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Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (30th anniversary 3-CD Remastered edition)

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Tracks

DISC 1
Structures from Silence (2014 remastered edition)
1 Reflections in Suspension 16:46
2 Quiet Friend 13:23
3 Structures from Silence 28:48
Total time 58:59
DISC 2
Suspension and Reflection
1 Suspension 28:36
2 Reflection 30:24
Total time 59:03
DISC 3
Below and Beyond
1 Beyond 32:11
2 Below 39:47
Total time 72:01

Note: If you are looking to purchase the 24-bit/96k High Definition Studio Master of disc 1 of this set, please visit: http://www.spottedpeccary.com/shop/structures/

Structures From Silence‘s breathing, suspended embrace of atmospheres and serene melodies instantly struck a chord with listeners in 1984; the album continues to reiterate its timeless resonations with new listeners today.

In 1983, as Steve Roach began work on his third album, the dedication to finding his voice as a composer and artist was coming into full bloom. On this landmark recording of gentle proportions, he emerged with a sound completely outside of the 80s era in which it was created. The three long-form tracks on Structures From Silence were the birth of something new; it was an original and pure statement, a dramatic departure from his earlier works in the German-influenced electronic space music genre. Striking a balance between diaphanous and gentle, deep and reflective, the listening experience evoked a sense of silence within the music as well as the space between the chords. It expresses the breath of life and offers a meditation on delicate strands of subtle awareness.

During its creation, Steve let the music take form in moments of focused stillness within the studio. At the time of the recording, Steve wrote, “I spent much time in silence, a beautiful place. Feeling the sound move through that space was vital in its development… For me the essence of the music is what is felt when it ends, a returning to the silence.”

“Like riding the perfect wave in slow motion . . . as if sculpting liquid, Roach carefully shapes his sounds into a stately crescendo for an eternal dawn.” – John Diliberto, Echoes Radio.

“Top Ten All Time releases for Yoga.” – Yoga Journal Magazine

Structures From Silence remains one of the most important ambient albums ever crafted…. its enduring influence has been unmistakably visible in the three decades since its release. It has never been more relevant.” – FACTmag

Thirty years later, Structures From Silence remains an iconic American release in the ambient and electronic genres. It’s a well-respected soundtrack for contemplation, relaxation, meditation, and focused creativity. The album continues to appear at the top of charts and is mentioned as one of the best releases in the genre; even more importantly, it is a meaningful touchstone for thousands upon thousands of listeners who have lived many years within its nurturing embrace. The album has endured, growing more potent over time, especially in the accelerated pace of today’s life. Emotional, powerful, and enriching, it is a living example of the true healing quality that music can hold.

For Structures’ 30th anniversary, Steve went back to the original analog mixes for a 24/96k remaster that reveals luscious quality and subtle tonal detail not heard since the 1984 master. “With today’s evolution of audiophile analog mastering tools,” Steve says, “we were able to reveal the original beauty, detail and essence-of-tone captured on the 30 ips analog master which has not been heard like this until now.”

30 Years of Silence
The 3-CD deluxe edition includes two bonus discs created in 2013. Steve says, “Over the years since the creation of Structures From Silence, certain pieces would emerge in the studio that instantly had the resonance of a direct relationship to the place that birthed this work back in 1984. As this anniversary approached – like the light slowing emerging in an early morning sunrise returning from a thirty year orbit – the desire to draw from this place of stillness, and deep inner quiet became the soul tone for these new pieces. Like the three original tracks, these were created in moments spent simply being present in the studio, tapping the flow state and guiding this sense into these recorded moments.”

“Since its release, many listeners have praised the album’s therapeutic and meditative qualitites, but Structures From Silence remains foremost a work of the heart, with tracks like ‘Quiet Friend’ forever evoking an aura of melancholic solitude. Whatever Brian Eno may have set in motion with his landmark Ambient series, Roach took a step further by creating something with a resounding sense of humanity and emotion.” –Mark Burby, Alternative Press

“Heralded by many as one of the finest ambient works of all time, Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence is right up there with Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, and deservedly so. Originally released in 1984, Structures was deemed a classic almost immediately.” – All Music Guide, Matt Borghi

With the 1-CD remastered edition and the 3-CD deluxe remastered edition (both presented with the original cover art), Projekt gives listeners the chance to discover and rediscover this timeless album. With a beautiful new audio transfer that perfectly reveals the silence within, this release sets the tone for the next 30 years of silence.



  • 24/96K remaster from original analog tapes
  • Luscious sound quality and subtle tonal detail not heard since the 1984 master
  • Includes two bonus discs created from the heart of silence in 2013
  • Structures consistantly tops ambient / meditation listener polls
  • Yoga Journal voted Structures one of the top-10 all time CDs for yoga. The ultimate soundtracks for contemplation, relaxation, meditation, & focused creativity
  • In 2013, FACTmag.com chose Structures From Silence as the 10th best album of the 80s

    The breathing suspended embrace of atmospheres and serene melodies on this breakthrough release introduced a new sound for its time. Structures from Silence is a living example of the true healing quality that music can hold. Now Projekt gives you the chance to rediscover this timeless music, with this 30th anniversary package including two additional discs of music.

    In 2008 Eckhart Tolle, spirtual teacher and author of the best-selling books The Power of Now and The New Earth released a CD titled Eckhart Tolle’s Music to Quiet The Mind. Drawn from Eckhart’s favorite pieces, Steve was honored to have an excerpt from Structures From Silence included.

