On SPIRAL MEDITATIONS, Steve Roach captures sacred geometry in motion. Seven shimmering, spiraling, gravity-defying musical mandalas create a kind of vibrancy and energy that feeds the senses in a way that only nuanced, emotion-filled sequencer-based music can. At the same time, an overall atmosphere of tranquility permeates the listening space as each spiral meditation unwinds into the elegant beauty of the next piece, revealing delicate lattice-like melodic and rhythmic strands woven into intricate patterns.|
- Consumed by Sunlight [7:53]
- Sand Painting [11:26]
- Spiral Meditation [8:38]
- Helix [3:44]
- Spiral Meditation – Part Two [17:14]
- The Feeling Expands [9:45]
- Sustained in Soul Light [11:35]
Created in the Timeroom in 2013, this is music to invigorate the heart, mind, spirit -- and imagination.
With "Spiral Meditations", released during December 2013 on Timeroom Editions, Steve Roach shifts into cyber-tech infused trance ambient spheres. Eye-catching artwork is, as usual, designed by Sam Rosenthal and dominated by spiral talisman by Dawn Wilson-Enoch, in Northern New Mexico based painter, drawer and jewelry, talismans and medicine bags designer. Remember Dawn's spiral fossil photo on "Live Transmission" artwork or front cover illustration on "Live At Grace Cathedral"? The connection between images and soundworlds is again precisely utilized.
"Consumed By Sunlight", which has already appeared on acclaimed Projekt's "Possibilities Of Circumstance" compilation, opens the album in a truly impressive way. Tranquilly meandering washes guard the skies, while utterly relaxing sequences keep on shimmering. Magnificently absorbing laid-backness, more please!!! "Sand Painting", belongs to longer pieces on this album, when getting close to11 and half minute mark. It dives straightly into continuous flow of mesmerizingly repetitive spirals. Strong cybernetic vibes move elegantly throughout. The more recurrent are the cruising pulses, the more mindscaping ride unfolds around the listener's ears. "Spiral Meditation", the title track, vibrantly hits the center stage with ultra fast cyberscaping texture, enhanced by all kinds of razor sharp blip arrangements. In case you didn't cross the gates yet, be sure you will be definitely blown away with this essentially hypnotic cyber-tech tune, a definite top-notcher!!! Shortest "Helix", as indicated by its title, delves deeply into extremely spiraling realms. "Spiral Meditation - Part Two", with 17 minutes the longest piece, exposes with rather calmer hypnotics, where waves of infinite soundscapes are carefully coalesced with velvety pulses coiling up into the sky domains. It slowly progresses into more vigorous oscillations and rides through hauntingly remote cascades, while full-bodied sequencer sparkles try to steal the show. Mind-bending transition is guaranteed again!!! The next tune, "The Feeling Expands", intricately merges richly euphoric sequences, various cybernetic enrichments and warmly expansive desert vistas. "Sustained In Soul Light" reveals with more intangible sharpness of rhythms and melodies, with very delicate touch. High-tech fragments keep on emerging and tranquilly evocative sky-high blankets are amorphously drifting with pure grace and insignia of the master. Gorgeously mesmerizing finale!!!
"Spiral Meditations" album is a quite unexpected work by Steve Roach, much more hypnotic-infused than any of his other sequencer-driven adventures. Be prepared for 70 minutes of a hyper modern laid-back trance ambient delicacy. Maybe not as ultra immersing as usual for this genius of sound architecture, the word "Meditations" might lead to these expectations, but certainly as much mindscaping!!! That's why "Spiral Meditations"!!!
2016. Richard Gürtler / Bratislava, Slovakia
Imagine a spiral! A horizontal spiral which swirls in front of your eyes. Closed eyes which see a spiral and its circles livened up by multidimensional sound waves swirling as the blades of a helix which leave its blurred shades drawn hypnotic and ceaseless sonic circles of which the speed makes sparkled some reflections hatched like the lights of a big sound kaleidoscope. Now, imagine a wizard. A wizard of sounds who uses many psychedelic geometrical figures which swirl endlessly in order to take up your aura. You thus have Steve Roach. You also have all the background of “Spiral Meditations”.
We had a foretaste of this last Steve Roach's album on the impressive collection Possibilies of Circumstance of the American label Projekt Records with "Consumed by Sunlight" and its ambient rhythm which meditates in the delicate sighs of a bass line and some chimed ringings. Little by little this rhythm livens up with fine percussions among which the light drumming, kind of manual thing, mutter with embarrassment in the ethereal singings of a floating synth. Finely, "Consumed by Sunlight" passes through towards a more swirling structure of rhythm. It's the passage in the heart of the circular rhythms to the strong fragrances of hypnotic trance of “Spiral Meditations”. In an organic sonic envelope where gurgling and strange duck cackling decorate an ambient soundscape drawn by fine blades of synth, the rhythm of "Sand Painting" spins around with sound loops trapped in a fine meshing of percussions and sequences. We guess these Steve Roach's tender attachments for the tribal rhythms with this background of rhythm which drowns itself in a perpetual mass of circles of which the shadows and doubles swirl at the speed of a hyperactive trance. We lend an attentive ear and we hear these structures of whirling sequences which filled the hypnotic infernal rhythms of Empetus. Except that here, the sound canvas is so dense and so intrusive that we are stuck in a bewitching state of voluntary hypnosis. It's a dance into a kind of pensive trance which is at the height of Steve Roach's meditative visions. The title-track brings us towards a more silky level with a multitude of wavelets which stream in an impressive repetitive pattern. In spite of a structure of rhythm which besieges the comfortable hypnotic sweetness of its undisciplined percussions, whom would fit pretty well on a dishevelled rock structure, some organic jingles and a line of bass a little bit funky, "Spiral Meditation" charms the hearing with this gleaming sound texture which sings like a concert of cybernetic nightingales on the bases of a nervous and jerky rhythm. Lively and restful! Is it possible? The answer is in this mesmerizing album to the very soothing trances that is “Spiral Meditations”. "Helix" flies away solo with geometrical figures which spin as of indefatigable sonic shoelaces which refuse to tie the knots. Short and extremely musical, "Helix" has to be the bridge that links the cerebral rhythmic trance of "Spiral Meditation" to the soothing waters of the very beautiful and meditative "Spiral Meditation Part Two" which reminds me intensely Structures from Silence. Moreover what strikes the most on “Spiral Meditations” is this insurmountable perception of hearing Steve Roach's cradles; from Now to Landmass while passing by Dynamic Stillness or The Magnificient Void. "The Feeling Expands" takes us back the road of the delicate rhythms and the hypnotic structures a bit chipped of "Spiral Meditation" while that "Sustained in Light Soul" returns us literally in the sonic landscapes of Dreamtime Return, the rhythm a little more shivering but always also morphic.
Steve Roach has the gift to develop his visions, his feelings with a musical dexterity which makes of him a unique character in this big sound sphere that is EM and its derived. From album to album, he refreshes his ideas which bear a new skin in some sonic envelopes textures which seem endless and especially always innovative. Of course we shall rather have the impression to hear his wonderful universe paraded in our ears throughout the conquest of “Spiral Meditations”, except that there is and will always have an element of magic which goes out again from it and which makes of the music of Steve Roach be as an old friend whom we are always happy to hear.
2014. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca