Regular Price: $16.98
Online Sale Price! $13.98
Low Volume Music by Steve Roach / Dirk Serries
Slow Dream ~~ $7.98 INTRODUCING PRICE
After a ten year hiatus, Steve Roach and Dirk Serries (formerly recording as vidnaObmana) reconnect to begin anew. The result is Low Volume Music, an introspective musical palette solely dedicated to harmony, integrity and pure beauty.
In a world where the noise level of daily life has increased to a fever pitch, this release offers an essential sonic respite from the external distractions. These five delicate sound meditations appear in the listening space like slowly drifting incense. The pieces are built upon a perfect blend of deep ambient characteristics: looping and lush textures and harmonics mixed with subtle, hovering, lattice-like forms. The tracks follow a zen-like flow, bringing the listener's attention down to a distinct stillness, a single point; gently shifting, sparkling mirror pools of sound are revealed as meditations to reflect upon. The understated beauty of Low Volume Music offers a path back to the soulful nourishment found at the quiet center.
"We chose the title Low Volume Music," Dirk reflects, "because we wanted to score an album of pure minimalism, introspection and harmony; music that is most effective at a lower volume. Although it draws from our personal and mutual universe of sound, I believe the biggest difference from the past is we both wanted to aim for something unclouded without pushing each other to break sonic boundaries. We both felt it was vital for us personally to express that part of us that we return to: the pure, harmonically-nuanced side of our art that we naturally live and breathe."
Over the course of their six releases and many international concerts, Roach and Serries pushed the edges of ambient electronic music, then when the time felt right they respectfully stepped away to pursue other work. With Low Volume Music, Roach and Serries reconnect to create a beautiful release, displaying a vision sublimely refined, minimal, and true. This is perhaps their most personal collaboration to date.
Und offensichtlich haben Dirk Serries und Steve Roach nicht den Kontakt verloren und legen mit „Low Volume Music“ eine neue Zusammenarbeit vor; jetzt in der Verbindung Gitarre und Tasteninstrumente. Low Volume Music verortet sich dabei ganz in der Tradition des klassischen Ambient, Klangtexturen zu schaffen, die den Raum bereichern, in dem sie (ab)gespielt werden, zu keiner Zeit jedoch neue Mauern oder Abgründe aufbauen zu wollen; auch nicht durch Lautstärke an sich. Die beiden Instrumente verschmelzen innerhalb der 5 Stücke sehr stark, mit der Gitarre als der Zutat, die mit kürzeren Motiven Bewegungen in die Klangskulpturen bringt und Steve Roach als dem tendenziell flächiger Arbeitenden. Besonders auffällig im Stück #2, „Whisper“ mit einem subtilen Drone unter den Melodiemotiven und Flächen. Die Verschmelzung geht zum Teil so weit, dass es in Einzelfällen nahezu unmöglich wird zu sagen, wer von beiden bestimmte Motive gespielt hat, zumal auch die Soundästhetik trotz unterschiedlicher Instrumente eine starke Verwandtschaft besitzt und im Stück #4, „Bow“, wo beide auch die gleiche Drift in ihre Bögen legen und sich förmlich musikalisch umkreisen so etwas wie ihren Höhepunkt findet.
Low Volume Music wird so zu einem Werk Geistesverwandter, die in der Lage sind, nicht nur perfekt auf diese fragile Art zusammenzuarbeiten, sondern dabei auch subtile Variationen und Betonungen entstehen zu lassen (bestes Beispiel: die langsam hervorkriechenden Bassbögen in der zweiten Hälfte von „Bow“), die die vordergründig traditionell ambienten und damit tendenziell flächig angelegten Stücke in ihrem Verlauf steigern ohne die Gesamtstimmung zu gefährden. In Low Volume Music steckt damit ein Hörpotenzial, das weit über flächigen Raumklang hinausgeht und sich bei jedem weiteren Hören mehr offenbart.
