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STEVE ROACH

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Steve Roach biography
Leader and pioneering figure of the L.A Sacred space music movement. Steve Roach made a name in the 1980 with the release of outstanding lysergic-binaural musical experiences dominated by synth analog chords, sustained by magnificent spiritual-epiphanic cosmic grooves. His music sometimes reveals an ethno-ritual and acoustic instrumentation and tranced-out rhythms. Structures from Silence (Fortuna, 1984), Dreamtime Return (Fortuna, 1988) are considered to be his finest. He released a handful of collaborative works with many notorious artists such as Michael Stearns, Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana...). Steve Roach's music is a strong inspiration on a new generation of musicians and bands such as Oophoi, Matthias Grassow, Alio Die, Jeff Pearce (...)

Similar artists In the archives: Alio Die, Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana, Bernard Xolotl, Harold Budd (...)

Philippe Blache

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Skeleton KeysSkeleton Keys
Projekt Records 2015
Audio CD$9.93
$9.79 (used)
Dreamtime ReturnDreamtime Return
Remastered
Projekt Records 2005
Audio CD$13.00
$11.64 (used)
World's EdgeWorld's Edge
Fortuna Records 1992
Audio CD$18.51
$4.77 (used)
Structures From Silence (30th anniversary 3-CD Remastered edition)Structures From Silence (30th anniversary 3-CD Remastered edition)
Remastered
Projekt Records 2014
Audio CD$12.99
$14.08 (used)
Etheric ImprintsEtheric Imprints
Projekt Records 2015
Audio CD$10.28
$11.41 (used)
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Midnight Moon by Steve Roach (CD, Apr-2000, Projekt Records) USD $0.99 [1 bids]
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STEVE ROACH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVE ROACH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Now
1982
3.37 | 8 ratings
Structures From Silence
1984
3.25 | 4 ratings
Quiet Music 1
1986
3.38 | 12 ratings
Dreamtime Return
1988
3.00 | 4 ratings
World's Edge
1992
3.33 | 3 ratings
Origins
1993
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Dream Circle
1994
3.50 | 4 ratings
Artifacts
1994
4.07 | 6 ratings
The Magnificent Void
1996
4.95 | 2 ratings
Trance Spirits
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
Darkest Before Dawn
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
New Life Dreaming
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
Arc of Passion
2008
4.65 | 3 ratings
A Deeper Silence
2008
3.50 | 2 ratings
Soul Tones
2012
3.50 | 2 ratings
Back to Life
2012
4.00 | 3 ratings
GROOVE IMMERSION
2012
5.00 | 1 ratings
Spiral Meditations
2013
4.00 | 2 ratings
FUTURE FLOWS
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Long Night (with Kelly David)
2014
4.29 | 8 ratings
The Delicate Forever
2014
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Delicate Beyond
2014
3.91 | 5 ratings
Bloodmoon Rising
2014
3.91 | 3 ratings
The Ancestor Circle (with Jorge Reyes)
2014
3.95 | 2 ratings
Monuments of Ecstasy (with Byron Metcalf, Rob Thomas)
2015
3.00 | 3 ratings
Bloodmoon Rising - Night 3
2015
3.00 | 3 ratings
Skeleton Keys
2015
3.93 | 5 ratings
Etheric Imprints
2015
3.40 | 5 ratings
Invisible
2015

STEVE ROACH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Stormwarning
1989
4.00 | 2 ratings
Landmass
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Steve Roach - Live at Grace Cathedral (2010)
2010

STEVE ROACH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STEVE ROACH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 5 ratings
The Desert Collection - Volume One
2014
4.74 | 4 ratings
Structures From Silence (30th Anniversary Remastered Edition)
2014

STEVE ROACH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Light Of Sundays
2013

STEVE ROACH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Darkest Before Dawn by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Darkest Before Dawn
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars This is another of those post-Apocalyptic, ethereal Roach recordings where the smell of death from the trenches creeps up your nose.

Either that, or it's a happy easy listening album by the beach, as you read your favourite book whilst half asleep. It's all down to each individual listener.

Everyone will have differing opinions about this super-long, minimal, one track 74 minute recording by the 'Yoda' of Isolationist Ambience. It's either grim and creepy or soothing and relaxing depending on the your state of mind. As is usual from his output at this time, Roach displays an undiluted and relentless approach to the final outcome.

To me it sounds like the vacuum of outer space itself. Like that bit in 'Alien' where the 'Nostromo' silently plummets through space. It's an all consuming and haunting work using only ghostly electronics played at 1mph. This isn't the type of album that is rewarded by close listening. It's most definitely a background soundtrack for those moments where your nightmares are about to take centre stage.

'Darkest Before Dawn' utilises only keyboards. Keyboard chords that are stretched so long that they become drowsy and sleepy. This is no bad thing, as they create an atmosphere of doom.

Despite the unimaginative cover - which I have to admit - sums up the sound within with its black morphing into grey. This is one of Steve Roach's best recordings. Produced at a time when the likes of 'Lull', 'Lustmord' and 'Voice of Eye' were at their peak, this is every bit as good as the aforementioned and sounds effortless in its construction.

The sounds rise and fall like celestial waves amongst thick fog in an alien ocean of sulphur. It's a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff staring into the abyss of nothingness. There's no beginning and no end. Just a sea of slowly evolving waves, without beat. Isolationism in the extreme. 'Brian Eno' fans will love this. This however, has an underlying threat despite being so laid back.

'Darkest Before Dawn' is an album with no meaning other than its own presence alone. A solitary beacon of life in a dead Universe. Beautiful.

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 Etheric Imprints by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 5 ratings

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Etheric Imprints
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars 2015 has delivered several releases in a range of different ambient styles from pioneering electronic composer Steve Roach, and his latest for the year, `Etheric Imprints', is the most satisfying of all, a deeply immersive work from a master of the genre. Whereas `Monuments of Ecstasy' (his collaboration with Byron Metcalf and Rob Thomas) presented an ancient/modern/futuristic take on tribal atmospheres, `Invisible' and the latest `Bloodmoon' volume offered subtle earthy drones and `Skeleton Keys' diverted back into analogue/sequencer patterns, `Etheric Imprints' is a sparse, unhurried and hypnotic instrumental soundworld that drifts to a place where time holds no meaning. There's a delicately honed sense of stillness and only the most subtle of movement to this exquisite work of deep reflection, fluid ambience and shifting sensations.

The thirty minute title track is an opening drift of echoing processed electric piano that is sombre and softly brooding, yet achingly beautiful as darker music so often is. Revealing the most subtle of black and white cinematic whispers, each piano note expands like a ghostly tip-toe or a pinprick drop of rain on a lake, with only fleeting moments taking tantalising teasing steps towards hope and light. Electronic ripples throughout `Indigo Shift' are hesitant and unsure, disorientating and psychedelic, and the breathless roaring rising and falling drone that quickly enters is unexpected and even just a little maddening.

By comparison, `Holding Light' is almost a respite, an enveloping and gently sweeping glide of electronic flutters and glistening whirring spacey shivers that almost harkens back to the cocooning embrace of Roach's `Structures from Silence', just a touch darker. `The Way Forward' closes with shimmering siren call-like electronic caresses sweeping with a resigned acceptance and contentment, where little moments briefly call to mind Rick Wright's sorrowful and aching keyboards on Pink Floyd's `Shine On, You Crazy Diamond' and then vanish in an instant.

It's in these slowly evolving, ever-shifting ambient compositions where Roach is the most inspired these days. Despite the accusations of repetition from more ignorant listeners, each work from the artist reveals refined distinctive qualities that only the most patient of progressive electronic and ambient devotees will discover, but their perseverance will be rewarded with an elegant and ethereal work where you can spend a lifetime unearthing its many secrets. Challenging, thoughtful and even confronting, `Etheric Imprints' is a haunting and affecting soundtrack that makes for Roach's most carefully considered, satisfying and inspired release since `The Delicate Forever'.

Four stars.

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 Etheric Imprints by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 5 ratings

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Etheric Imprints
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Slow paced electronics for slow paced times.

Steve Roach's "Etheric Imprints", 2015, displays in its 4 tracks, the more dark/ambiental structures of his past 2000-2008 works.

Etheric Imprints, its first track, reminds me of Eno's slow paced piano works. The thrill actually relies on the distant back structure which conveys all the reverb of its harmonics at the time it constructs its own and free- flowing melody line. Like listening to two entirely different tracks simultaneously at close and far range. There it lies its true beauty.

Indigo Shift, track 2, inverses the roles and the back structure comes forward displaying its mysterious dark mood, more in tune with Roach's obscure/abstract environments, with an added energy of subtle cacophonies that turn this restless piece towards the early cosmic music stylings in a very refined manner.

Holding Light, the third piece, builds itself upwards with sheer, even dramatic, string like chords, alongside a slow circling electronic tunnel that moves backwards. The contrast of opposing sounds adds for the deepness and urgency that ties the whole piece.

Track 4, The Way Forward, rises from the remnants of the previous piece and acts as a nostalgic closure, to a rather personal and emotional musical journey. Its solitary melody line flows through some of the hidden background highlights of its elder sisters to a perfect ending.

****4 PA stars.

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 Darkest Before Dawn by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Darkest Before Dawn
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was really my first proper introduction into the works of Steve Roach. I had him on a tribute album to Salvador Dali called Dali - The Endless Enigma, which incidentally also had Djam Karet, who I didn't really get into for a few years after either.

This album is, needless to say, dark space music. Imagine yourself in the darkest regions between the stars drifting aimlessly. He basically creates this atmosphere that lasts for a little over 73 minutes. If you wanted something dark and creepy to play during Halloween to creep out the trick or treaters, you couldn't get better than this.

Music best not to listen to if you are feeling depressed unless you want to deepen the experience.

3.5 stars which round up to 4 unless you have a problem with how math works particularly when floating in the darkness of space. Be sure and follow this up with something brighter like Spectral Mornings...

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 Skeleton Keys by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Skeleton Keys
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars A quietly intelligent artist constantly bursting with inspiration, it's not surprising to find several new releases of fresh music each year from progressive electronic/ambient pioneer Steve Roach. `Skeleton Keys' sees him reconnecting in spirit and mindset with the European artists that initially inspired him in the Seventies, and is a return to purely analog and sequencer compositions. After many truly ambient releases completely devoid of beats or percussive elements (unless you include his more tribal influenced works like `Monuments of Ecstasy' and `The Ancestor Circle'), the idea of Roach returning to a form of electronic music that originally influenced him is an interesting proposition, but considering he's been on a consistently strong hot streak of superb albums of late, perhaps this time around the results are somewhat slightly disappointing and not as engrossing as many other works by the artist.

Originating from a series of demos dating between 2005 and 2015 (which can be found on a separate companion disc to this one entitled `The Skeleton Collection'), most of the tracks that make up the finished product here seem to house a few minutes worth of ideas that are stretched on far too long and repeat over and over with little variation. Roach's albums are known for being very minimal and subtle, but here the more upfront presence of mostly unceasing sequencer patterns means attention can start to wane very quickly, as the way he usually gradually unfolds his soundworlds as intoxicating sustained atmospheres is often missing here. But most disappointingly, all those serene delicate rising and falling synth washes Roach paints all his musical portraits with are pushed more to the background this time that they almost completely vanish beneath the beat patterns. Roach may be no stranger to lengthy albums, but 74 minutes in this style that all starts to blur together quite rapidly definitely challenges the friendship!

Sly sequencers pulse into infinity throughout opener `The Only Way in', and there's a creeping, breathless uneasy tension trickling through `The Function Inside'. The restrained, gently tense `It's All Connected' introduces low-key symphonic synth caresses, but despite a mellow chilled mood, it barely changes throughout its almost ten minute length and grows a little dull. `Outer Weave' is one of the strongest pieces due to running only a little over five minutes, one that, along with the next piece `Symmetry and Balance', starts introducing subtle darker modern dancier grooves, but again the latter is overlong by several minutes. Sequencers bounce around `Saturday Somewhere', take on a more chiming, precious and crystalline quality throughout `Escher's Dream is Dreaming' (probably one of the loveliest pieces on offer here), and album closer, `A Subtle Twist of Fate', far and away the best piece on offer here, weaves a better balance of the sustained tones of his recent purely ambient albums with loops racing serenely like a running stream around them.

