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Fever Dreams III
Featuring Byron Metcalf: percussion, frame drums ~ Jennifer Grais: voice
"Brace yourself for one of the most stunning tribal-ambient-atmospheric recordings ever made. In Holding the Space, the second installment in the Fever Dreams series, soundcurrent wizard Steve Roach dishes up a heroic dose of powerful sonic textures saturated with archetypal power from the collective ancestral depths. Take a breath and plunge head-first into an astonishing blend of meticulously crafted synth worlds and multi-layered throbbing grooves, augmented by the high-velocity percussion of Byron Metcalf and the achingly beautiful vocals of Jennifer Grais. This holotropic recording pulses with life and spirit, beckoning each of us to journey to our depths to discover (or recover) what possibilities we are destined to embody. This is archaeology of the soul." – Frank MacEowen, M.A., author, shamanic-guide
Meanwhile, Roach utilizes a bevy of synthesizers and hybrid grooves to achieve an eerily atmospheric realm that seethes and drifts like a cosmic nebula come to ground. Dreamscapes unfurl, spilling from the cranium to ooze across the audience like vaporous zones of sedation. Textural threads are elongated and bent to form curvaceous moods. Auxiliary electronics filter in and out of the mix like migrant impressions of formless definition.
Frequently, Roach employs treated guitars to escalate the music's haunting quality. These askew tones serve to lend the sonic fog a ghostly quality that is distinctly different from the on-going ethereal ambience conjured by conventional electronic apparatus.
The percussives are ubiquitous, slithering their soothing tempos through the ambience like ingenious serpents. Rhythms wobble and slush unlike regular beats. The result is one of mild tension peppered by subtle invigoration. While initially evoking a tribal flavor, this mood is swiftly replaced with a modern temperament, resounding as timeless rhythms spawned by introspection rather than any expression of arcane spiritual connotation. The consecration turns inward, delving into cerebral folds to draw forth ruminations devoid of any conventional holiness. This new sanctity revolves entirely around neoteric motives.
One track consists entirely of monumental didgeridoo tones accompanied by Grais' choral voice, achieving an ancestral tapestry that captures antediluvian reverence with a human yearning.
As the album progresses, prior elements return to conspire together in glorious effort, producing an increasingly lush soundscape of manifested dreams.
With this second offering in the Fever Dreams trilogy, Roach goes deep into the collective primitive psyche--perhaps as deep as he's ever gone--conjuring a thick, lush, intricate weave of tribal, holotropic grooves wrapped around Byron Metcalf's relentlessly perfect shamanic percussion and spiked with hauntingly keening vocals from Jennifer Grais. As this 72-minute story unfolds, Fever Dreams II guides the listener through some of the most vivid, affecting soundworlds Roach has ever created.
The journey starts suddenly, with the abrupt, growling opening chord of "The Wounded Healer" greeting the listener with a dissonant, disjointed feel. There is the sense of something being not quite right, of being fragmented. "Healer" eventually winds into a smoother feel before giving way to the slow,. shuffling dance of "Energy Well." This percussion-driven piece moves from a tribal-drumming feel to a more frenetic, sequenced mode, building and enervating. It is unstoppably empowering. And then, as it reaches a truly high point, it bursts, releasing the listener, and ushering in what is a genuinely amazing piece of music.
"Opening the Space" simply astounds from the start--more so knowing that the only instruments on the track are a well-processed six-foot agave didgeridoo and Grais' emotive, wordless chanting. Plaintive and prayerful, it draws the listener deeper into the experience. The didgeridoo gives way to Metcalf's shamanic frame drum as it takes center on "Heart's Core." Grais keeps the prayer-feel flowing on top of Roach's dark sound-swirls as this one wends its way deeper into the soul. It has a very distinct potency. It is, in a word, transportive.
Fever Dreams II jumps back and forth between powerfully beat-driven soundworlds and more flow oriented grooves. "Fires Burning" might have been designed to let your heart rate slow back down. The drums slow as dark, lush tendrills of sound--Roach's "nomadic grooves"--rise softly upward.