“Alles komt terug”, lijkt deze plaat te willen zeggen. Want twee grootmachten in de ambient-dronewereld hebben elkaar niet na vele lange, expressieve jaren teruggevonden, maar met de muziek op Low Volume Music willen ze ook terugkeren naar de essentie: de kern van muziek. Ze gaan voor ambient in zijn meest zuivere, natuurlijke belevingsvorm. Dat betekent geen eindeloos diepe details of complexe effecten die hoofdtelefoons vereisen om te moeten ontdekt worden. Het gaat hier om warme sfeerkleuren, atmosferische geluidstapijten die in vrij heldere vorm een langzame loopbeweging maken en daardoor zowel rust als gemoedelijkheid uitstralen.
Noem het “minimalisme”, maar niet “saai”. Want zelfs een nogal rechttoe rechtaan ‘Whisper’ kent een voortdurend bewegende basistoon die uit veel fonkelende nuances, space-effecten en meerdere noten bestaat. Het nummer lijkt wel wat op een toverbol vol schakeringen en nogal willekeurige dynamiek, maar wel mooi rond. Hoewel het album zich dus verzet tegen steeds luidere en drukkere muziek, kan het geen kwaad de volumeknop toch voldoende aan te draaien. ‘Closed’ beweegt zich dan weer in het rijk van aangestreken metaaldrones en filmische wondercreaties: een prent van mysterie en dromerigheid. Zo heeft elk van de vijf tracks op dit album, die variëren tussen acht en vijftien minuten, min of meer een eigen karakter. ‘Bow’ is misschien wel het minst uitgesproken met zijn langzame, slepende drone en nogal een doffe, donkere ondertoon. Het nummer laat zijn nuances vooral plaatsvinden in een diepe ondergrond van bassen en lage frequenties die lang nazinderen en het is daardoor allicht de track die toch om de meeste decibels smeekt.
Dit is een plaat met warme, pure ambient: geschikt voor wie in geluiden wil wegzinken, dromen en fantaseren. Vernieuwing moet hier in elk geval niet verwacht worden. Dit soort van minimale kunstwerkjes bestaat al veelvuldig en lange tijd (grijp enkel al maar eens terug naar het oeuvre van de twee heren), maar kwalitatief is het zeker wel. Enige minpuntje is dat de vijf muzikale bewegingen grotendeels in dezelfde sfeer blijven hangen, wat een welafgebakende, maar ook vrij monotone uitstraling geeft. Rating: 3.5/5 -Johan Giglot
The pair have worked together in the past on various collaborative releases (when Serries went under the pseudonym of Vidna Obmana), but it's some ten years since they’ve worked together. Listening to this album it sounds like they’ve never been apart, as the pair bound their respective ambient tools together in a effortless & deeply enchanting embrace.
The album offers up five tracks that fall between the eight to just over fifteen minute mark. And each track finds the pair weaving hypnotic ambient structures that follow slowly circling & minimal ambient patterns - with Roach’s synth work weaving & drifting through Serries' often repetitive yet deeply entrancing guitar textures. The mood of the tracks goes from drifting warming, through to hypnotically melancholic, onto slow motion & dreamingly expansive.
Low Volume Music is highly spellbiding ambient release, which finds both Roach & Serries at the height of their powers. Certainly this is one of the most rewarding Roach releases in recent memory, and it’s also one of the ambient highlights of the year, which I can see myself returning to again & again. Rating: 5/5 -Roger Batty
Di lì in poi, le opere prodotte in collaborazione presero una direzione prettamente sperimentale, lambendo l'ambient-trance prima (Cavern Of Sirens) e memorie psico-industriali poi ("InnerZone"), senza però mai riuscire a tornare ai livelli del folgorante primo capitolo. Infine vi fu il pessimo Spirit Dome, tra rumore e disfunzioni, che sembrava candidarsi al ruolo di vero e proprio epitaffio di una collaborazione iniziata nel migliore dei modi e culminata nel più totale eccesso di ambizione.
Gli otto anni trascorsi dall'uscita di quest'ultimo sembravano voler confermare la tesi di cui sopra: ma ecco che, del tutto a sorpresa e senza alcun preannuncio, i due decidono di incrociare di nuovo le loro strade e di riprendere in mano le trame della loro collaborazione. E "Low Volume Music" sembra volerci anticipare, già dal titolo, un cambio di rotta sostanziale nelle dinamiche del loro percorso: niente più muri invalicabili di droni robotici, addio dissonanze e convergenze industriali. Al loro posto, il paradigma della quiete per antonomasia: il basso volume.
