Regular Price: $15.98
Online Sale Price! $5.00
For over two decades, Steve Roach -- as composer, producer and performer -- has constantly challenged himself while fulfilling the need to create powerful sonic spaces. His music has an uncanny ability to shapeshift into new forms and ancient spaces simultaneously. This dedication to his art has been captured on over 50 solo and collaborative releases over the past 20 years. These influential works have inspired a new generation of electronic artists, established a steady list of benchmarks in the vast world of Ambient-Electronic arts, and defined an intensely personal sound that speaks to a dedicated and growing audience worldwide.
Steve Roach speaks about Streams & Currents: Streams & Currents is the result of a steady flow of deeply inspired late night sessions between late August and Mid-September 2001. Of my pieces, I feel these are perhaps the most intimate and directly expressive of 'being in the present moment.' As the CD evolves, a sense of quiet seems to engulf the tracks progressively; it is something I have never quite captured before in this way.
If there is a theme to be found in this recording, it's about working from an instinctual place - starting from an empty slate state of mind. These pieces began like the zones on Midnight Moon, in a relaxed and introspective state with everything recorded live in the moment in the Timeroom Studio. Almost every night, the need to engulf myself in this deep-quiet warm blanket of sound became a temporary obsession that soon filled over seven recorded hours. Instrumentation consists of two electric guitars, (Stratocaster and Baritone Guitar), Ebow, extensive live looping and sound processing gear along with mantra beat on one piece. After several recent ‘everything goes’ projects, Streams & Currents was also about focusing on minimal-essential technology to bring out the maximum opportunity for subdued emotive expression. Since Midnight Moon, I have been increasingly drawn to the physicality of playing the electric guitar in a textural-layered melodic mode. The feeling of caressing the sound into form with the help of an array of real-time processing is the core of this experience. During the summer of 2001, I dedicated more time to the guitar, experimenting and learning more in my own way and just having fun with the whole thing.
As I gathered these soundscape pieces, it became clear that a connected current was running though them all. At first I thought I might include some of these on Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces, my work in progress; however by the end of September it was clear that the atmosphere they were creating was better served by keeping the pure interconnected feeling of these pieces intact. The idea that this music would be my next release presented itself naturally. It’s all part of the ebb and flow; being available to the streams and currents of the present moment. Steve Roach, November 2001
And luckily for the listener, Steve caught each moment of this sound oddessey in a visionary recording, creating a musical journey that's as mystical and subtle as its title, where Roach stirs the primitive spirit with its improvisational grace. The instrumentation consists of two electric guitars, (Stratocaster and Baritone Guitar), Ebow, extensive live looping and sound processing gear along with 'mantra beat', a percussion loop, on one piece. According to Steve, its about focusing on minimal-essential technology to bring out the maximum opportunity for subdued emotive expression. Roach is not a man to employ a lot of notes, and he is extremely adept at finding the space between the notes and using this silence to best effect. Caught "on the fly", each piece on the disc fits together like a completed puzzle of interlocking parts, seamlessly viewed as a canvas of creativity; magical, deep and inspired. -- Ben Kettlewell
My experiences with the music of Steve Roach since have varied a great deal. In 1996 I saw him open for the Projekt Fest (both nights); I was amazed at the depth and overwhelming presence of his music there. And to have it come alive in front of me, even improvised, wow. And as for his recordings, I've fallen in love with many of his releases, from his most eventful works like KIVA (his collaboration with Michael Stearns and Ron Sunsinger) to his darkest and deepest like *Well of Souls* (his first collaboration with Vidna Obmana). And there's a plethora of solo works as well, though I tend to favor the collaborations. One of the things I like best about streams & currents is that it's not a repeat of one of the numerous recordings from Steve Roach, but a new approach to his own style.
streams & currents is probably the lightest Steve Roach recording I've ever hear. That's not to say it doesn't have depth, because it does; Steve Roach reaches further and further. But it's not such a heavy depth here. Something about this release reminds me of the Dreamtime Returns release, but steams & currents is even more open and spacious. Curiously other than a mantra beat on the second track, the album is entirely created on guitars, improvised and looped live. Steve Roach mentions developing the intuitive performance, and that helps keep it very fresh.
While the recordings were created with guitars, you wouldn't know it by listening. These could be bits of his stretched and manipulated synths he's worked with so long. The knowledge that these are guitar creations makes it a bit more interesting, and the psychology of the creation that much more enjoyable. While it's often not important to understand the process undertaken by a band or musician, it's very interesting to reflect on Steve Roach's process for these recordings. It's almost therapeutic to envision him in a room with two guitars and the lights of his processing equipment going at it with ebow in hand.
And as for the music itself. It moves very slowly, very sweeping, very open. The album lets you move and breathe, and it lets you sleep if you need. While it's not particularly eventful, it doesn't fall in the boring category at all. I also wouldn't call it particularly depressive, happy, or even necessarily introspective. I think this is music for the body, the way you might either relax or swim in a pool or river and they're very effective for either activity. steams & currents is not necessarily the best place to start if you've never heard Steve Roach, but if you know Steve Roach's work, I think this is a very interesting release.