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Steve Roach - HelioSphere (Radiant Mind & Steve Roach) CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

3.87 | 7 ratings

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4 stars Steve Roach is a Progressive Electronic artist who has released quite a few albums since 1982, some of these in collaboration with other artists. This is the case with his February 2019 released "Heliosphere" which he released along with an unnamed artist that goes by the moniker of "Radiant Mind". Roach has worked with Radiant Mind in the past, so their collaboration is not a new thing, and it is evident in these atmospheric tracks that work off of drones and ambient textures.

"Heliosphere" is divided up into 8 sections, most of them quite lengthy and explorative. The tracks are named "Sphere 1" through "Sphere 8". The basic foundations of these sonic, musical "paintings" are created by the anonymous artist using analog and digital synths and recorded them in real time, and the artist is typically is interested in making soundscapes for personal healing and long meditation sessions. Roach took these synth textures and provided missing and adding of additional synth textures and stylings and these 8 compositions resulted from this.

The tracks flow from one to the next almost seamlessly, and subtle changes occur during the course of each track. The soundscapes move along slowly, not interested in creating melodic or rhythmic patterns of any kind, but more to create atmosphere and textural tracks. All through Sphere 1 and about half of Sphere 2, the main drone sound remains dark and quite deep with ambient slow waves of tone coming in and out, but halfway through the 2nd track, these tonal waves start getting a bit brighter and slightly sharper. Sphere 3 shows more tonal shifts as the sustained tones change more often, almost like a very slow melody where the chords are held so long that you might never notice, but you do notice more movement in the track.

This increase in subtle movements in the tones continues until Sphere 6, which returns to a darker sound that is centered more around the deep drone. Higher tones ring out almost at indiscernible levels that shimmer more in your head than they do in your ears. But they are there. You can especially hear the sound of the shimmering synth towards the end of the track, but not much else changes through the duration of this 11 minute track. At the end, it fades to almost complete silence which Sphere 7 continues as a new texture slowly increases as pulsating tones grow along with it. These pulses are the closest thing to any rhythmic structure you will find on the album. The final track remains the most ambient and minimal with quiet tone drones barely holding the sonic levels in hearing range.

This is an album made up of soundscapes that would be most useful for meditation and quieting your mind. You will not find melodic or rhythmic music here, but you will find deep and textural sounds that will take your mind away to other spatial spheres if you let it. For that purpose, this is an effective album, and is well produced for that purpose.

TCat | 4/5 |


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