    In October 2002, New Age Voice Magazine compiled their list: The 25 Most Influential Ambient Albums Of All Time
    Here are the top-5:
    No. 1 Brian Eno ~ Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Editions EG)
    No. 2 Steve Roach ~ Dreamtime Return (Projekt in 2003)
    No. 3 Wendy Carlos ~ Sonic Seasonings (East Side Digital)
    No. 4 Steve Roach ~ Structures from Silence (Projekt)
    No. 5 Michael Stearns ~ Planetary Unfolding (Continuum Montage)

    “In December 2000, Yoga Journal voted Structures from Silence one of the top-10 all time CDs for yoga — 16 years after it was first released — proving this CD to be one of the ultimate soundtracks for contemplation, relaxation, meditation, and focused creativity. ” – Yoga Journal

    Release date: April 15, 2014

  • Reviews

    1. :

      From Fact

      #10 best album of the 80s!

      Steve Roach’s later work may have taken him into some rather shaky places, but Structures From Silence remains one of the most important ambient albums ever crafted. It isn’t as high profile as similarly poised records from Brian Eno, but its enduring influence has been unmistakably visible in the three decades since its release.

      The warming yet alien tones of the album’s title track undoubtedly served as a blueprint for Aphex Twin’s jawdropping double album Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, and the track still sounds removed from time almost thirty years later. ‘Reflections In Suspension’ however is almost upbeat in comparison, bringing to mind early Emeralds or even top-tier soundtrack composer Cliff Martinez with its memorable, emotive synth bass and glimmering pads. Labeling the album as meditative almost does it a disservice – Structures From Silence is a thoughtful, slow-paced study in synthesizer, and it has never been more relevant.

      Robert Rich: “Steve is a good friend of mine, and I respect him immensely. He is amazingly single minded and intense in his approach to his music, and I think Structures From Silence was the point where this single-minded approach first coalesced into a natural voice – I think that’s where you first heard his voice in its pure form. It is absolutely indicative of the way he works, which is to live in his sound constantly, and be surrounded by it. I think that’s one reason why it’s such a single minded and pure piece of work.”

    2. :

      From Music Tap

      When you think ambient music, it’s easy to recognize a name like Steve Roach. Steve Roach has been involved in so many variations of the art of ambient, and with so many artists of note, that it could be said that he may be the single most practiced ambient master in the genre. Certainly he is the genre’s most prolific with more than 45 solo efforts since 1982, and a massive array of collaborative works amounting to more than 40 albums.
      One of his first albums, the 1984 ambient classic, Structures From Silence, has risen in the ranks of all-time bests that now make it one of the most influential albums ever created in the ambient genre, fourth only to Brian Eno’s legendary Music For Airports, his own classic, Dreamtime Return (2003), and Sonic Seasonings, the 1972 celebration of the seasons by Wendy Carlos.
      Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Steve Roach has gone back to the master tapes and have remastered the set for a 24-bit/96k audio enhancement. The original album was released by Fortuna Records, an early ambient label. Since, Projekt Records, who has provided Steve Roach with a label home for several decades, re-released the classic in 2001, also with a new remaster. But what sets this one apart is its higher resolution, opening up the original to perhaps newer heights in sound than ever thought possible.
      For this release, Steve Roach has included two bonus CDs of music from 2013 that contain tracks with hints of the music of Structures From Silence. Good music never dies; it just keeps evolving. And you’ll hear those evolutionary paths on the bonus CDs.
      Structures From Silence is scheduled for April 15 from Projekt Records. It will present in both the anticipated 3CD set, as well as a single CD with just the original three tracks. Both albums will provide the original artwork from the Fortuna Records set. -MARowe

    3. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Sonic Curiosity

      Originally released in 1984, this album (one of Roach’s all-time classics) has been remastered and reissued on CD in 2001. Lacking the soft percussive edge of Roach’s later works, the music on this 59 minute long CD is drastically ambient. The scope of sounds are entirely synthesized, exploring dreamy tonalities and drifting pulsations in three long compositions. Utilizing amorphous but melodic structures, the simplicity of this music expands beyond minimalism, generating lush but passive soundscapes to mesmerize and sedate the listener.

      Sighing electronics establish a foundation for cloudlike airs that drift emotionally without disrupting concentration. While these foundation textures refuse to vary, additional layers provide harmonic substance. With concrete determination, this music refuses to be intrusive, while maintaining a constant presence at the periphery of the audience’s psyche.

      In 2000, Yoga Journal voted this release one of the top-ten all-time CDs for practicing yoga. -Matt Howarth

    4. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Q Magazine

      Roach, like Giles Reaves, is part of a new generation of young composers who have grown up in a world where making music through computers has been the norm, rather than the bewildering new development it seemed to many older musicians. With this, his third release, Roach has taken pains to create three lengthy pieces which unfold so slowly that a casual listener might think nothing much is going on. Paying closer attention reveals the subtlest of interwoven rhythms and melodic fragments mingling with gradually evolving sweeps of orchestral colour which become surprisingly powerful and evocative before the music resolves back to the simple structures from which it started. A box of continuous delights. -Johnny Black

    5. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Muze

      Minimalism and ambience sometimes make compatible bedfellows. Both genres attempt to produce a lot from a little, but in the wrong hands, the mere repetition or lack of composed sounds can signal just as minimalist a palette of ideas. But synthesist and sound designer Roach has the right hands – his tone poems, quite minimal by nature, take the concept of ‘ambience’ and turn it on its proverbial head. This idyllic record draws the listener in so deep, they might not wish to escape should they even be able to do so. “Reflections in Suspension” is music to soak in while sunlight dances off falling dust motes, delicate, fragile and undeniably beautiful. Roach’s initial foray into monastic sound, this prefaces his classic Quiet Music of a few years hence, and is just as vital. -Darren Bergstein

    6. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Ink 19

      Last year, Yoga Journal listed Structures From Silence as one of their Top 10 all-time CDs for yoga – not bad for an album that had first been released 16 years earlier! Many more folks than yoga practitioners love this album; in fact, it’s one of Steve Roach’s top three best-selling albums from his entire career (over the course of which he has released literally dozens of albums). Recently it went out of print, and Projekt remastered and re-released it.

      After listening to Structures, I can see why it’s one of the most popular of Roach’s albums. Composed entirely of synth textures, it doesn’t have the tribal rhythms so crucial to much of his work. But it also isn’t as harsh or jarring as some of his material; it’s peaceful, relaxing, and spiritually rejuvenating, so that by the end of its three long tracks you feel rested, cleansed, and refreshed.

      The album opens with “Reflections In Suspension,” composed mainly of rhythmic electronic watery blips, high sparkling synth touches, and an underlying low drone. Listening to it feels like being rocked gently in a canoe or rowboat by low swells on a wide lake, as the sun strikes diamond sparkles from the tips of the wavelets. There is perhaps just a hint of menace at the far edges of your awareness, with darker organ-like synth tones evoking a distant sense of the vast depths of dark water beneath you. But mostly the shimmering waves of synth loops just wash over you, warm, radiant, and relaxing. “Quiet Friend” is more subdued, and more spiritual in tone, with gentle synth washes enveloping you and pulsing with higher tones like star-beacons in the darkness. Sitting alone in peaceful reflection you feel another presence, kind and giving, that buoys and guides your thoughts and spirit with understanding and affection.

      Structures From Silence ends with the almost thirty minute long title track. Beautiful, rhythmic watery synth lines billow around you and cushion you on all sides, like ripples or clouds, while high drone-voices shimmer like flickering fireflies in the purple twilight joining heaven and earth. As you immerse yourself deeper and deeper in the track, you experience a slight sense of falling, only to be buoyed up again by the warm, drifting synths, which all too soon return you to the silence of which you and they are made. -Dave Aftandilian

    7. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Yoga Journal

      In December 2000, Yoga Journal voted Structures from Silence one of the top-10 all time CDs for yoga —16 years after it was first released — proving this CD to be one of the ultimate soundtracks for contemplation, relaxation, meditation, and focused creativity. In most yoga classes silence is golden, but these teachers think music can help you hear what you’re missing.

      In the same breath that they mentioned succumbing to a growing backlash against synthesizer music in favor of acoustic sounds, several teachers cited this purely electronic recording from 1984 as a classic soundtrack for yoga practice. “What I like about Steve Roach’s music, particularly this CD,” says Todd Norian (of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Lenox, MA), “is the spaciousness, the gradual quality of transition from sound to sound. It’s really seamless, and doesn’t draw attention to itself. Roach has a mysterious way of being invisible yet richly present.” Over the past 16 years, Roach has experimented with complicated electro-acoustic mixes, ambitious sampling, and thorny rhythms (as on his recent Light Fantastic). But here he sticks to purely synthesized computer sounds that slowly pulse in and out of the speakers like the most relaxed breathing you have ever heard. A close relative of ambient music, Structures from Silence makes good on its name, achieving more dynamic momentum that such ambient archetypes as Brian Eno’s Music for Airports .

      Although amorphous to the max, it nonethless creates the illusion of architectural shapes assembling themselves from basic cosmic elements. Elongated melodies stretch out like silver threads; lushly harmonized chords overlap one another like a series of gentle waves spilling onto the shore.

      Trying to discern any intrinsic emotional content in the great swells of sound or calculate the mathematical relationships between notes would be like trying to psychoanalyze the sea or count its individual drops of water. Roach’s three meditative compositions — “Quiet Friend.” “Structures from Silence.” and “Reflections in Suspension” — transcend typical musical standards and set their own requirements for deep listening.

    8. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From The Guardian (UK)

      There seems to be an increase in alternative/complementary medicines at the moment. I have just started a yoga course, so imagine my delight when I discovered that this CD comes with glowing reviews from Yoga Journal, which isn’t renowned for its musical endorsement. Consisting of three lengthy, electronic soundscapes this music is a perfect accompaniment to meditation, yoga, painting, drawing, walking, breathing or you could even just listen to it. It’s the sort of relaxing feeling that you just know is going to sound great while you burn some incense and watch your water feature. Song titles like “Reflections In Suspension” and “Quiet Friend” give you an indication of the sort of vibe on offer here, which reminds me of the more ambient moments of Future Sound Of London. It’s the sort of music that you can use to help relax the mind of all the stresses of the day. By listening to the gentle lapping of this synthesised score you can achieve a sense of calm similar to the hypnotic effect of staring at the sea, or the sky. I’m looking forward to listening to Steve Roach’s music when I next do either of these activities. Perfect to wind down to in the evening, this CD is also good for gently starting your day. Just don’t listen to it if you are in a hurry, because you are likely to forget the reason you were hurrying, though this might not be such a bad thing. -Stuart Moses

    9. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Sputnik Music

      Amazing is the concept of unlimited space, the idea that there is no physical boundary within the reach of anything at any given point that marks the edge of our universe. Brilliant is a being that can capture and understand such a marvelous concept on so many levels and express it by means of sound, specifically in musical form. Ambient and electronic musician Steve Roach is one of the rare few who have successfully been able to achieve this goal, proving his understanding of the notion in a number of ways. Metaphorically speaking, Steve Roach truly captures the true meaning of space with his music because over the years it has become obvious that his musical capacity knows no bounds. The musician has released one and a half solo albums on average per year since his 1982 debut Now, each one ranging somewhere between generally solid and utterly flawless. In a more literal sense, Roach’s music perfectly captures the essence of space and all of its wondrous aspects, portraying them through peaceful melodies and mysterious ambiance. When it comes to fulfilling such a task, however, nothing that Steve Roach or any other musician has ever done or very likely ever will do will come close to competing with his magnificent third record, Structures from Silence.

      Structures from Silence is a monumental landmark in the area of ambient music. It didn’t take long after its release to become a widespread ambient favorite and be considered one of the greatest albums in the genre of all time. Up until the release of Structures from Silence, Roach’s music has been composed of far more energized pieces, being both fast-paced and occasionally calm and relaxing while including a wide variety of electronic beats and tribal rhythms. With his third album, Roach pushed aside the majority of his previous musical qualities and left behind the most simple and beautiful quality of his sound. This worked all for the best, as the final product is certainly one of the most special pieces of electronic music one can experience. The album itself is a journey waiting to happen that, once started, you will never want to end. “Reflections in Suspension” will see you taking off from Earth and traveling farther than anyone has ever dreamed possible, getting closer than ever to destinations barely visible through a telescope back home; with “Quiet Friend” you will continue your journey through space while becoming overwhelmed with all that you have experienced: the sights, the distances, the sizes, the endlessness; finally, the title track will find you coming closer to a true understanding of space and its lack of limits, countless undiscovered regions, and infinite questions that have yet to be asked and may never receive answers.

      Structures from Silenceis truly the soundtrack to a dream that has yet to take place. It is an album everybody should keep accessible at all times in case of a desperate need of relaxation, the impulsive desire to stargaze, or even just for pleasurable listening purposes. This is not the type of ambient record that will require time and patience to allow the music to sink in. Once the music kicks in, the last thing you will want is for it to end. Structures from Silence is just one of Steve Roach’s ambient masterpieces, though this is the one that will leave a mark on you and will stick with you for ages to come. Summary: Dream On. Rating: 5 out of 5 -Tim Bartolini

    10. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From New Age Voice

      Oct 2002. Voted #4 on The 25 Most Influential Ambient Albums Of All Time. One of the pioneers of the American spacemusic scene, initially inspired by German synthesists such as Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, Roach has explored styles from quiet contemplation to raging sequencer storms, from organic tribal grooves to twitchy electronic rhythms, frequently pointing the way for others to follow. One of his most influential works is the 1984 release Structures from Silence. This recording is a soothing, enveloping soundscape, ideal for quieting the mind and calming the body. The gentle ebb and flow of warm synthesizer textures are based on the rhythm of breathing, and entrains the listeners’ own respiration to its serene pace. It’s useful: for setting a tone in a room, for aiding in meditation, for easing the transition to sleep, but it’s also sensually pleasing.

    11. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From Alternative Press

      Nov 2001. Reissue of ambient classic that set the standard for everything that followed. Back when ambient and deep-space music were called New Age, and amid so many now-forgotten releases from anyone with a synthesizer and an index finger, there appeared an instant classic by a rising star. Steve Roach had just begun to make a name for himself with a series of sequencer-oriented albums when he released Structures From Silence in 1984. Over three deceptively simple tracks, “Reflections in Suspension,” “Quiet Friend” and the still unequaled title piece, Roach forged innovative sounds. Over the years, many listeners have praised the album’s therapeutic and meditative qualitites, but Structures From Silence remains foremost a work of the heart, with tracks like “Quiet Friend” forever evoking an aura of melancholic solitude. Whatever Brian Eno may have set in motion with his landmark Ambient series, Roach took a step further by creating something with a resounding sense of humanity and emotion. Rating: 9 out of 10 -Mark Burbey

    12. :

      A review of the original 1-CD edition
      From All Music

      Heralded by many as one of the finest Ambient works of all time Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence is right up there with Brian Eno’s Music for Airports and deservedly so. Originally released 1984, Structures from Silence was deemed a classic almost immediately, but the contrast grew greater as Roach’s output did, and the sheer beauty and clarity of this recording became more clear with time; then Structures from Silence became a bit of a legend after it went out of print. Projekt has done Ambient and music enthusiasts in general a great service by putting this excellent and classic recording back into print. With this re-release at last Roach’s early work can be listened to, enjoyed and made available to the buying public at large. Structures 2001 has also been remastered for better sound quality, thus creating an even more evocative atmospheric experience. This is an exciting recording from a wonderful era in electronic Ambient / Spacemusic. The 1980s saw the advent of so much electronic and synthesized music, but finally one of the finest recordings of the decade has become available again for a new generation and a new time. Rating: 5 out of 5

    13. :

