Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Steve Roach - Spiral Revelation [Projekt Records - 2016]

Synth ambient pioneer Steve Roach has continued with a relentlessly prolific stream of releases since the early 80's.

"Spiral Meditations" came in 2013, a blissful arpeggiated soundscape with many of the timbres and chord structures found in 70's Berlin School music like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, but with a looser improvisatory flow that contrasts the dramatic/cinematic progressions of classic Berlin School.  2015's "Skeleton Keys" also explored this idiom.  He has created music in this vein throughout his career (beginning with "Empetus" in 1983), but seems to have placed a greater focus on it in the last few years.

The results of these forays into sequencing have produced some of the most memorable Roach releases.  The melodic stairstepping adds a clarity to Roach's melodies which I have come to prefer, as many of his acqueous drift albums are difficult  to actively pay attention to.  He has proven that arpeggiation itself is a deep and valuable art form.  Some degree of randomization is present in the way the melodies unfold, as well as some degree of keyboard performance, and some degree of sequenced composition.  How much of each he is doing is not clear, as the approaches are skillfully interwoven.

2016's "Spiral Relevation" is the successor to the 2013 release, and draws significantly from "Skeleton Keys" too.  It takes a more serene tone than the at times mysterious and haunting "Skeleton Keys", and emanates the same brilliant bright love as the first "Spiral" release.  These two albums express a deep contentment and soothing peace, a rare permutation of calm completely absent of lethargy.  It is the feeling of excitement at being fully engaged with life and the surrounding world.

The texture could not be more lush and majestic.  Roach's characteristic Oberheim string pads intertwine with the bubbling scalar grid-work of subtley arpeggiating chords.  Where many Roach albums are sparse, with long contrails into silence, this music is enveloping and layering, a warm womb of physically pleasurable resonance and tonal complexity.

Like many Roach albums, it initially appeared indistinguishable from previous releases, and gradually revealed its unique melodic fragments, understated emotions, and narrative intelligence.  The masterstroke here is the final track, in particular, titular piece "Spiral Revelation", 18 minutes in length.  Not as emotionally settled as the rest of the album, this song expresses an existential vertigo which I would compare to staring directly upward into the sky.

All in all, an absolutely top shelf Roach album, highly recommend to anyone open to ambient synthscapes.

 

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

Roger Batty
Latest Reviews

Steve Roach - Spiral Revelation
Synth ambient pioneer Steve Roach has continued with a relentlessly prolific stream of releases since the early 80's.
210522   Various Artists - La Gamme d...
200522   The Rita - Bandaged Invisibil...
200522   Cinderella - Cinderella( Blu...
190522   Sdug Bsngal - Πά ...
190522   Connecting Rooms - Connecting...
190522   Alexander von Borsig - Borsi...
190522   Girls Nite Out - Girls Nite O...
180522   Jarl - Phonophobia
170522   Melaine Dalibert - Shimmering
170522   Carnivore - Carnivore
Latest Articles

Schloss Tegal - Back To The Dark...
Existing since the late 1980’s Schloss Tegal is an incredibly important and influential project, within both the dark ambient and industrial scenes. It...
260422   Schloss Tegal - Back To The ...
230322   The Residents - Fifty Years ...
170222   Dave Phillips - The Humanimal...
270122   Glemt - Dark and Deranged Spi...
211221   Best Of 2021 - Music, Sound &...
211221   Koobaatoo Asparagus - Califor...
011221   Anti-Worlds Releasing - Cinem...
261021   Himukalt - Tense & unwell psy...
280921   SRS Cinema - Purveyors of gor...
070921   Tine Surel Lange - A Great E...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom