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Steve Roach - Landmass CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 5 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A pioneering 80's electronic artist of subtle depth and great variety, Steve Roach has released a steady stream of albums in various ambient styles for almost forty years now. Recorded live in April 2007 on the Star's End radio station in the WXPN Studios in Philadelphia, 2008's `Landmass' encompasses many facets of his instantly recognizable sounds and signature electronic styles, moving through a wide range of emotions and moods. The music is a continuous, constantly evolving sonic landscape, where the past and future come together, nature and the Earth weaving with futuristic electronics, and it makes for a hypnotic and immersive experience, a near 70 minute journey through an ever- changing ambient expanse.

Starting gently, carefully progressing synth washes trickle like a calm running stream, water moving all around you, feeling the cool lap at your fingertips. Crystalline loops glisten away, moving in unison with the faintest of bass beats gently murmuring along the background to lull you into a state of serenity. Clouds form overhead with the arrival of droning almost cinematic synths, taking on a panning overhead presence throughout `Cerulean Blue Sky...'. Unobtrusive loops beat like a secret dance, taking on a near manic quality yet never becoming overwhelming. Sudden sweeping dramatic surges strike and retreat like black shadowy tendrils snaking across the earth, until a soothing electronic pool washes them away over chirping sounds of nature, returning a sense of peace. Beats vanish as near silence takes you from all your stress, fear and unhappiness throughout `Monuments of Memory', as placid waves unwind forwards offer comforting reassurance, and a sense of being reborn in body and mind.

Groaning formless pitch-black drones threaten to shatter that sense of tranquillity during `Alluvial Plain', a sensation of suffocating unease permeating all around. It's like being locked in a cave with only the tiniest pinprick of light to offer hope, that one glimmer like a little teasing betrayal as it's consumed by the dark. `Trancemigration' quickly rolls away the stone to flood the shadows with salvation light, unfurling synths revealing a new world full of promise. Lively beats return and thrum with life, pattering like trickling little raindrops. The album closes on `Stars Begin', the most abstract and minimalist piece here, much more of a sound collage where long stretches of near-silence are still full of purpose. It's like hearing the dawn of creation, where the tiniest moments are ready to explode with potential.

It pays to listen to this album with headphones to ensure you hear all the subtle pulses, tiny percussive beats and careful consideration Mr Roach has woven throughout the music. Those who find some forms of electronic music too uneventful may respond to this one more favourably, as there's plenty of movement, diversity and greater use of sequencer elements, something the artist moved away from as his work developed and matured long ago. Steve Roach is the master of these sort of releases, and listeners who want an electronic/ambient release that is immersive and highly emotional with plenty of variety should investigate `Landmass' right away.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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