      From Synth & Sequences

      There are albums that one says are remastered. And there are other albums which are really, completely and absolutely remastered. This is the case with the last musical jewel from Projekt Records. It’s in mid-1984 that this magnificent album of Steve Roach’s meditative EM first appeared. It was a real upheaval: a tour de force when the genre started to be out of breath. Structures From Silence brought a new dimension to ambient music by proposing long ambient tracks a bit livelier where the music followed an upward curve with fine harmonies which cooed like an enchanted music.
      Steve Roach also invented a new genre with a very meditative EM which poured its neurasthenic ambiences on tribal rhythms or fine sequenced momentums. You know all the good that I wrote on this grand work of Steve Roach. Thirty years later, Structures From Silence made new sound. And the result exceeds expectations. It’s a real remastering work made from the analog tapes which were remixed in digital with the high definition 24-bit/96k technology. And the impact is simply staggering. We hear small details there, which ran out of space in the original work, and the musicality is more in depth. The sound spreads more reliefs, more colors. I have the impression that the stars tickle even more the edges of silence, I have the impression that the prisms of serenity are sparkling even more, I also have the impression that the synth pads throw more lights on the shadows of the silence while the translucent singings lines are a little more musical. Presented in its original artwork, Structures From Silence; The 30th Anniversary Deluxe 3-CD Remastered Edition proposes also two long complementary chapters on the structures of silence, both composed between 2013 and 2014.
      “Suspension” and “Reflection” are making a long musical odyssey of which the aromas are very near the immersive amplitudes of the title-track. We let ourselves fast absorbed by the enveloping synth layers which float and encircle us such as invisible caresses. We have the very silky feeling to navigate in a glass sarcophagus before being swallowed by translucent synth waves which glitter like anfractuous reflections. These oceanic throats lull us within some lengthened and sinuous submarines countercurrents, creating so a strange morphic ballet whose subtle passive crescendo evokes the silent drama of “Reflections in Suspension”. Steve Roach uses his minutes advisedly, adding throughout the 60 minutes of the CD 2 some fine sonic textures which sing smoothly, in order of not to wake the silence. “Beyond” and “Below” make also a long ambient work of 72 minutes this time. The approach is more cosmic, but the impact of serenity is present just as much. We have the feeling to be in the absolute emptiness with a powerful choir of winds which murmur some passive singings among which the vibrations and the waves of solitude are like shadows which caress the fragility of our most secret dreams.
      Structures From Silence; The 30th Anniversary Deluxe 3-CD Remastered Edition is a major work as much beautiful as the original, but with a better sonic envelope. The remastering work is simply magnificent and throws a veil of freshness on an album that the time will never have a hold on it. An immortal work in which Steve Roach floods our ears of 120 minutes of additional music of which the crossings with his Immersion series are as well perceptible as justified. It’s a go get that! -Sylvain Lupari

    14. :

      From Sounds Behind the Corner

      Trent’anni per un disco non sono poca cosa: a questo livello di eternità Sonora viene quasi da chiedersi se certa musica non possa essere annoverata tra la neo-classica, una possibilità per rendere evergreen (come la modernità del lavoro su triplice supporto di Steve Roach) un sound che esula da rock, pop, qualunque stile si voglia considerare.

      Così l’ambient inteso come sinfonia moderna ed eventuali post a pieno diritto meriterebbe di essere considerata.

      Trent’anni come tre decadi sono l’attività di Projekt, auguri ad entrambi per un lungo cammino fatto di perfezioni e scoperte…

      Una quiete quasi innaturale: già nel 1984 l’album che uscì per Fortuna Records aveva già tutta la struttura che nel tempo, nelle tante collaborazioni, Steve Roach avrebbe espresso determinando profondi soundscape d’immoto splendore, sul filo della new-age senza sincretismi musicali, senza influssi chillout, solamente ambient in grado di descrivere scenari elegiaci e fantasie pittoriche.

      Nei tre dischetti delle re-release di Projekt torna dal baule quel vinile che oggi, ridigitalizzato, mantiene intatta tutta la pionieristica impressione del suono immutato, costante, litanie silenti per paradisi globali, assoluti.

      Nei nomi delle tracks ricorre spesso il titolo “Reflection”, riflessioni ed inflessioni, chiusure ed aperture di un’anima sensibile che si scioglie nelle molecole della materia, ne capta la minuta potenza energetica, la trasmette sotto forma di micro-partiture ‘in sospensione’, come declama il primo movimento del primo disco.

      Suite lunghe e statiche per dare il tempo di entrare nei solchi al respiro, alle vibrazioni inconsce, dalla title-track ad ognuna delle sette tracce ripartite, frazionate nella tripla opera, nessuna presenza umana, se non quella del compositore, ha il potere di sporcare un landscape sonoro intatto, come fosse superficie d’acqua in assenza di vento, manto di neve dopo la tormenta nel momento in cui un raggio di sole la illumina, prato fiorito immobile come su tela, con i suoi colori minuscoli tra il monocromo azzurro, bianco o verde, come il sogno quando non cede alla tentazione della realtà.
      Per tanti aspetti la musicalità di Roach si ritrova poi via via nel tempo, nelle evoluzioni della musica moderna, nei primi Sigur Ròs ancora legati alle sonate ambientali della loro Terra, crescendo assieme a tutti coloro che l’ambient l’hanno voluto come didascalia del tempo, dello spazio, della vita che nasce lenta ed universale, “Suspension”, nel secondo dischetto, è cosmica e terrena allo stesso tempo, “Below”, alla fine del terzo, è cupa come la notte che incombe senza mutare la sostanza, solo le cromie, la materia giace davanti a noi, muta solo la cangianza che collassa nell’oscurità, nel Cosmo padre di vita e di speranza, d’amore in divenire, di leggi mai capite, metabolizzate.