There's no doubt the compositions on `Skeleton Keys' have been painstakingly programmed and carefully considered, but many sections of the album are too drawn-out, meaning constantly getting through the entire album can be a challenge, which is a shame as the stronger material comes right near the final stages of the disc. It's admirable to see Roach changing direction after several beat-less, low-key ambient sound collages, and, despite acknowledging this is a return to the types of Seventies artists that inspired him, it's good to see the artist doesn't ever simply fall back on a lazy or uninspired recreation of the past masters here. But there's a niggling thought that most of his other recent releases such as the sublime `The Delicate Forever' offered more variety and proved more rewarding through constant re-listens to reveal their mastery of ambient sound than much of the material here does. Perhaps a beautiful symbiotic balance between long lengthy pure ambience that moves in and out of sequencer patterns, as delivered on the final track, would deliver better and more varied results on a future release?

But for now, `Skeleton Keys' is hardly a poor album, one that improves on repeated listens, yet it still seems occasionally unengaging, samey, overlong or more of a fleeting surface listen, which means those required repeated listens may not come. Perhaps it's best looked on as an `interesting diversion' to something more exciting that this master of ambient sound will no doubt deliver again sooner than later.

Three stars.

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 Bloodmoon Rising by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 5 ratings

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Bloodmoon Rising
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Old Steve certainly knows how to create and maintain an atmosphere. At a whopping 70 minutes this one track is trademark 'Roach'.

Layers of 'high decay' synths are placed on top of one another producing an elongated drone throughout 'Bloodmoon Rising'. As always, his choice of patches are excellent. It would be easy if left in the hands of other ambient artists to make this sound really cheesy and corny.

As it is, there's something quite majestic and other-worldly about this and many of his recent releases. It's beatless, of course, but has a wonderful sense of space. It can be listened to as the soundtrack to the outer Solar System 'Oort Cloud', or as an unbearably hot day in the Atacama desert in Chile.

There's something very organic sounding, despite it being wholly electronic. Perhaps it's because some of the chords are so elongated that they begin to sound like slowed down vocals.

Being one of my favourite sights in the sky, a full blood moon would appear to be something very startling and unsettling indeed if you didn't know the science behind it. This recording sums it up well... It's a calm, beautiful, eerie and somewhat malevolent spectacle that can only be witnessed when the moon is very low in the sky where the earths atmosphere is at its thickest from an observers point of view. It's basically the scattering of sunlight through the earths atmosphere, the same effect that causes sunsets to appear red.

A valid criticism may be that he's released an awful lot of similar albums where you'd be hard pressed to identify the album if you listened to it in random shuffle. But it's just too pretty to give anything less than 4 stars. I do like the direction he's taken during the past few years, dropping the percussion, ritualistic beats, occasional sequencers along with those awfully embarrassing New Age flutes he used to swear by. 'Bloodmoon Rising' will be an ageless recording - looked back on in decades to come where I can easily see it still being relevant and not just 'of it's time'

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 A Deeper Silence by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.65 | 3 ratings

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A Deeper Silence
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Sounding like the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust 'A Deeper Silence' displays all the qualities of Steve Roache's ability. Bleakness and beauty. Just the one long 74 minute track makes up this floating drone album. Beat-less, and with only the sound of keyboards you'd imagine you'd be in for a turgid forgettable experience.

You'd be wrong. 'A Deeper Silence' is one of the best electronic drone albums you'll hear. It's simplistic in approach and in execution. It's the manner in which it's done that raises one eyebrow like Roger Moore in James bond. Slow minimalistic, hazy waves at low volume permeate in the vein that you wish Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream would have done if they hadn't gone so awful after the 70's.

'A Deeper Silence' resembles the sounds of the outer edges of the solar system - where you look back at earth and see it as a tiny pin prick of light. Carl Sagan would have loved this. No beats, no rhythms where everything rises and fades into a billowing fog of darkness. It's a warm ethereal blackness that is at once disconcerting but at the same time relaxing.

''A Deeper Silence' seems to have no beginning or end. It all just merges into one huge atonal but beautiful structure that is so completely dark and quiet that you begin hearing waves as though lying on a beach. It's probably the most 'isolationist' of his recordings and may sound like a one man trip to the Sirius system in a spacecraft to some listeners.

Music without meaning. Just pure texture and sound, without anything to grab onto. Perfect in its genre and very difficult to review.

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 The Delicate Forever by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.29 | 8 ratings

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The Delicate Forever
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars In a world of make believe this is the way 'Tangerine Dream' would have sounded in 2014 if they'd stuck to their Berlin Electronics school of music. This sounds like the logical outcome, forty years later.

