vendredi 29 octobre 2010

STEVE ROACH:Live at Grace Cathedral (2010)

Steve Roach's sound universe always remains astounding. The man likes challenging the magic of sounds with recordings where the spiritual presence is the premise of his inspirations. A 2007 concert recorded at the mythical Grace Cathedral of San Francisco on June 29th, Live at Grace Cathedral claims to be the witness of the sound risks that Steve Roach likes to tackle. With its architectural curves that shape all sound reverberations, the Grace Cathedral is the ideal place to structure the modulations and oscillations of an ambient music where the slow and morphic synth strata follow the architectural arcs of this old cathedral. To capture all the dimension and depth of his music, Steve Roach proceeds to a very direct recording, hanging microphones in the heights of the Grace Cathedral. This making, murmurs of a hypnotized crowd by elongated synth flights add a spectral dimension to Steve Roach music.
Soft ghostly layers open Embracing the Space. Synth layers which are delicately entangling form a peaceful musical maelstrom which increases its intensity by the only strength of its sound extents. Roach is the master of atonal music and the reverberating curves of Grace Cathedral shape marvelously the bends of its sound arcs. Even in suspension and reflection mode, Roach music infiltrates with a divine harmony at the mercy of his synth modulations. A peaceful flashback to Suspended Memories and the sublime Structure from Silence! Modeling his music with all his creative assets, Steve Roach takes advantage of the passivity his works to create infinite musical possibilities. Discreet, the angelic voices which wind around morphic strata of the 2nd part add a spectral dimension that suits pretty well the pertinence of its environment. The strength of the Californian synthesist lies in its capacity to transform his long ambient works. Thus, after the slow immersion of Embracing the Space first two parts, we dive in a sound labyrinth to multiple tribal breaths. Nuances breaths which drag their echoes among sinuous strata, recall the prosaic universe of Serpent’s Liar and Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces.
Strangeness sounds, reverberating waves with sinister breaths, Merging with Grace’s opening seems much more arise from an abyssal depths of an infernal world than from curves of a pious cathedral. Majestically, Roach adds to it a subtle sound limpidity which sparkles in a diagram of plasma fusion. But the sound remains dark and very penetrating, even with the whispers of a crowd staggered by this immense sound sail which swallows up any living species. We are in the depths of Possible Planet and heavily we slide towards more musical strata which breathe a heavy spirituality which increases its modular intensity with powerful synthesized pads. Layers which are spawning among the only latent percussions that we find on this double-cd set. A discreet dynamism which re-appears on the 3rd part with its strange jerky movements, unique to Roach sound world, which sounds like hiccupping sequences coming out of a tribal world with trance dances, beneath a horde of strata as much melodious as intriguing. Intense and melodious Roach guides us towards his meanders fill of thousand sound subtleties with a magic dexterity, so much that the emotion filters this ambient kirmess which quietly fades away with a striking 4th part, where strata’s powerful reverberating copulates with the serenity of a synth who’s delivering its last breaths. A crossing between Michael Stearns’ Chronos, Dynamic Stillness and Immersion!
As for me, Steve Roach remains the reference concerning ambient music. He is one of the only artists in this domain to create an emotion towards its slow modulations which, for many ears, seem abstract. And yet if one listens to it very close, one hears, one perceives all the density and intensity of a solitary man who is led by an existential quest. Live at Grace Cathedral is a kind of greatest hits of his spiritual music. There are lots of winks of ears and references to titanic work such as; Suspended Memories, Arc of Passion, Dynamic Stillness, Landmass, The Magnificent Void, the Immersion series and the unique Structure from Silence. His recording at the Grace Cathedral gives a highly particular and unique character, worthy of contemporary music masterpieces. Live at Grace Cathedral is an unavoidable which only its detailed listening can explain. A chef-d’oeuvre!


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

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