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Steve Roach - Tomorrow CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

4.47 | 11 ratings

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5 stars There couldn't be a better time for American progressive-electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach to release an album such as `Tomorrow'. In 2020, we're currently living in a very difficult, unhappy and threatening period, where hope can be in short supply. With this release, Steve has taken another deep-dive into sequencer-heavy pieces, the majority of them side-long, twenty-plus minute compositions, and there is a constantly uplifting, even joyful vibrancy to the synth soundworlds he unveils here.

These days, it's not unusual for Roach to offer very low-key and droning ambient works, some of which are even gently melancholic. However, with the way the year has gone, perhaps he's aware that another similar work might prompt listeners to dwell too long, potentially leading to overwhelming and unhappier places brought on by the current state of the world. So, in contrast, `Tomorrow' (even the title is hopeful) enlivens the senses by being unwaveringly full of momentum and liveliness, with sequenced patterns in constant movement, ringing and chiming into infinity, and the artist's trademark lush synth veils weaving around them.

Self-titled opener `Tomorrow' sets much of a template for this collection. Embracing both his more melodic percussive-driven styles with his thoughtful ambience, sequencer programming bounces with purpose, sometimes quickening and strident, other times retreating. They move between glistening waves of cooling electronic caresses that lap back and forth, always shimmering with elegance and teeming with life. Very slight uneasy textures that infiltrate the extended piece may remind some listeners of the legendary Klaus Schulze, but they are quickly chased back by more optimistic qualities.

Parts of `Optimal Being' drift into gentler touches before a dramatic finale that reminds of Eighties-era Tangerine Dream. `HeartBreath' swoons with a `Structures From Silence'-like enveloping sweetness with the softest pattering of beats. Both the shorter `Spiral of Strength' and `A Different Today' occupy the final side, with the former being up-tempo and urgent - maybe even a little giddy! - and the latter a sleek and graceful closer.

Being available on both CD and vinyl (a format that Roach doesn't explore too often these days) suggests this release is aiming for wider exposure and attention than usual, and it couldn't be a more ideal set to showcase the modern era of the artist. Steve's artistic, intelligent and accessible sides are all in perfect unison here, making it a treat for long-time listeners, curious newcomers or even more casual fans, and `Tomorrow' proves to be a reminder that joy, love and hope can be found in even the most uncertain and trying of times.

Five stars for prog-electronic fans.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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