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disc 1 - CD - Day Out of Time the soundtrack
disc 2 - DVD - Time of the Earth the film A Desert Dreamtime Journey -- soundtrack by Steve Roach a film by Steve Lazur
77 Minute, 4:3 aspect radio. All region playback NTSC (except Japan). Scene access. Dolby Digital-Stereo. Two full-length soundtracks. Audio track 1 is the dynamic atmospheric/tribal ambient score from the CD. Audio track 2 features the long-form soundscape, The Dream Circle.
Silent Currents (Live at Star's End) 2-CD
Back to Life (2-CD)
The power of the desert has been a core inspiration of Roach’s work and this release presents a compendium of tracks recorded at the zenith of that period. As a comprehensive overview of Steve's influential tribal-ambient and desert-ambient soundworlds, Day Out of Time weaves together classic tracks along with out-of-print and hard-to-find pieces.
Sustained and expansive, the atmospheric majesty of this soundtrack represents some of Steve's finest work in the tribal-ambient genre. In the midst of a deeply stratified soundscapes, dynamic earthbound tribal percussion passages rise up from the landscape under the shadows of billowing, glass-bottomed clouds. Part tribal, part haunting drifts, and purely time suspending, the release is essential Steve Roach. Like the stone monuments and forever vistas that inspired the music, this release majestically stands up to the test of time. It sounds as if it emanates from deep desert canyons in a realm from the near future or ancient past.
Never before available in stores, the Day Out of Time audio CD and its companion DVD paints visceral soundworlds from vast desert vistas, jagged peaks, and iconic stone pinnacles carved by wind, sand, and water into fantastic alien sculptures. The music tells the wordless story of the desert dreamtime.
For electronic music aficionados, established as well as new Steve Roach fans, Day Out of Time - with its companion DVD Time of the Earth - is a vital and rewarding listening and viewing experience.
In assoluta uno dei lavori più sperimentali di Roach, manifesto di quella sterzata simil new-age che ha caratterizzato tantissimi suoi lavori e collaborazioni del terzo millennio. E si trova sulla stessa lunghezza d'onda anche il film di Steve Lazur, che ha dato immagini alle note del socio Roach, ovviamente ricreando su celluloide i viaggi che gli ascoltatori facevano ad ogni ascolto. Time Of The Earth ripercorre ogni brano del disco, cercando di tratteggiare una trama, seppur flebile. Si parte dalla rocciosità desertica del midwest americano e inesplorato, fino a toccare l'oceano e le sue zampillanti onde che vanno a schiantarsi sulla costa. Una ricerca della vita, se non la nascita stessa. Il lavoro di Lazur lascia spazio all'immaginazione di qualunque ascoltatore, ma l'interpretazione ascetica che offre il sound di Roach non necessita spiegazioni. Fotografato tutto in 16mm, affidato al montaggio incrociato (Lazur non si fa mancare neanche le riprese aeree), "Time Of The Earth" offre anche l'occasione di esser vissuto sotto un'altra pelle. Si può infatti selezionare un audio alternativo, contenente questa volta un altro album di Roach, The Dream Circle. E il viaggio si ripete... Un'operazione forse pedante per i più scettici, ma che esprime la personalità di due artisti così vicini, così lontani. Un capitolo necessario per assistere al matrimonio tra musica e cinema, per il raggiungimento unico di andare a toccare l'essenza dell'arte stessa. Un'uscita celebrativa, obbligatoria per i fans. Rating: 8/10 -Max Firinu
From the early '80s, Roach has consistently eked out a definitive niche in the electronic music community, sidestepping misinformed pigeonholers desperate to brandish his music 'new age,' breaking free of the Teutonic chains of yesteryear and creating a formidable catalogue of sonic art lesser talents can only pray to aspire to. For decades he has consistently been captivated by primitive regions and the nomads trekking across terra incognita redolent with rugged beauty and solipsistic melancholy. His early classic DREAMTIME RETURN, a benchmark in American electronic music as pivotal as Eno's On Land and Jon Hassell's Power Spot, was an aural sieve through which flowed the spiritual hues of the aborigines' rich ancestry and contemporary digital musicmaking technology, the result a hybridization of human sound design writ puzzlingly organic via the synthesizer matrix.
