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Steve Roach - The Desert Collection - Volume One CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

3.96 | 6 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Steve Roach is a prominent musician of note working in the new-age, ambient and drone styles of electronic music, composing literally dozens of albums as both a solo artist and collaborations with others. With almost forty years of perfecting and constantly evolving his craft, this instrumental compilation, entitled `The Desert Sessions - Volume One', is a superb collection drawn from four of his solo works, and the eight pieces on offer here create a sustained and seamless ambient flow. Gently soothing, hypnotic and endlessly melodic, the disc is a perfect way to relieve tensions, slowly unwind from the busyness of everyday life while still offering fascinating light progressive- electronic soundscapes for fans of the genre.

Drowsy harmonica gently pierces through low-key veil-like synths in `Ghost Train', completely devoid of any percussive elements, the piece shambling along in a lethargic intoxicating manner. `Flatlands' is the soundtrack to your trek across great unending plains of scorched earth, wandering gentle tribal beats filled with subtle purpose urging you onwards over soothing washes of electronics. There's a placid never-ending twinkling electronic loop weaving throughout all of `The Breathing Stone' that reveals the world around you teeming with life. The near 18 minute `The Eternal Expanse' is as grand and epic as it's title. Synth washes lap gently at your senses, as one layer falls away, another rises to take it's place over and over, dying and being reborn into eternity. They ready your mind for the inner journey to come, quickly exploding it with potential, just the smallest traces of unease threatening to overwhelm and consume.

The curiously titled `The Ribbon Rails of Promise', another longer piece at 15 minutes, picks up the pace, a little up-tempo skittering beat patters the background with joyous and comforting tones, chiming synth shimmers and dusty harmonica darting forwards and retreating instantly. It fills the listener with a stirring hope, of discovering a way forwards through troubles and stress. `Specter' brings a little darkness, a haunting drone of slowly ebbing synths groaning with crushing isolation and loneliness, a gradual maddening beat building the tension. The synths on another drone, `New Moon as Forbidden Mesa', bring an almost spectral choral quality, their lulling ethereal cries enveloping, mysterious, but never truly suffocating or menacing. `The Slow Turning' brings light back to close the disc, a serene glistening uplifting spiritual quality that offers comforting blissful serenity.

Compiled from his works `Dust to Dust', `Desert Solitaire', `Western Spaces' and `The Ambient Expanse', Mr Roach has successfully chosen a fitting selection of pieces that maintain an evocative mood in line with the title of the disc, always full of direction and variety yet frequently open-ended and unhurried. It would make for an ideal introduction to newcomers of the electronic, ambient and new age genres, as well as being easily enjoyed by established followers who can appreciate less demanding yet intelligently written and tasteful compositions. Highly recommended, and hopefully we see more volumes in the future!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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