      Musica per angeli che non esistono, musica ce giunge da lontano e va lontano, il tempo non la muterà mai, il potere di Structures From Silence. -Nicola Tenani

    15. :

      From Textura

      Originally issued in 1984, Steve Roach’s third album, Structures From Silence, now re-emerges in a re-mastered form as one-third of a triple-CD set. Indicative of the esteem with which the recording is held, New Age Voice magazine in 2002 listed Structures from Silence as the fourth most influential ambient album of all time (preceded by Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports in the number one slot, Roach’s Dreamtime Return at number two, and Wendy Carlos’s Sonic Seasonings at three). It’s important to note that the content on the bonus discs doesn’t originate from the 1984 sessions but is material Roach recorded in 2013 and 2014. Despite that difference, the new content plays very much like a natural complement to the earlier recording, and one comes away from the 190-minute recording marveling at how enrapturing long-form settings of thirty- to forty-minute duration can be. For a certain crowd of hard-core ambient devotees, the release must be like nirvana rendered into physical form.

      Exuding a soft, crystalline glow, “Reflections in Suspension,” the opening setting on Structures from Silence, sets the tone for the hour-long release in its unhurried flow of synthetic washes and lustrous patterns. Here and elsewhere, Roach’s music breathes with such a serene and natural grace, it sounds like it could just as easily have been created yesterday as thirty years ago. Interestingly, the meditative title track, with its entrancing rising synth figures, plays like nothing less than a companion piece to Eno’s 1975 Discreet Music, specifically the side-long, synthesizer-generated title track. If anything, Roach’s piece so vividly recalls Eno’s, one could be excused for hearing the former as an homage to the latter.

      That the recent material plays like an extension of the earlier was no accident. In Roach’s own words, “Over the years since the creation of Structures From Silence, certain pieces would emerge in the studio that instantly had the resonance of a direct relationship to the place that birthed this work back in 1984 … Like the three original tracks, these were created in moments spent simply being present in the studio, tapping the flow state and guiding this sense into these recorded moments.” Four settings appear on discs two and three (titled Suspension and Reflection and Below and Beyond, respectively), the shortest twenty-eight minutes and the longest forty (for the record, each disc plays like a single work, given that the first track flows into the second without interruption). Imagine the slightest, most fragile wisp of smoke rising elegantly in ultra-slow-motion and you’ll have an idea as to what these discs sounds like. If anything, their glassy swirling vistas of synthetic sound are as anxiety-eradicating as the music on the original release.

      Roach achieves something rather remarkable in this music in managing to create the illusion of stillness despite the irreducibility of temporal flow. In other words, the music maintains the paradoxical impression of stasis even when it stretches itself out across the set’s longest piece, the forty-minute “Below” (how fitting that the recording facility where all three discs were recorded is called the Timeroom). That Structures from Silence was voted by Yoga Journal in late 2000 as one of the top ten all-time releases for yoga might not be a compliment by everyone’s standards, but the point is nevertheless well-taken. Certainly if ever there was an antidote, maybe even a panacea, for the ultra-accelerated pace of life today with all of its attendant, soul-crushing overload, Roach’s recording could very well be it. As far as psychic healing is concerned, this collection is a tough one to beat.

    16. :

      From Clair & Obscur

      Voilà une nouvelle qui va ravir les amateurs de musique ambient et ceux de Steve Roach en particulier. Au début des années 80, l’artiste californien réinvente et réoriente le genre conceptualisé en Europe par Brian Eno, allant jusqu’à imposer une nouvelle école avec son complice et contemporain Robert Rich, non moins génial défricheur et créateur de mondes sonores. Il en résulte pour Steve Roach des albums aussi novateurs et historiques que Quiet Music, Dreamtime Return (à la fois disque initiatique et chef d’œuvre absolu des racines du tribal-ambient!) et Structures From Silence, dont il est question ici.

      A une époque ou l’électronique et les nouvelles technologies musicales se banalisent, envahissent la pop (avec plus ou moins de bon goût d’ailleurs) et les dancefloors, Steve Roach travaille et modèle les sons comme personne, étire et combine les textures à l’infini, génère avec ses machines de longues plages atmosphériques totalement immersives, qu’il complètera par la suite avec un arsenal d’instruments ethniques, tout cela fort d’un sens esthétique situé à des années lumières de la new-wave alors en vogue. Certains parlerons plutôt de “new-age” mais se fourreront le doigt dans l’œil, tant il n’est point question ici de musique niaise et facile produite à la chaîne pour la relaxation de cadres stressés ou de néo-babas.

      A l’occasion du 30ème anniversaire de Structures From Silence, Steve Roach nous propose aujourd’hui une version complètement remixée de cet ouvrage référentiel, avec l’amélioration du son en remaster 24-bit/96k. Autant dire que l’album, publié aujourd’hui sur le label Projekt, prend ici une nouvelle jeunesse, pour le plus grand bonheur de tous les accrocs aux expériences musicales intimes et introspectives ! Et, cerise sur le gâteau, Steve Roach a inclus pour cette luxueuse édition deux disques bonus contenant plus de 2 heures de musique inédite, créées en 2013 dans un esprit très fidèle à l’œuvre originale.