Roach's knack for creating intense, deeply involved soundworlds has arisen both from his mooring to time-blasted lands and the reinterpretations of his earthly muse in a live setting. The doors of perception he opens for himself, and the doors he beckons his listeners to enter, exist because of ideas and images that erupt not just from the studio but, as powerfully, out of the world's stages. Witness the exuberant ALL IS NOW, a double-disc set capturing performances that fairly ignited the atmosphere of their origins, be they northern California or Portland, Oregon. Each disc edited into a seamless plunge into the maelstrom renders this collection as representative of a live Roach event as has yet to be issued (even one-upping ON THIS PLANET). Here Roach is in his ragged glory, ripping into his machines with gusto, devising vast weather systems of sonic events that writhe unabashedly between campfire and computer. Consider the possibilities that would have existed had a composer been present at the formation of the earth's crust, as nature distributed it's sentience across the red rock canyons and preening boulders millennia ago: disc two's sixty-eighty minute extravaganza "Sedona: Formations Creation" might very well have held the aural birthright to that event. Noises ripple, fade, shimmer in the heathaze; aberrant percussives leach into the striations of granite bass; there is the coming of night, signaled by tribesmen beating a drumskin stretched tight across the loam of time. This isn't just atmosphere -- this is audio anthropomorphics.
Restoking the embers of his imagination, the styles that imbibe Roach's art remain intertwined, yet have migrated into a number of distinct modes. But the tenor of the times, and his omnipresent investigation of all things mythic and primeval, have brought him to a specific space. His latest Timeroom Editions epic, DARKEST BEFORE DAWN, is the yin to QUIET MUSIC's yang, the bastard offspring of STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, a near-sepulchral venture into endless voids, sonicism bereft of spatiality, infinity rendered corporeal. It is 'ambient' ripped from the fabric of spacetime to reveal the residual quiet of vacuum, a place that is universe-endless, foreboding, yet perversely compelling. It is music that even in its most skeletal state reveals the emotional heart that resides at the core of Roach's oeuvre, music of subtle moves, born out of expansive motions, a weaving miasma of ebony drones, of gradually unfurling bonecold synths faintly modulating. Shattering the bland, faceless categorization of a 'dark' ambient music, this unexpected work might well be one of the most unique in his vast catalog, a startling tone poem limned with visceral, confrontational beauty.
Issued as a separate disc that offers the complete soundtrack to the DVD film TIME OF THE EARTH, DAY OUT OF TIME thrusts the intrepid shaman out of the void and headlong back into igneous regions. Those familiar with his past collaborations with Kevin Braheny and Michael Stearns, not to mention WORLD'S EDGE and ORIGINS, will immediately identify that Roach has returned to familiar stomping grounds here -- but perceive that his carrier current has always remained wired to the grid of cinematic imagery and the distance between is far smaller than you think. Familiarity might be the demon of artifice, but Roach has enough tricks (sounds) up his sleeve that nothing here suggests he's gone to the sampler one time too many. On the contrary, he's more attuned to his environment than ever: "Begins Looking Skyward" speaks in huge pregnant electronic pauses, the whispers of shadowed banshees, pin-prick synths irising open to the sheltering sky that perfectly replicate the vast yearning and galvanizing forces at play on the blanched terrain.
