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Steve Roach - The Delicate Forever CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

4.29 | 9 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The result of over forty years of working in the new-age, ambient and drone styles of electronic music, Steve Roach's July 2014 release `The Delicate Forever' is further proof of a genre artist at the top of his game still constantly evolving and perfecting his craft. Comprised of five lengthy pieces and running almost 75 minutes, composed mostly on warmer analogue synths, it's full of restrained and gentle electronic meditations, languid darker atmospherics and a fragile unhurried lonely beauty. Perfectly balancing subtle and dynamic textures, there's also a surprisingly hallucinogenic quality throughout much of it as well.

The opening title track, truly the soundtrack for the chilly early A.M hours, is edited from a 74 minute longform electronic drone that was released as a limited edition CD recently entitled `The Delicate Beyond', worked into a more digestible and compact form here - still running almost 25 minutes though! Newcomers to the genre may find this challenging opener repetitive and uneventful, but more seasoned electronic listeners will have the patience to quietly listen and contemplate this long hypnotic arrangement. Like the entire disc, this very minimal and subtle work is devoid of percussive elements or light beats altogether, and it flows over and around the listener as if one long exhaling breath, bringing serenity and a still comfort. A humming synth hum fades in and out into eternity, coming and going as if calling through the night. Each arrival brings it closer, offering reassurance, with playful electronic ripples weaving around it to bring a sense of new life.

The electronic washes now sustain during the more umtempo and energetic `The Well Spring', swirling around the background with a strident synth loop front and centre like crystalline tendrils bringing confidence and a sunnier warmth. It slowly takes on a lightly psychedelic soothing tone, reaching moments of almost delirious joy by the end. Haunting and disorientating electronic shambles spiral around `Where The Mysteries Sleep', bringing both confusion and wonderment with it's lethargic, dreamy drowsiness. The slightly imposing synths of fluid sound collage `Perfect Sky' take on a almost regal cascading church organ-like quality, as if you're lying on the surface of a grand ice crystal cathedral watching the sun rise and stream through the stain-glass windows above, where time and reality holds no meaning and mere minutes seemingly blur into forever. Gloomy ominous synths groan away during album closer `Hear-After', with only slight reassuring accepting tones to offer comfort from the loneliness.

An artist responsible for dozens of albums as both a solo artist and in collaboration with others, Steve Roach is equally at home with melodic, easier listening music and more experimental, less immediate works like this one. The five compositions here need to be endlessly listened to over and over to gain the most satisfying results, and it is a masterwork of contemplative, unsettling yet ultimately rewarding electronic music. `The Delicate Forever' is a challenging, thought-provoking and occasionally bewildering achievement from one of the masters of the new-age and ambient genres, and it's one of the best electronic releases of 2014.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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