Il risultato è una formula intima, pacata e per certi versi minimale, vicina al Roach "umanista" dei vari Early Man e Afterlight: una ricetta forse un po' furba, che ripropone cliché ben definiti e di sicura presa emotiva, ma che riesce nell'intento di raccontare sottovoce, cullando con dolcezza, la resurrezione del percorso congiunto dei due. Così "Here" apre all'insegna dell'onirismo puro, tra flussi quieti e droni vibranti, lasciando poi spazio ai languidi sussurri di "Whisper" - la miglior incarnazione del concetto espresso nel titolo - e alla più acustica "Closed", che ripesca i languori del Serries dei primi anni Novanta.
La profondità massima è raggiunta però nelle due mini-suite conclusive: "Bow" viaggia a ridosso del cosmo, abbracciando contemporaneamente rarefazione e cicli lividi à-la-Tim Hecker, mentre "Haze" recupera il linguaggio fluido del Roach più nostalgico, cesellando in un quarto d'ora un misto di malinconia, serenità e pace dei sensi. Rating: 7/8 -Matteo Meda "Low Volume Music" è un album che guarda indietro, riuscendo a riportare in auge il sodalizio fra i due nella maniera contemporaneamente più semplice ed efficace possibile. Non c'è rinnovamento né sperimentazione, e non siamo certo al livello più alto dell'ispiratissimo Roach di "Back To Life" o delle "Immersions": resta lo sfruttamento di uno standard sonoro in eterno legame con la suggestione, incapace di deludere tanto quanto di impressionare. Per stavolta, possiamo anche accontentarci di questo, e lasciarci cullare abbassando il volume del nostro stereo.
Dirk was already a talented isolationist in the field of ambient music, while at the time of their meeting (1996) Roach was already in a full investigation of those sectors of the electronics close to the theories of psycho-acoustics. Well of Souls (considered by many critics to be one of the masterpieces of the genre) introduced in an exemplary manner the concepts that I mentioned at the beginning of this article: that recording was a strong representation of the act to unhinge the sensory defenses of listener; their musical Dna is similar to a sound trip that passes through some essential elements and causes the magical feeling of remoteness from reality: the drones or tribal percussions are used to explore the depths of the soul, as well as the search for spirituality and cosmicity is entrusted to rites zen-inspired. Roach and Serries compose magnetic suites in drones that expand as new "perceptions". The compositions show with subtle variations that are worthy of theoretical application of a contemporary composer: they accompany us in this experience basically "dark".
So, we come to the magnificent paradox of ambient music: on these trips sound do not count musical details, but the trip will only work if the organization of sounds is a winning strategy. Subsequent albums contain more and different themes: Cavern of sirens showed a greater energy obtained by the sounds with a wider use of tribal percussive and less use of drones. Ascension of Shadows - Meditations for the Millenium (3 long cds) and Live Archive achieve the same result by emphasizing the mystical component of music and ultimately, they expressed the interest of Steve and Dirk in the study of ritual music. The strong sense descriptive conditioned the undervalued Innerzone which, using multiple sound sources for its realization, was a partial return to the "inner" forms of "Well of Souls". Roach and Serries had reached a kind of musical surrealism exposed in the digital form. Spiritdome continued to insist on this topic with a high degree of sophistication: the two musicians compose long pieces as a kind of oneiric drawings, full of cosmicity, with sound effects perfectly calibrated at the right times, but there was also the idea that the two artists had become victims of this form of electronic therapy and that the language was no longer expandable.
After ten-year break Low Volume Music change perspective. We note a clear approach to the purity of sound of the drone, with minimal textures, that is something different (stylistically) from the previous discs. This time the attempt is to find again the ecstasy and the search for inner beauty through the minimalism sound, with few variations; the ultimate goal must be achieved only by increasing the power of artistic expression; it will be obtained only through the slow gait of prepared drones in the sound space. -Ettore Garzia
As the title of the album implies, this album is not about high energy or fast paced sequencers. It is a collection of five very beautiful and mesmerizing pieces of minimal flowing ambient music focused on the harmonic side of electronic music.