'The Delicate Forever' is a slowly sweeping drone album full of slowly changing quiet keyboard chords. It's all very plaintive and melancholic and sounds like the kind of album you'd want to play at the top of a mountain in mid-summer. The title track has stark resemblances to 'Stars of the Lid' with their excellent release 'The Tired Sounds of...'

Subtle electronic sequences surprisingly come to the fore on 'The Well Spring' which, while not being uplifting, certainly pumps a bit of life into proceedings.

Steve Roach, as usual, has a particular sound and vibe all of his own - where despite the minimalist approach the listener will instantly recognise his trademark ethereal stamp. Considering the bloke's been recording for so long, it's great to see that he refuses to play by anyone else's rules and that he's still so single minded in execution and technique. There are no external influences at all.

There's a definite purity in his recordings which I find highly commendable in this day and age. I used to prefer the music of stable-mate 'Robert Rich' but of late Steve Roach has become more consistent in the quality of his releases.

'The Delicate Forever' has a feel, that if you took a hammer and chisel and tapped at it lightly, the whole thing would fall to pieces like shattered glass.

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 The Magnificent Void  by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.07 | 6 ratings

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The Magnificent Void
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars 'The Magnificent Void' is a deep brooding ambient recording with slowly evolving keyboard cords that occur at the speed of a tortoise injected with morphine. There's literally nothing else in terms of instrumentation that is used throughout this lengthy recording. It is however one of the best entries in his vast catalogue. The choice of keyboard patches are inspired and Roach wisely eschews the ambient sounds of his contemporaries in '96 for all that cheesiness that was prevalent then.

There's a huge cavernous atmosphere created throughout the 69 minute 'The Magnificent Void' that may remind first time listeners of the beginning of the 'Alien' film as the 'Nostromo' silently plunges through the deep abyss of space.

If it's a good sing-along or knees-up you want then avoid this at all costs. Unusually I find this more like mid-summer scorching hot music as drowsy bees full of nectar, helicopter around unsure of their surroundings.

There is one masterpiece on 'The Magnificent Void'. The wonderful 'Altus' at 20 minutes in length displays intense chord progression and a very sinister feel. Wave after wave unsettling cords slowly evolve into something evil and threatening.

Apparently Steve Roach has no recollection of recording this whatsoever because so many elements of each track were worked on over a number of years.

There's very little change in approach throughout, but that's no bad thing, as it truly envelops the listener which I'm sure was Steve Roach's intention all along. Some philistines may call this 'Suicide Watch' music, but for me it's an object of beauty and permanence. An album that I can't imagine being dated in 50 years time.

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 Bloodmoon Rising - Night 3 by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Bloodmoon Rising - Night 3
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars The third of a proposed four album cycle to commemorate the occasion of four consecutive blood moon lunar eclipses, `Bloodmoon Rising - Night 3' sees ambient/progressive electronic veteran Steve Roach deliver another challenging and slowly unfolding formless sound collage. Described by the artist himself as a `sound immersion experience', it's one single seventy three minute droning, deeply hypnotic composition that seamlessly moves from dark to light, completely devoid of anything resembling melodies or percussive elements.

Monolithic slab-like immovable walls of electronic sound dominate the pitch black groaning night, taking what feels like an eternity for light and life to gradually reveal itself. Pinpricks of sunlight sliver through the dark offering signs of hope and life, and slowly emerging trickles of wonder carefully cast out reassuring, loving fingertips of warmth and protection. Drowsy, dream-like and hallucinogenic drones force you to close your eyes and feel like time no longer holds any meaning, as ethereal psychedelic washes unfold like ripples breaking and shimmering across the surface of a lake.

This release is available as a free download from Mr Roach's Bandcamp page, but a limited edition proper four CD set is due at the same time of the final volume in September of 2015. Once complete, it promises to be a very unique, challenging and evocative body of work from the artist that will appeal most to lovers to long, lengthy droning atmospheres. Newcomers to the electronic and ambient genres, and those who prefer more melodic offerings in those styles, should approach this release with great caution. Although it eventually reveals great beauty and an uneasy warmth, there are long stretches that almost seem uneventful or devoid of movement and progression. But `Night 3' is still a darkly dramatic, mysterious and impossibly subtle work from a master of low-key, intelligent and thoughtful ambient and progressive electronic music.

Three stars for patient listeners.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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