Steve Roach - Slow Heat [Timeroom Editions - 2018]Slow Heat is a long-form, yet subtle shifting desert-themed example of ambience from US ambient legend Steve Roach. This is a 2018 CD release of an original 1998 work- it appears on Roach’s own label TimeRoom Editions, in an edition of 500 copies- which takes in a digipak case, taking in decidedly moody pictures of the Arizona desert.
The disc takes in a single seventy one minute track- and sonically I’d compare it to one of the more layered, carefully ebbing & flowing, yet at times fairly psychedelic tracks off an album like Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces- but with very subdued/ barely there ethno-ambient touches. So while it’s lengthy I wouldn’t class this among Roach’s deeper/ yet pared-back long-form tracks. Roger Batty
The piece opens with the fading in sounds of the desert wildlife- taking in the likes Cicadas, birds and insects- to begin with under this Roach builds a warming, yet glowing sweeping & hovering drone. As the track progresses the desert sounds pare back, and he starts creating gentle swirling & ebbing sonic cloud like layers of gliding, hovering, and gently sweep tone- beneath this you just make out the touches of a majestic melody. As we make our way through the piece Roach pulls us in to fairly rising & ringing builds which are underfed by lightly twinkling & rustling detail. Before backing down to more pared-back blends of just there drone warmth and gentle Cicada/ ethno detail, or moving into slowly expanding & reverberation low-to-mid tone cascades.
At times the higher-pitched elements do get quite intense & penetrating for ambient music, but these add an interesting edge to the proceeding- and of course most importantly nicely enhances the desert heat theme of the piece. On the whole Slow Heat is another worthy long-form ambient work from Mr. Roach, which sees him subtle playing/ experimental with the form it some quite interesting ways. I believe you can still buy this direct from the label here.