Just the idea of Roach mixing it up with the likes of Robert Fripp should be enough to send the cognoscente off salivating, but TRANCE SPIRITS isn't exactly the penultimate meeting between big chief electric and crimson king. Point of fact, this collaboration is billed as a conjoint of Roach and percussionist Jeffrey Fayman; Fripp's 'guitar soundscapes,' provided to the duo carte blanche, only grace three of the seven pieces, and even then are fully integrated, or more accurately subjugated, into the mix. Fripp's caustic whorls are more evident on the lengthier "Year of the Horse" and "In the Same Deep Water," where the guitarist must thrust and parry against Roach's stormy groove constructs. Don't leave the room with the impression that TRANCE SPIRITS is anything like a remote disappointment, however -- this is still bracing stuff, Fayman and Momodou Kah's rhythmic motifs providing the ideal foils for Roach as he solders them onto his tensile synths and own galloping beatstorms. It is music that is as effecting as it is effective -- no doubt the doors of perception are still only slightly ajar. Step over the threshold and see what's inside. -Darren Bergstein
The first of the three is DARKEST BEFORE DAWN. Every so often, Roach creates a long-form sound environment, which is meant to be listened to at low volume in the background. These are his more "minimalist" works, meant to affect consciousness but not intrude on it. STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE, QUIET MUSIC, THE DREAM CIRCLE, and SLOW HEAT are some of these "environmental" pieces. In 2002 he adds DARKEST BEFORE DAWN to that collection. Though it's in the same form -- 74 uninterrupted minutes -- it's quite different from the others. DARKEST BEFORE DAWN features muted, long-echoing, cloudy notes, fading from tonelessness into tone-clusters, and then periodically into a cathedral-like major chord. Two long loops are set against each other, subtly phasing in and out of agreement, blended and blurred, with no edges and no rhythm. All of this material is created on a modified electric guitar, though it doesn't have much resemblance to any ordinary guitar sounds. It sounds like the booming sound of wind breathing in and out of some deep cave, or perhaps the song of two ponderously orbiting stars out on the far reaches of our galaxy. SLOW HEAT, with its desert environmental cricket sounds and kindly synthesizer harmonies, was serene and comforting; DARKEST BEFORE DAWN is literally a darker environment, with its black-on-black, almost wordless CD (non)graphics package. This is a soundscape for contemplating exotic astrophysical phenomena: molecular clouds, cosmic background radiation, and the musical event horizons of spinning black holes.
DAY OUT OF TIME is the soundtrack to a film by Steve Lazur, TIME OF THE EARTH, released on DVD in 2001. TIME OF THE EARTH is a 77-minute journey through some of the wildest environments in the American West. Steve Roach has lived for more than a decade in Arizona; its vast desert landscape is an environment which he knows intimately. Roach's music perfectly accompanies visions of vast desert vistas, roiling clouds, jagged peaks, and grotesque stone pinnacles carved by wind, sand, and water into fantastic alien sculptures. Only toward the end does the landscape change into Western forests and finally a gentler vista of the Pacific Ocean shore at sunset. There is no evidence of human presence, except perhaps for a trail or two. Lazur's film provides a pristine, uninhabited vision of the Earth without the intrusion of humans, as if you, the viewer, were the first person ever to see this planet. The TIME OF THE EARTH soundtrack is a compilation of pieces, or excerpts from pieces, which Roach and Lazur chose for their "atmospheric" quality. Though there are some rhythmic sequences, most of the sounds are sustained and floating, matching the clouds and shadows that flow over the desert and its formations. The selected pieces tend towards abstraction and are often dissonant, for instance the enigmatic sequences from EARLY MAN, "Begins Looking Skyward" and "Walking Upright." This compilation features a number of Roach pieces from other compilation or collaboration albums, some of which were hard to find. Most notable are the spooky but masterful eleven-minute "The Dreamer Descends," and the mystical "Eternal Expanse," which accompanies restful scenes of woods, rocks, and waterfalls. This collection works quite well as a pure sound album, even if you don't see the images from the Lazur film. Once you have seen the film, though, these images of stone and scrub and sand and sky and sea give a visual dimension to Roach's music. These are alien landscapes that you can listen to as well as visit through the magical screen.
ALL IS NOW, Roach's third solo offering for 2002, is a 2-CD set featuring music from his live performances during that year. The first CD, self-titled "All is Now" contains excerpts from shows in Oakland, Portland, and San Francisco. The second CD, titled "Formations Creation," (an allusion to those weird stone desert formations) comes from a single show, recorded in Sedona, Arizona on May 3, 2002.