“We chose the title Low Volume Music,” describes Serries, “because we wanted to score an album of pure minimalism, introspection and harmony; music that is most effective at a lower volume. Although it draws from our personal and mutual universe of sound, I believe the biggest difference from the past is we both wanted to aim for something unclouded without pushing each other to break sonic boundaries. We both felt it was vital for us personally to express that part of us that we return to: the pure, harmonically-nuanced side of our art that we naturally live and breathe.”
Low Volume Music is a delectable album of gently-fluctuating electronic music. Perfect for a moment to sit down, relax and drift away. -Angel Romero
As announced by the album's title, this collaborative effort deals with soundscaping at its most purest and beautiful, free floating form. Gently circling and soothingly expansive minimal ambience is revealed by the opening, 8-minute composition, "Here". Each listener is immediately invited to join a strictly ethereal float, which breathes along with him/her and transports into warmly relaxing inner cosmos. "Whisper" unveils an atmosphere of constancy, with minimal expanses, elusive movements and gentle swirls, and paints hauntingly contemplative sonic images. "Closed" awakes nostalgic moments with peacefully soaring cloudscapes of soothingly submerging aural simplicity and quietness. The next composition, "Bow", absorbs by its deeply sublime and tranquilly expansive spaciousness. "Haze", the closing and longest piece on this journey, clocking over a 15-minute mark, shifts your listening environment into gracefully floating and vaporously sweeping realms of celestial beauty. Don't expect any groundbreaking sonic sculpting and adventure here, just subtle ambient sceneries, considerably warm, quietly relaxing and gently immersive, created by the true masters of the genre. The album's packaging and images nicely correspond with atmospheric blankets. Low Volume Music is a pure sonic elixir to nourish your body, mind and spirit!!! Welcome back, Steve & Dirk!!! I will keep an ear to the ground... -Richard Gürtler
While it’s true that from conception Roach and Serries were planning a minimalist release of “sound meditations”, imbued with harmony and drifting textures, these five resulting tracks have a sneaking ambition underpinning their inoffensive nature. With Low Volume Music, Roach and Serries set forth on creating an alternate reality, a zen-like refuge from the noise pollution we’ve grown so accustomed to in our daily routines. The opening track “Here” represents a gateway, one intended to cleanse the mind and usher in a relaxed atmosphere, and even as one suspects that Roach and Serries are officially rubbing shoulders with New Age tenets, the composition works wonders. Choosing to encircle a mood instead of conquering several, subsequent meditations “Closed” and “Bow” shimmer like iridescent details in one’s mental landscape. They simply exist and the gentle mutations that unfurl over time radiate to one’s environment as unobtrusively as watching sunrays crawl across one’s wall.
An argument could be made that just about any ambient record should, by definition, achieve Low Volume Music’s intention. But true ambience attains to indifference – a tonal scale that listeners will mirror their emotions to – and that’s a quality that even celebrated ambient recordings don’t adhere to. Unlike White Rainbow’s psychedelic adventurousness on Prism Of Eternal Now or Tim Hecker’s aggressive leanings on Ravedeath, 1972, Low Volume Music’s only obvious sonic distinction is that it bears none. To some listeners this release will sound boring but that’s the nature of real ambience. Neither optimistic nor depressing, Low Volume Music achieves a curious calm that truly offsets the clamor of our noisy lives.
The first track comprises a series of delicate texturals that sigh in tandem. The gentle interplay of these tones generates a melodic presence of sparkling definition. The next piece pursues a similar motif, seasoned with twinkling sounds which remain almost elusive as they swim amid the sashaying tonalities. Gradually, though, these auxiliary elements creep into a position of equality, deftly merging with the atmospheric milieu and establishing a presence designed to enhance relaxation.
In the third track the tones adopt a more melodic structure, resulting in a dreamy pastiche as the sonic aspects fuse into a gestalt of manifest calm. Track four introduces softly jangling guitar notes to the melange of sighing electronics. (Astute listeners might identify this guitar plucking as more defined examples of auxiliary sounds from previous tracks.) Their contribution lends a grounding effect to the drifting atmospherics, a sort of clarity amid the ethereal excursion.
