucson, Arizona at February 13th & 14th. Originally, a slightly shorter, 58 minutes long version was released at 2015 New Year's Day as a New Year's gift for all Steve's dedicated journeyers. The CD was released in limited edition of 300 copies, while the first 100 copies were signed and hand numbered by the artist, but it quickly sold out.

Created during the last cold and rainy days of 2014 over the Timeroom, the journey quickly dives into fascinatingly unfolding euphonious soundfields exquisitely displaying Steve's window and patio views of shadowy, gently sloping Rio Rico terrains guarded by Mount Shibell and immersed by breathtakingly dramatic cloud formations. Deepest sonic meditation has just begun!!! Aural bliss unfathomably invades my listening room, The Dream Alive memories from February 15th awake, while heading for the Timeroom with Steve and the tribe, we are approaching this cloudscaping rainy spectacle, this must be the call of the Timeroom's magic!!! Precisely layered and traversed, melting meticulously the very best of ambient and dark ambient billows with perplexingly ear-tickling fragments and ghostly groans continuously permeating through this massively embracing stratum, while strikingly intangible tribal groove rides atop, giving extra workout to my speakers. There is no way to escape, so all you can do is to connect profoundly to the wizard's sanctum, close your eyes and let his intense and monumental earmarks reveal all its magic, sheer atmospheric grace awaits here!!! But don't hesitate to choose also an headphone journey, it's fully rewarding as well. After about 25 minutes distant beat inconspicuously dissolves into hauntingly coalesced mass of dronescapes, spectacularly nuanced and crescendoed. Towards the 40th minute groovier feel resurfaces, drives sharper and guides the composition into warmly mesmerizing, organic-infused fields, reinforced by piercing cyber-tech rumbles. Sonic turmoil escalates and climaxes before 50th minute, when an utterly jaw-dropping transition conquers. A truly magical heavy drone escapade steals the show, merging splendidly majestic, yet gloriously enigmatic magma with erupting high-tech scraps and click-clacks. Thrillingly crepuscular, extraordinarily adventurous and intriguingly mindscaping 20-minute conclusion, a pure eargasm, welcome to the Drone Pantheon!!!

With "Invisible" Steve Roach reveals the very best of his most nebulous soundcarving, the title couldn't be more precise!!! This is undoubtedly another ultimate long-form 70-minute jewel, I even won't hesitate to write a milestone, bravo Maestro!!! Last but not least, all above lines are just my personal feelings about this recording, but this CD will be always a very special one to me. After exploring the first digital version, I didn't have any idea there is a CD version in the pipeline until the evening of February 12th, when Steve gave me this CD during our first ever personal meeting at the Hotel Congress Pub in Tucson. As most of you know already, I was Living The Dream between February 11th and 19th!!! Please excuse me for being more personal during these lines, but to me, this is a truly essential part of this journey!!! For all those who missed this CD version, I will always pray for its reissue, but since the Master constantly takes care of reissuing his out of print titles, I see there a glimpse of light. Until then you can always grab the extended 70-minute digital version. Do it, because "Invisible" is a sonic phenomenon!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 26, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Report this review (#1544961)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2016 | Review Permalink

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