Steve Roach has been doing live performances of his music for more than 20 years. Ambient-electronic music doesn't have the same kind of live performance tradition as rock, jazz, or classical music; the action and visual focus is different. There's no theatrical band with costumes and special effects, nor is there a formally-clad orchestra with a gesticulating conductor out in front. A Roach concert is a primal ritual lit by candles and perfumed with incense, a mind-expanding light show, and a meditative experience, all wrapped in that trademark sound whose reverb, whether in the studio or in the performance space, seems to go on forever. Roach himself is the opposite of the gyrating rock showman or pompous classical virtuoso; dressed in dark clothing and almost hidden behind the array of electronics, he is the wizard behind the curtain who delivers real magic. And yet, as with prog-rock or jazz, every performance of this music is an improvisation, dependent on dozens of different elements both electronic and acoustic which must all work together to re-create the Roach sound. The setup alone is wildly complex -- synthesizers and mixers and modifiers, a line-up of CD players and hard drives ready to add in sounds from his repertoire, acoustic items like guitar, didgeridoo, flutes, stone percussion, rattles, and drums, and laptop computers to control the whole thing. As anyone who has done live shows knows, something will always go wrong -- a simple power surge, switching mistake, or computer failure can wipe out a whole night's preparation. So producing this kind of music live is a feat in itself, requiring the nerve of a test pilot, all before the audience hears a single sound. It's not a chamber ensemble equipped with old familiar instruments, it's one guy with a roomful of temperamental electronics. Therefore when ambient-electronica goes live, you never know what you are going to get.
Roach's first CD compiles the "best of" moments from a number of concerts, all of which are worthy listening. But the second CD is the winner for 2002. Again, as anyone who has done (or attended) live shows knows, every so often there's a show where everything comes together, and something happens which transcends all the work and the waiting and the electronic poking and tinkering. This Sedona show is that kind of performance. As Roach explains rather tersely in his notes, he had a musical "script" for this show, which opens with cool and meditative guitar chords, accompanied by night insect noises (recorded, since this show was indoors). But after about twenty minutes (or perhaps earlier) he decided to discard his program and just improvise according to his own vision for the moment. It was a good decision. His slow guitar fades into a deep dark electronic roar, which builds into an initial rhythmic sequence reminiscent of the early sections of his 2001 album CORE. And then he is off like a racecar, and he doesn't stop. Characteristic, heroic "Roach chords" fly over the rushing electronic rhythms. This rolls into undulating, metallic waves of synthesizer sound, which then back up another insistent rhythm sequence. As always, Roach's pacing is superb -- he never lets anything go on too long, and he constantly brings in different sounds and textures so that there's always something new to be heard. Even listening to this performance on a recording, I'm on the edge of my seat, wondering what will come next. The later sections of the performance feature thunderous drum loops mixed with electronics, which then melt into a slow, light-filled synthesizer meditation, more like the cloudy atmospherics of the TIME OF THE EARTH soundtrack. He ends the show with a familiar motif; the tamboura and drone sequence from LIGHT FANTASTIC, blended together with high flute notes shining in the reverberating darkness, leaving his listeners filled with serenity and wonder.
There are no audience sounds on this album (there was no audience microphone), so not only is there no coughing or murmuring, there is no applause, either. This live performance is technically indistinguishable from a studio recording! But the drama and the intensity, as well as the coherence, of this brilliant set could come only from the out-on-a-limb risk factors of a live performance. The performer does not have the option, as he does in the studio, of going back over and over again to correct and improve things. According to the notes, the only modification that was done to the Sedona recording was an edit to reduce the time duration, so that it would fit onto a CD. There it is, real-time Roach: a couple of hours' playing resulting in an album that is comparable to the best of his studio work, and definitely his best for 2002. -Hannah M.G. Shapero
What makes Roach so distinct is that despite a copious output, not one of his works is bad or even close to it. While some material may seem redundant when compared to other Roach efforts, and while some may meander a little, few working musicians have created music of such a consistently high caliber.
ALL IS NOW is a collection of live performances released as if they were studio tracks - no audience presence in the mix. The music reflects the professionalism of Roach's performances, so elegant and experience that the improvised jam parts are impossible to distinguish. Stylistically, it's as close to the albums ARTIFACTS and ORIGINS, with processed percussion and ethnic instruments that dance around electronic ambiences.
