Steve Roach - Groove Immersion [Timeroom Edtions - 2012]“Groove Immersion” finds USA ambient legend Steve Roach feeding locked tribal electronic beat ‘n’ groove structures into his drifting & ebbing mysterious/ harmonic ambient synth soup to create an intriguing if not always successful groove/ deep ambient cross breed.
The Immersion series started back in 2006, and the first four releases focused in on deeply hypotonic ambient synth textures that weaved a repetitive, but entrancing sonic pattern around the listener. “Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms” from 2011 started to weave groove & rhythmic elements into the deep ambient textures, and “Groove Immersion” really takes this process to the next stage with a slow and constant tribal almost lulling waltzing electro groove been locked over the top of the ambient textures.
Like all the other release in the series this offers up a single 70 minute track, which is broken up into four index points. The track consists of a slowed & fixed tribal semi ethnic/ semi waltz beat pattern & groove that is looped over & over. Mixed through this is a repetitive harmonic waltz like texture that repeats it self every 13 or so seconds; this is joined by a snaking to spiralling like electronic texture which sounds like either a electronic creature stretching it’s neck out or slow snake like hissings out of the techno reeds- this secound element appears in a more random & less frequent manner than the other tone, and it subtle morphs too. Underneath these elements is the lush yet darkly mysterious ebb, drift & melts of this shadowy yet harmonic ambient patterns- these seem to shimmer, haze & melt in a most effective manner.
The first few times I played this through I found the groove & rhythmic elements really took away from the wonderfully shadowy yet enticing ambient textures, but I persevered and after a few more plays the groove/ rhythmic elements seem to make more sense. Also these element were not as I first thought - looped patterns, because I could clearly hear that Roach was subtle altering & merging the groove/rhythmic elements from time to time.
But even now many play down the line I still find my mind either drifting towards the groove/ rhythmic or the ambient textures, and never them both together- the two elements somehow seem apart from each other, & even over a long form track like this they never seem to fully meddled and bound together.
Kudos must go to Roach for trying to do something a little different with the Immersion series, but I rather miss just the deep & lengthy submersion in pure ambience- in a way there’s just too much going on here for one to be become fully immersed in the track, & it often feels like the two elements have been artificially joined together creating this odd swinging counter balance meaning ones mind is either locked into one or another elements, but never them both together.Roger Batty