The last piece brings together all the elements from prior pieces into a shimmering pool of mollifying sound. The texturals flourish with crystalline beauty, generating a flow of exceptionally tenuous circumscription. While extremely minimal in definition, the music embodies a strong subliminal effect on the listener's psyche.
Overall: a superb selection of tunes designed to facilitate meditative withdrawal.
What we got here is almost an hour of slow evolving, freeform textural music meant as a contemplative counterpoint for nowadays fast and hectic times. The smooth morphing and overall lush soundscapes, presented in five lengthy tracks, are centered on pure minimalism, introspection and harmony, opening up vast but tranquil spaces with gently shifting ripples.
The transparent loops and lush spiraling spheres make up delicate sound meditations of deep ambient with a zen-like flow and distinct stillness found always in its core. I personally feel the last two tracks ("Bow" and "Haze") here offer the upmost flow and best blend of profound ambient elements.
Low Volume Music makes contemporary music for the slow lane, meant for the here and now, fully dedicated to cleans and slow down our busy minds. -Bert Strolenberg
If "Here" is made of black ink, "Whisper" brings its first nuances to this last work of Roach/Serries with a series of underlying chords which roll in loops in this intense morphic pattern to thousand of synth layers of ether. One would say to hear some discreet chords of an absent guitar which shines of its sweet sound iridescences particles to glitter in a stagnant void. "Closed" continues on this impulsion of crossed tones and propels us in time with its wrapping ochred waves of which every embrace frees filets of absent voices. One would believe being at the dawn of M' Ocean (Michael Stearns) or at the edge of Western Spaces from Roach, Brennan and Braheny. The approaches are as well seducing as soothing with these slow lines and arcs of synths which speak to us, sing to us and murmur in our ears with an infinite immersive tenderness. This is when that “Low Volume Music” divides its approach with two different tones, one always somber and the other one brighter, which tangle up in a firmament filled of seraph passion. "Bow" and "Haze" are also floating on this duality of phases with strata with mixed tones which glide like the wings of a redeeming angel, drawing some contemplative curves in which we just have the taste to hang on in order to flee reality. Low Volume Music is, above all, for lovers of a very immersive ambient music. The eclectic duet to somber wrapping approaches didn’t age at all and offers a musical journey filled by serenity with floating ambiances which surround us and seize our imagination to bring us towards a necessary tranquility. It’s the ideal album to relax and find again our inner peace, there where is always hiding this taste to hear the sounds of Steve Roach. -Sylvain Lupari
Having previously recorded six full-length releases for Projekt between 1995 and 2005, Steve Roach and Dirk Serries (formerly vidnaObmana) reconvene after a long hiatus for Low Volume Music, an aptly titled hour-long set of finely calibrated minimalism. Don't be fooled by the album title: its five pieces aren't pitched at a level of near-inaudability but instead declare their ethereal character with ample presence. Introspective and harmonious by design, the tracks unfurl in slow-motion, their loops rising and falling like the breathing patterns of a sleeping infant.
Though no instrumentation details are provided, one presumes that the tracks, which range between eight and fifteen minutes, blend the soft hum of Roach's electronic textures with the calming washes of Serries' guitar playing, and the resultant effect is both meditative and soothing. It's the sum-total of sound that's more important here than the individual components, however, and most importantly the calming effect the flowing sound mass generates. Admittedly, played at a low volume, the pieces would merge with the environment, given their seeming stasis, but played at a higher volume, they produce no small amount of stimulation. There are moments, especially during the fifteen-minute closer “Haze,” when the music could be mistaken for a meditative Fear Falls Burning piece—not that that surprises, given Serries' involvement in the Low Volume Music project.
Representative of the album's tone is “Whisper,” whose limpid swirls and softly shimmering textures exhale ever so gently for thirteen minutes. The penultimate “Bow” breathes as placidly, with Serries' micro-guitar shadings heard fluttering within an opaque, oft-crystalline cloud mass after which “Haze” drifts ever so slowly, filling the room as aromatically as incense. Admittedly, there's nothing revolutionary about Low Volume Music—no governments will topple nor regimes collapse following its release. But there is something thoroughly satisfying about two experienced practitioners pooling their considerable talents to bring a classic set of deep ambient moodscaping into being.