vendredi 16 décembre 2011

STEVE ROACH: Journey of One (2011)

''Journey of One is intense, boiling and mesmerizing''

1 Journey of One (Part One) 47:32  
2 Journey of One (Part Two) 50:59


No need to hide it, Steve Roach is a character as important as Klaus Schulze in the universe of ambient and progressive EM. Over the years, the Californian synthesist has threaded some real masterpieces of music as much ambient as tribal and sequenced. Journey of One retraces a little bit these genres during a concert held in Sacramento, on November 8th, 1996. Back then the somber wind maker was at the peak of his inquisition of a strange tribal and ambient musical universe. Alone on stage, the one-man band gave a stunning performance of meditative and clanic EM, jumping from an instrument to another and offering a great musical act as much hallucinating as mesmerizing.
An Aeolian turbulence sends dark winds which swirl at the opening of Journey of One. Streaks of an unearthly synth coat this Aeolus din, pushing remote murmurs to whisper at the edge of clanic tam-tams. Steve Roach weaves his rhythmic canvas with powerful ethnic percussions which sound an alert under a sky darkened of ululating streaks and aboriginal spectral lamentations. This spasmodic movement which introduces the intro of "Journey of One (Part One)" becomes more sensual and more bewitching with slower percussions which drum lazily, introducing the hoarse blows of the Didgeridoo. We are about the 7 minutes and already we float in Steve Roach's tribal and paranormal universes. The rhythm goes from lascivious to nervous, but always arched on these superb clanic hands percussions. If the first 14 minutes offer a steady rhythm, "Journey of One (Part One)" embraces a strange atmospheric phase. The Californian synthesist displays a whole glaucous and eerie world there with paranormal whispers and winds which float and wave among corridors fed by somber layers of a morphic synth. Our ears drag into the 4th segment of "Part One", where the rhythm became absent. A supernatural mood reigns over there with winds and breaths of Ocarina floating over seed pod shakers and various carillons. We are deep in the heart of desolation lands, there where only the deaths whisper at night and where winds return their incantations. Tam-tams wake up and thunder a little after the 6th segment, awakening this desertic ground for a nice5 minutes before the rhythm disappear in winds, moving some ashes here and there, while iridescent spectres and voices from outer-grave ululate and rage in a point of no return.
"Journey of One (Part Two)" is knitted in the same musical pattern as "Part One". The intro offers a short and more cheerful rhythmic introduction with keyboard riffs which roll in loops beneath deep ethnic percussions. This rhythm becomes blurred a little after the 3rd minute, leaving space to the mesmerizing incantations of the Didgeridoo. And so Steve Roach's clanic and desertic universe is outlined. The 3rd segment brings us in a dark and spellbinding ambiance with lascivious clay water pots percussions which bear shaman incantations. Dark and mysterious prayers which are lulled by suave layers of a floating synth, delicious wizard rattles and nice tinkled butterfly cocoons. Segment 4 offers a rhythmic approach of spiritual trance. The rhythm is curt and nervous. Steve Roach drums a heavy rhythm which wriggles beneath precious layers of a synth filled with warm winds. Winds which carry the sounds of carillons towards a more meditative part where glaucous pulsations pulse loudly, reminding the ambient universe of Suspended Memories. The 7th section of "Part Two" is the corner stone of Journey of One. It’s a long segment of more than 15 minutes where percussions draw a heavy and dense rhythm. A hypnotic rhythm that layers of a multi- lined synth wrap of a delicious magical aura. This frenzied rhythm is slowing down little by little, driving us towards a more ghostly passage where spirits of desert roar with synth winds, arising Didgeridoo’s hoarse breaths. The percussions there are superb and the atmosphere is stunning. If we have the chance to listen it with earphones, our pleasure is decupled. Totally awesome! The last part is more ethereal and also more musical. It’s a beautiful ambient passage. A little like the sun coming after the storm, we sat and let ourselves lull by these soft synth layers that will inevitably bring us within another den of the Californian synthman.
It’s obvious that Steve Roach produces CD by the ton. The man is prolific and his works get multiply. Except that the man of Californian deserts has the talent and emotions of his ideologies, giving thus his works an enchanting depth as few synthesists, or composers, are able of bringing to our ears. And Journey of One is no different. It’s intense, boiling and mesmerizing. That goes into our ears to disappear in our memories with a plucking in the deep of our eardrums. It’s a wonderful meditative album which amazes in each of its grooves quite as all the works from the Lord of aboriginal lands.

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

* If you want to know more about Steve Roach and hear some MP3 snippets, you can visit his website here:

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