DAY OUT OF TIME is the soundtrack to a wordless documentary, TIME OF THE EARTH. Roach intertwines older with newly recorded material. The album, thus, covers the variety of styles Roach has employed over the years. It opens with the brooding, "Underground Clouds," and more ethereal favs includes, "Begin Looking Upward" and "Merciful Eyes." Much of the rest is more percussive, a couple tracks locking into some nice slow grooves.
DARKEST BEFORE DAWN is the most challenging listen of the three albums. Consisting of one long track of distant, nighttime sounds, this one suggests what outer space might sound like. The music is not structured minimalism; rather it is "minimal" like the currents in a cloud of some unknown substance, flowing without distinct shape - a masterwork of its kind. -David Layton
A truly intoxicating journey, the epigraph "The Music Is The Medicine" from Vine ~ Bark & Spore lives forever just like Jorge's aura!!! With "Merciful Eyes", originally released on "A Storm Of Drones" mega 3CD compilation, Steve offers here his heavy drone escapade, attractively enriched by few eerie dissonances, before smoothly entering into expansive cinematic realms supported by primordial tinkles. The next composition, "Two Rivers Dreaming" (edit from Atmospheric Conditions), remains within deeper, dronescaping terrains with organic rumblings, while the following one, "The Eternal Expanse", is a shorter version of the graciously floating piece from "The Ambient Expanse", a five-movement collaborative work. This is definitely one of the most tranquil pieces I have ever heard by Steve Roach, serenely drifting into immense realms of pure sonic bliss!!! A composition filled with eternal beauty and exquisite monumentality!!! It holds the signature that is only The Master!!! And these vaporously sweeping cloudscapes overlap also to the grand finale that is provided by "The Return", a piece with softly floating and cascading massive washes, which are precisely alternated with moments of silence. No wonder, "The Return" was the closing composition also on Dreamtime Return 2CD, a recording that has redesigned the history of ambient music. The selection of all tracks is just amazing, maybe I could imagine on this CD also some track from Dust To Dust album, another unique westward milestone, even if it might be rather more rawer and less compact with the rest of selected desertscaping compositions. Perhaps "First Sunrise" or "Lost And Forgotten"? But this is not a weak point, not at all!!!
The visual part of this edition, Time Of The Earth, features 77 minutes of deeply immersing and mesmerizing images by Steve Lazur, constructed of time lapse, slow-motion and real time techniques, counting three years of filming some of the most spectacular gifts of the nature. All magnificently melted with Steve Roach's sonic mastery and exploring all ancient mysteries of these utterly amazing territories. Now you can even compare your own imagination, when journeying with Steve Roach's music, with the footage filmed by the amazing eye of Steve Lazur. How does look your nature's palette? Besides "Time Of The Earth" you can find on the DVD, as optional audio track 2, the long form piece "The Dream Circle", sculpted with warmly breathing organic soundscapes. It was originally released in 1994 and reissued in 1999.
Both Steve Roach and Steve Lazur have captured the remarkable natural beauty of the incredible rock sculptures, desert vastness and cloud formations with all their mastery, this anniversary edition is simply a must have!!! And no matter if you own the original separate editions. Everyone involved in this project did a really fantastic work, thanks a lot, including Roger King for mastering and Linda Kohanov for liner notes!!! -Richard Gürtler
This music represents Roach's more arid, desolate side, soundscapes that evoke the natural wonders of the American West. Epic rock formations are conjured by his ethereal electronics, majestic heavens full of glorious clouds are generated by his atmospheric textures. Languid tonalities unfurl with minimal percussives chittering in the distance. Sound flows like a gas, immersing the audience and transporting them without movement on a voyage of the mind, stimulating the listener's creativity until they imagine floating above grand spectacles and soaring through stratospheric altitudes.
The Time of the Earth film is a gripping travelogue of Earth's most unearthly vistas, a geological visual feast that reveals incredible majesty in the most desolate regions of our planet. Besides Roach's gently stirring soundtrack, also featured on the DVD is a long-form version of "The Dream Circle" as an optional second soundtrack.
