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Steve Roach - Etheric Imprints CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 4 ratings

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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.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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