samedi 24 janvier 2015

ROACH, METCALF & THOMAS: Monuments of Ecstasy (2015)

“Monuments of Ecstasy is of an incredible sound wealth that will challenge the limits of your imagination”
1 Archaic Layers 11:29 
2 Monuments of Trance 16:31 
3 Primal Analog 9:20 
4 Molecules of Momentum 9:05 
5 Monuments of Ecstasy 15:08 
6 This Place on Earth 4:36

Projekt | PRO313 (CD/DDL 66:07) ****½
(A mix of ambient and frantic tribal EM)
Tribal ambient!? Everything but ambient! Even if at times the rhythms are a little less frantic. This last collaboration Roach/Metcalf, with this time the contribution of the master of disturbing shaman voices in the person of Rob Thomas, is of an incredible sound wealth with an impressive play of percussions, as acoustic as electronic, which cements more than 60 minutes of soundscapes which will challenge the limits of your imagination. The percussions are thundering, hammering, ploughing and tumbling in structures of rhythms, as much as semi-ambient than frenzied, which raise proudly the meaning of a naming such as “Monuments of Ecstasy”. The electronic and tribal effects enrich structures that I would describe more gliding, more floating than as totally ambient. And the nirvana is doubtless the wonderful title-track which shows without any doubts that EM remains very beautiful, even when it's out of its comfort zone. Once again, the universes of Roach and Metcalf are sparkling with magic. Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf and Rob Thomas unite their fates and their passions in order to make us topple over into a universe where the bewitchment takes quite its senses. “Monuments of Ecstasy” wears a unique signature which leaves an undeniable imprint of enchantment deep in the bottom of our ears.
A long drone perfumes the more or less cosmic introduction of "Archaic Layers". Woosh, wish and wash abound. They whistle by forming some long and sinuous cosmic lassoes, while quite slowly the awakening of the percussions will feed the merciless structure of fervent tribal rhythms that will whip almost the whole of “Monuments of Ecstasy”. Imagine 6 hands which beat wildly various drum skins and you have the color of the rhythms which get breathless the dance spirits of this last effort that offers us the trio
Roach, Metcalf and Thomas. The ruminations of the didge and the synth lines of Roach decorate this furious rhythm which eventually calmed down a little after the bar of 7 minutes to dive into a little more meditative atmospheres. These minutes, as well as "This Place on Earth" and the intro/outros will be the only ambient phases of an album which can only seduce, both by the strength of its rhythms and by the meshing of an impressive pattern of clanic percussions. "Monuments of Trance" starts slowly. Transported by the undulatory breaths of the didge, it proposes a tribal/ambient rhythm with heavy percussions which bewitch both the listening and the senses. The effect in a room is totally intrusive. The rhythm remains linear, minimalist. But there are so many jingles, nuances in the strikes of percussions and in the charms of the guttural hummings that we just don't see time passing by, nor the 16 minutes of it. Very impressive! Especially the ferocious spasmodic rhythm of a finale which brings us to another level of spiritual trance. "Primal Analog" skips from an ear to another with a delicious electronic approach. The modular synth weaves superb oscillations which wave along with the breaths of didge and the organic tones, while the percussions, rather sober, and the elytrons of steel forge a delicious ambient rhythm which magnetizes the listening. "Molecules of Momentum" gets out from the soils of "Monuments of Trance". The rhythm is however less dark with a subtle effect of gap which makes it feel a little more furious. The electronic effects are just well measured while the shaman murmurs prick constantly the curiosity of the ears. The approach brushes even an atmosphere of African jungle with tones as much organic than animal. This is a beautiful mixture which is cementing more and more while "Molecules of Momentum" explores a clearly more frantic structure in its second half. This immersion effect in hostile territories is clearly more tangible in the very beautiful "Monuments of Ecstasy". Between electronic and tribal moods, the title-track is a pure moment of delight. The percussions roll an ambient rhythm from where emerges a fascinating organic flora while the synth throws an immense pattern of morphic mist and takes good care to accommodate us of an intrusive melody. A superb electronic, invisible and magical melody! That could last hours, you know the universe Roach, that it would always be magic! Just like this impressive album which is going to join a lineage of little masterpieces so unique to the universe of Steve Roach. Strongly recommendable, even if Roach is not in your taste. To me, it's the best way to adopt him!
Sylvain Lupari (January 24th, 2015) &

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