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& Reyes & Saiz: Forgotten Gods
& Reyes & Saiz: Earth Island
Dreamtime Return (2005 remastered edition) (2-CD)
Though the 10 tracks were recorded over an 11-year period in different environments and for different creative projects, they work remarkably well together as a whole. Five of the tracks are previously unreleased covering sessions from Dreamtime Return, the Suspended Memories collaboration with Suso Saiz on guitar, Stormwarning and Artifacts. Complimenting those pieces are 5 tracks recorded specifically for now out-of-print international compilations. They work together to create a connected storyline, like the soundtrack for an imaginary film. Truth & Beauty is an exploration into the enduring power of Steve Roach's artistic vision.
"Aftermath" which featured on the Spainish version of Stormwarning, starts off the album in a rather sombre frame of mind, recalling images of a desolate and bleak landscape after a storm has subsided, a melancholic piece of synthesizer imagery. "The Majestic Void" is next and is taken from the 1994 KLEM sampler. This is a lightly rhythmic track that features a sustained drum sequence that provides a subtle but powerful feeling for the music to weave it's magic.
The next three tracks were recorded around the time of the Suspended Memories album Earth Island, the first of these being "Fall of the Moai" which is a percussive piece that more or less acts as a bridging section for what is to come. "Earthman" features the guitar work of Suso Saiz who seems to be able to make his guitar weep, such is the emotion conveyed, all this while Steve backs him with the tribal feel of his synths. Suso Saiz features again on "Fate Awaits", a slower piece that really pulls out all the stops when it comes to creating an emotional response, and delivers it in around four minutes -- absolutely gorgeous. Now Artifacts was listed as one of my all time top favourite albums in the last issue of Sequences, and "Beyond the Blood" comes from that era with the addition of tribal vocals from 1998. Why was it not included? It is a corker of a track, with sublime shamanastic chanting that pulls you into its clutches, deep and unforgiving.
"Before the Sacrifice" has featured twice on compilations before, once on the German label Timebase, and once on this magazine's included CD (see Sequences 17 Steve Roach, interview) a haunting distant vocal, featuring a light tribal hypnotic rhythm, the music shifts back and forth creating a feeling of uneasiness (perhaps this track should have been before "Beyond the Blood"....?!) "The Unreachable Place (Again)" comes from the period of Steve's groundbreaking album Dreamtime Return, the unreaching becomes the reached, a piece that conveys real emotion and feeling. The last two tracks "The Unbroken Promise" and "This and the Other" are tracks that recall what Steve has achieved in a similar style on The Ambient Expanse, floating synthesizer textures that release primeval deep emotions within the listener.
All in all, Truth & Beauty comes over as a set of pieces that have been recorded over differing timespans, but remarkably work together as a whole. A rewarding listen.
"Fate Awaits" again makes use of Suso Saiz's guitar skills. A different atmosphere is created from the previous track; if anything the effect is more haunting but the melody is no less beautiful. "Beyond the Blood" is another previously unreleased track, this time taken from the Artifacts era but with ethnic vocal effects added in 1998. A faintly tribal rhythm provides the main focus, but throughout there is a moaning vocal that could almost be another synth provided wash of sound. Occasionally more recognisable vocals come to the fore, but just for a couple of seconds then disappear again. "Before the Sacrifice" is from a compilation album entitled Twilight Earth. It is a rather minimalist, rhythmic affair with just the odd effect, sample or synth pad to create the atmosphere. "The Unreachable Place (Again)" is also previously unreleased, but this time from the Dreamtime Return period. This and the next track "The Unbroken Promise" are the most ambient tracks on the album: all synth textures and the occasional percussive effect. The final track "This and The Other" is taken from the compilation Soundscape Gallery Series One. It is also rather ambient, starting extremely quietly but then some heavy drones break the tranquillity, and as the track moves on become more and more rumbling and floor shaking. The rumbles then die away and things become increasingly tranquil as we come to the end.