Steve Roach: Atmospheric Conditions

roa-ac.jpg (22k) Steve Roach: Atmospheric Conditions
(Timeroom Editions - 1999)

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it... except perhaps synth-shaman Steve Roach... with the extended soundscapes of his newest release, he creates his very own Atmospheric Conditions.

These three beatless tracks move into your listening space like a welcome warm front, with gentle highs and lows swirling together in organic interactions.

A slow fade-in discovers Underground Clouds Over A Secret Grotto (22:32), which slowly evolve in an expansive-yet-contained sonic environment. Spreading and churning, these cloudforms encounter faint musical tones, bird-like chitters, and bubbling cavernous echoes. A prolonged fade out reveals darkly tinged underlying textures and more sweltering soundwaves, which thin and seamlessly merge into more ephemeral territories In The Heart Of Distant Horizons. A two-part piece brings those faraway atmospheres near, quietly intertwining in slow-motion undulations, as if Roach is weaving with sound. Faint rhythmic patterns are discerned as the second half (10:30) comes into focus; its light percussive stirrings adding prescence to the otherwise unoccupied space. The tones which sweep above are effused with glowing radiance, warmer than before.

Those lush passages segue into the first part of Two Rivers Dreaming (which was recorded live at Italy's Deep Listening Weekend); the beats dissipate as humid gusts begin to wash over the scene, which gradually turns more ominous, with deeper strands surfacing as barely-heard organic activity seems to tremble with anticipation before an impending storm. When disaster fails to strike, the mood subdues somewhat as the track progresses, safe yet still cautious as the second movement begins. Swept along in a steady stream, dense flows sparkle with occasional shimmers and more frequently, patches of shadowed immersion. as these soundstreams approach their final destination, their intensity lessens in both volume and force. A peaceful closing haze spreads as silence falls like night upon yet another captivating day with Steve Roach.

Stepping away from his more rhythmic offerings (like his Body Electric collaboration with Vir Unis), Steve Roach dives headlong into the naturalistically evolving soundclouds of Atmospheric Conditions. These living, breathing airwaves can fill your world and mind with new territories to explore. A lofty 9.2 rating!

Head on over to the Steve Roach website for much more magic.

This review posted January 26, 2000

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).