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Steve Roach - Soul Tones [Timeroom Editions - 2012]

“Soul Tones” sees this American ambient legend offering up two lengthy submersions in deep & entrancing ambience,  which mix together dreamy tonal drifts & haunting harmonic sways.

The album opens with the title track which finds Roach presenting the listener with a just under forty six minute track.  The piece is built around revolving yet seeming descending collection of ambient synth tones that slowly swirl,  ebb & glow around you. With this track Roach has created this wonderful soothing yet mysterious feeling of slowly drifting down through layers of ambient tone.  To me it brought to mind slowly floating down through a seemingly endless & vast carven, which is filled with these subtle shifting layers of glowing & warming mist that seem to  gently shimmer & dance with strange colours.  Roach weaves though this heady yet soothing descent  a mysterious & enchanting harmonic theme that just seems to keep leading you deeper & deeper in cosy yet slightly enigmatic sonic place.
 

The second track on the album is entitled “Resolved”, and this comes in just over the twenty eight minute mark.  This piece finds Roach drifting into sonic view with these selection of slowly revolving ambient tones- there are glowing yet stretched out /slow monition textural throbs ‘n’ ebbs, & these are joined by a selection of  drowsily chiming & glowing textural drifts.  To me this track brings to mind watching a vast UFO slowly rotating & drifting above you in a endless & cloudless desert night sky- the craft is quietly drifting yet spinning above you leting out trails of mysterious colour, as it carefully makes it’s way across the night sky.  Again this track finds Roach nicely mixing together soothing harmonics, mysterious dream like atmospheric, and enchanting structure that seems to pull you in deeper & deeper the further the track goes on. To me this track felt a little darker compared to the first track, but it still retained a very soothing & drifting air never really getting treating or brooding…there’s just a subtle hint of darkness here. In it’s last ten minute or so the track departs from it’s original pattern, & shifts into a selection of slow motion like synth  string like  darts ‘n sweeps- these have a very  elegant, golden & serene quality to them &  the tracks original mystery & darkness  has now dissipated.


“Soul Tones” is another masterclass in deep ambience from Mr Roach.  With both pieces here nicely mixing soothing harmonics trails with a drifting mysterious edge, and the last tracks latter shift into elegant & golden string like territory makes for a most pleasing end to the proceedings.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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