The desert is an arid land whipped by dry winds and it’s in this way that "Underground Clouds" begins this odyssey through the American ergs. Winds as much hot as this cooked ground criss-cross the plains that get lost in the horizon. They blow with variable speeds, penetrating into the big stigmas of the huge rocks which change the hearing current into some subtle wind flutes, while Roach whitewashes his worship for zephyrs with fine organic elements which marinade slowly under the slow guttural drones and the scattered percussions/pulsations which breathe an invisible life to Californian deserts. Less dark "Begins Looking Skyward" and "Walking Upright" (both out of Early Man) are floating with a satisfied glance on an earth of which we can only seize the beauty as the crow flies. The synth layers which are floating there free a celestial strength are on a par with the sublimity of the landscapes of clays. The first rhythms of Day out of Time make themselves heard at halfway of "Walking Upright". It’s a rhythm usual to those of Steve Roach with fine Amerindian percussions which draw a slow spiritual trance through rangy synth lines which slam like a stroboscopic whip. And the more we move forward in this compilation, as well as in the DVD, the more we feel the affection of the video director and the musician for these lands of desolation. The music of Roach is equal to what the American synthesist wrote at that time; that is long and sinuous of synth line from which the breezes to the colors of rainbow are intertwined in an ultimate magma with rich opaline tones on fine and delicate rhythms which embrace the lunar trances of the peoples of the first nations. These musical landscapes, like in "This Life" throw mixed glances on lands which withdraw towards their earthly sacrifices. These ambient phases are shaken by rhythms sometimes weighed down by deep pulsations while the clanic percussions are sometimes seasoned by more electronic elements, as in "This Life" and the powerful "True West", a rare title that we could found on a mini LP “The Dreamer Descends” among whom the title-track and its paranoiac whispers, its enchanted flutes and its heavy tribal percussions, is also restored on this surprising compilation. "The Holy Dirt" proposes a more fluid rhythm where the trance aboriginal incantations glide on percussions and bass line as round as heavy. "Merciful Eyes" (another rare title from a compilation called “A Storm of Drones”) is a splendid contemplative ode propelled by some quiet and serene winds that some transitory sonic elements disrupt with the aridity of carillons from the deserts. Afterward, "Two Rivers Dreaming", "The Eternal Expanse" (other rarity which nests on an out of print compilation) and "The Return" (from the mythical Dreamtime Return) conclude Day out of Time with a surprising angelic serenity for an album which depicts the arid lands of the western America.
In spite that the images of the DVD suffer from the wear of time and from the possible points of comparison with the filmic technologies of today, Time of the Earth draws its beauty and its power through the rhythms and ambiances of Steve Roach music which, mixed in Dolby Digital Stereo, takes an incredible ambiophonic depth. It’s like listening to another version of “Day out of Time” so much the musical reliefs are incredibly defined. The restoration of the images is precise, so much and so well that we have the vague impression to view the plans of a scale-model of an extraterrestrial world. The colors are of fire and the filming is breathtaking, testifying of the film-maker’s audacity to make us travel through these immense rocks hand-crafted which give a striking lunar approach to these lands of aridity. The music adopts well enough the plans of view and the scrolling of the images which flow like aerial currents, except for those trances moments which are too often move on static shooting. But the contrasting effect is always within the reach of a strange poetry which scatters its stanzas in the winds. And, like on most of the works remixed on the Projekt label contain surprises, this DVD edition offers another audio track which parades on the same images; The Dream Circle. It’s another opus from Steve Roach's catalog (Soundquest Recordings - LTD 1, 1994) which is out of print and fits stunningly very well to the images of Time of the Earth.
Day out of Time is a superb combo CD/DVD which is a real incursion in Steve Roach's ancestral musical territories. If the images of Lazur suffer from time and its technologies, the music of Roach stays of a contemporary depth. Navigating between 1995 and 2000, this music by-passes the ages as it criss-crosses the landscapes of clay of which the shooting draws much more pride of the music than the opposite. But no matter, the result is a superb compilation of titles scattered in the meanders of time that we can see, but especially hear with the incredible film depth that offers us the Dolby Digital. A delight, so much for eyes and especially ears! -Sylvain Lupari