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Steve Roach - Monuments of Ecstasy (with Byron Metcalf, Rob Thomas) CD (album) cover


Steve Roach


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 3 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Monuments of Ecstasy' features defining electronic artist Steve Roach collaborating with Byron Metcalf's booming live drums and Rob Thomas' didgeridoo and hand percussion to create a series of fluid, immersive and deeply hypnotic ambient atmospheres. While Roach's frequent tribal elements are not as instantly obvious as on his previous album, the dreamtime hallucinatory `The Ancestor Circle', they're always bubbling under in the background, yet the album takes several steps forwards from that sound as well. Considering so many of his recent discs have been more drifting and formless, Roach here favours plenty of cool sequencer patterns and programmed loops to bring a distinctly modern quality to the sound-worlds presented here, and all these elements come together as if the past and future are colliding and constantly weaving together.

Witness throughout opener `Archaic Layers' Metcalf's intimidating monolithic pounding tribal drums battering around Roach's rising and falling cooling synth washes and Thomas' reverberating didge drones. Only the most careful and near-unnoticeable variations in tempo sneak up on the listener and retreat back in the shadows here and there, subtle grooves turning frantic in an instant. Thrumming didge groans like the voice of God throughout `Monuments of Trance', hypnotic primal drums circling around the listener and wavering electronic hums stretching out as if a vast ocean. `Primal Analog' takes a different turn, with a creaking, almost dancey electronic sequencer loop gurgling away that's vaguely similar to the later more electronic-based Ozric Tentacles albums.

Ancient mystery and arriving destiny twist together in `Molecules of Momentum', live percussion eruptions and programmed beats racing alongside each-other. The fifteen minute title track blends natural ambient sound collages with spirited didgeridoo ripples, a haunting piano melody that plays into infinity, gentle sweeping synth waves, slinking Orb-like trance grooves and dramatic drum thunderclaps that sound like the heavens opening up. Album closer `This Place on Earth' soundtracks a brand new world being born, Steve's low key lulling shimmering synths almost taking on victorious and wondrous moments more in line with many of his other recent works.

Earthbound and alien, grounded and dreamlike all at the same time, the trio of Roach, Metcalf and Thomas achieve a perfect unity together throughout this collaboration, making `Monuments of Ecstasy' a precious ambient experience, and yet another intoxicating and evocative atmospheric musical statement from Steve Roach.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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