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 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 - Molecules In Motion [Projekt - 2018]

Molecules of Motion, one of Steve Roach's many recent works, strikes a balance between his more composed, directly melodic Berlin School derived works (such as Skeleton Keys or Emotions Revealed) and the undirected vaporous chordal ether of his space ambient pieces.  In this way, it is similar to such albums as Arc of Passion from 2008 and Spiral Meditations from 2013.

Arpeggios and pads are the central components of the music, a glimmering three dimensional framework of rhythmic, dripping delays and aquatic chorus.  Meditative circular melodic patterns modulate in and out of clarity and audibility, the notes typically remaining fixed while the texture undergoes translucent shifting.

Comprised of four songs ranging from ten to twenty five minutes, this is a slow paced recording.  While there is a gentle momentum to the spiralling arpeggiated percolation, it is like drifting lazily down a river, with no expectation of reaching any destination in particular.  Just when one is thoroughly lulled into the tonal space, Roach will at times introduce a chord change, but these are often many minutes apart.

This album is tonally and texturally beautiful (the synth tone is second to none), comfortable and inviting when used for sleeping and intimate moments.  While dense enough with sonic layering and detail to warrant active listening, the energy of the music seems to pull the listener gradually into a somnient, unconscious world, each subtle shift tugging the spirit gently further out of body.  It has been intuitively calculated to quiet the internal monologue, to awaken an awareness of the dreaming body.  It has a sense of unhurried exploration, of smoothly proceeding into a benevolent unknown.

The four tracks are not particularly distinguished from one another, in fact seeming to contain the same melodies at many points.  As such, this really could have been one of Roach's many albums to contain a single seventy four minute song.

The deep azure hue of the packaging, the measured simplicity of the imagery (bubbles and threads of light) are a perfect fit with the music.  I am pleased to possess the physical object of this album, which emanates the same understated, balanced beauty as the music.

As with many of Roach's albums, I initally found Molecules In Motion pleasant but not particularly memorable within his massive catalogue.  Repeated listenings revealed the work's deeper emotion and sophisticated melodic interrelations.  Surely, this is a worthy album from Steve Roach, and some of the most beautiful sounds you could be entranced by, or slowly lulled into sleep by.   If one is looking for dramatic crescendos or faster paced movements, they should look to other albums, but this is a spectacular example of his vast somnient cloudform.

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

Josh Landry
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