      L’objet, qui reprend l’illustration de la vieille édition Fortuna Records (à conserver précieusement comme un collector !) sortira officiellement le 15 avril prochain. Il est néanmoins déjà disponible à l’achat et prêt à l’envoi sur le site officiel de Steve Roach. Dans tous les cas, voilà un disque à ne manquer sous aucun prétexte, car de la musique comme celle-là aujourd’hui, avec cette patte inimitable, ces nappes si lumineuses, ce son si particulier empli de sérénité et de poésie pure, plus personne n’en fait! -Philippe Vallin

    17. :

      From Onda Rock

      Prosegue il lavoro di recupero da parte della Projekt, in collaborazione con la Timeroom Editions, di alcuni tra i dischi più importanti dell’insigne compositore elettronico Steve Roach. Nel 2005 fu la volta della ristampa rimasterizzata di Dreamtime Return (Fortuna 1988), nel 2008 quella “expanded” in doppio cd di Empetus (Fortuna 1986) e nel 2011 quella completa di Quiet Music (Fortuna 1986). Ultimo ad uscire, nel 2012, è stato il discreto live Stormwarning, pubblicato in poche copie nel 1989 per la Soundquest.

      Il 15 aprile 2014 è uscita ufficialmente l’edizione, in triplo cd, di Structures From Silence (Fortuna 1984), che era già stato ristampato dalla Projekt nel 2001, ma in versione singola (esattamente come l’originale), ma con una copertina differente, a causa di problemi di copyright. Questa nuova versione risulta particolarmente ghiotta agli audiofili (il remastering a 24-bit/96k del disco originale è stato affidato a Howard Givens e acquista qui delle profondità di suono mai udite prima, neanche nell’edizione del 2001, rimasterizzata da Roger King) e ai completisti, in quanto negli altri due cd prendono posto ben due sinfonie elettroniche, suddivise in due chilometrici movimenti ciascuna, che idealmente si riallacciano ai temi del capolavoro del 1984.

      L’album originale di Structures From Silence fu il primo fondamentale tassello di Steve Roach verso la musica puramente ambientale (i precedenti e discreti Now e Traveller del 1982 e 1983 ricalcavano fedelmente i modelli dei corrieri cosmici tedeschi). I pattern melodici di “Reflection In Suspension”, che salgono in maniera celestiale, la stasi cosmica di “Quiet Friend” e la sublime “discreet music” della title track (mezz’ora di durata in cui apparentemente non accade nulla, ma si tratta solo di una nostra illusione) rimarranno non solo un punto fermo nella carriera dell’illustre compositore californiano, ma anche un punto di riferimento per molta musica elettronica a venire. Parte del merito va anche a Michael Stearns e a Kevin Braheny, che contribuirono alle atmosfere spaziali del disco. “Suspension And Reflection”, contenuta nel secondo cd e “Below And Beyond” (inserita nel terzo cd) sono lunghissime composizioni recenti (incise rispettivamente nel 2013 e nel 2014), che idealmente proseguono il discorso intrapreso trent’anni fa e vanno intese come appendici di Structures From Silence.

      Per fortuna non si tratta di “filler”, come spesso accade in operazioni di puro marketing come queste. Diciamo che potrebbero appartenere al periodo più cupo e austero di Roach, quello, per intenderci, di The Magnificent Void (Hearts Of Space 1996). “Suspension And Reflection” (un’ora di durata) è un’avvolgente e statica sinfonia elettronica, internamente cangiante attraverso i suoi due movimenti, mentre l’interminabile “Below And Beyond” (72′ di durata!) è più ligia ai canoni ambientali di Brian Eno.

      La registrazione perfetta (realizzata dallo stesso autore) ci fa apprezzare ogni singolo dettaglio sonoro. La nota un po’ dolente viene proprio dalla Projekt, che ormai realizza queste edizioni d’archivio in una confezione meno che spartana. Non vi sono quasi note e il libretto è un perenne assente (ancor più economica di questa è stata la ristampa in doppio cd di “Migration/The Wolf At The Ruins” di Forrest Fang, lo scorso anno). Si vede che Sam Rosenthal punta più che altro al download di file Flac (che, va detto, è un ottimo formato audio) dal proprio sito e lascia ai nostalgici del formato fisico queste miserelle edizioni in digipack.

      Dal sito di Steve Roach è disponibile anche la versione singola di Structures From Silence, edizione 2014, che pare non essere stata messa ancora ufficialmente in commercio. Rating: 8 (Very Good) -Leonardo Di Maio

    18. :

      From Sonic Curiosity

      This is a 2014 reissue of the release from 1984 and features 59 minutes of remastered flowing electronic music. When this album saw its original release in the mid-Eighties, it quickly became a classic recording, a vanguard document for what would grow into the ambient music genre. While considered by many to be an ambient release (and granted, the tuneage is quite gentle), this music actually possesses a definite degree of melodic definition.

      The electronics are soft and the riffs waft on easygoing breezes. Delicate tones sigh, while smooth keyboard sustains pulsate to form vaporous backdrops. A percentage of the chords exhibit twinkling properties, nicely counterbalancing the airy character of the majority of the electronics. The riffs are carefully layered in such a manner that each texture eloquently slides into play, influencing the extent thread with its entrance, endurance and passing.

      Subliminal pools of water churn deep within the minimal mix, creating an interesting aquatic tinge to the airy structures. While empowered with gentle melodic aspects, these compositions instill a placid calm on the listeners, evoking skyscapes filled with majestic clouds crossing the heavens at pensive velocities.

      This release is also available in a deluxe edition which includes two bonus discs featuring 131 minutes of newly recorded electronic ambience by Roach.

      The music on these bonus discs is more representative of conventional ambient music, comprised of elongated textures that rise and wane like space breathing. The tracks are exceptionally long, allowing the tones ample opportunity to establish seemingly unvarying stretches while actually mutating at a subtle pace.

      Roach has a particular talent for coaxing seamless passages into sneaky evolution, as harmonic flows stream from one character to another, with shrill pitches giving way to dreamy atmospherics and eventually sliding into moody vistas – and all without obvious transitions. Each passage evokes a sedating effect that actually contains a subtle edge that mounts peaceful drama. Another novel trait to his ambient compositions is their tendency to lull without inducing any tiring effects, keeping the listener attuned to the gentle passage from one dreamstate to the next, inspiring introspection of an alert type.

      Fans of the original release will delight in this remastered version, and really dig the additional material. -Matt Howarth

    19. :

      Excerpt of feature article from Tucson Weekly
      Follow-up interview at Tucson Weekly

      Structures from Silence was the result of nearly a year’s worth of recording in Roach’s Culver City flat, which served as “pretty much a 24/7 laboratory.” Roach would spend his days working odd jobs—including a stint alongside Simpsons creator Matt Groening at Licorice Pizza, a Southern California record and video shop—and then head back to the Timeroom, picking up where he left off. “I’d get off work and be right back into the studio, step right back into this space,” Roach says.

      His recordings weren’t conceived as an album, but soon began to make sense that way. Roach gathered the three tracks and pressed a run of cassettes on his own. Word spread quickly. Stephen Hill of the long-running, nationally distributed Hearts of Space radio program took note of Roach, and was one of the artists he championed, along with musicians such as Constance Demby, Laraaji and Iasos.

    20. :

      From Wondering Sound

      In the past year, New Age music has begun to escape the lamentable late-’80s stereotypes — Harmonic Convergence, crystals, Kenny G — that have long plagued it. Last fall, Light in the Attic released a stellar compilation called I Am the Center that catalogued small-press New Age releases from the ’50s to the ’70s; Warp records reissued Laaraji; All Saints reissued Harold Budd. Articles popped up in Pitchfork and even in the New York Times.

      One name conspicuously missing from this mini-renaissance is the California-born/Arizona-based Steve Roach. Much of the creative churn of artists like Daniel Lopatin and Mark McGuire has been Roach’s raison d’etre for decades: working with many different fellow musicians over a seemingly endless stream of releases, evincing a desire to experiment with electronics and beyond.

      The album that fully established Roach as a force was his third overall, Structures from Silence, originally released in 1984 by early new age label/distribution service Fortuna Records. After various represses and remasterings over the years, it’s now back in a three-CD edition for its 30th anniversary by longtime Roach supporters Projekt Records. The two bonus discs that complement the reissue consist of four later, previously unreleased pieces Roach indicates in the liner notes came from the same sources of inspiration, specifically a “place of stillness and deep inner quiet,” as Structures.

      From the start, one can easily hear the deep sense of serenity initially explored by acts such as Popul Vuh, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and others. What makes Structures from Silence so special, still, is how Roach had both come to match his inspirations and suggest a new way forward. The opening “Reflections in Suspension” lives up to both its name and that of the album’s, slowly emerging from deep quiet only to again fade away, a pattern repeated on the other two original tracks. While this itself is a common enough pattern in the field, it’s the arrangement’s focus that calls attention here, pared down and extremely deliberate.

      It’s almost shocking to hear something so deceptively simple take shape, a soft, very slow lead melody of sorts in a steady loop while deeper layers of sound sometimes wash up like a just-on-the-horizon slow wave waiting to come in. Structure over silence indeed, but also suspension as tension, a surface beauty that suggests potentially dark as well as vast depths. “Quiet Friend” is even more understated, the gentlest of tones softly overlaying another and never quite disappearing, taking a calmly playful turn towards its end. It suggests the lovely moment when Arthur Conan Doyle has Sherlock tell Watson “You have the grand gift of silence.” Like a trustworthy friend, the music is just there, a reassurance.

      As for the half-hour long title track, two notes in initial sequence almost resemble a fanfare, or a call to a ceremony, repeated at points as other melodies — almost but not quite missable as melodies, so intentionally, carefully drawn out are they — emerge in sequence, evolving and sounding warmer as the piece progresses and hints of distant murmurings play out. The whole idea of making a structure out of silence is an intentional paradox; making that idea tangible, while simultaneously suggesting closeness in a vast space, was Roach’s self-imposed challenge. There are no random washes of what Matt Groening once called “Spacey Tinkles” in a Life in Hell gag, no “beautiful” sounds or tones or glissandos, just a composition that demands focus as much as any explosive noise might. -Ned Raggett

    21. :

      Excerpt of article from Ambient Music Guide

      The new synth could play up to eight notes at once, making it the the gold standard for polyphonic analog synthesisers in the 1980′s. By his own admission Roach became utterly obsessed with owning one, which he eventually did after securing a very high interest loan.

      “The sense I had with this sound was no less than that a lustful guitar player yearning for a Classic Strat, Gibson SG or Telecaster,” he says. “And then to just finally sit with it and start to connect and carve with the sound at such a pure level of desire…it was beyond pure bliss. This feeling mixed with the epiphanies of all that was unfolding in my life at the time was essential to the creation of Structures.” He still plays one today. “You you can buy a soft synth version of this instrument now but it’s really like comparing formica-countertop laminate and wood. You can’t match the original in terms of organic texture and, above all, the warmth of pure analog sound.”

    22. :

      Excerpt of article from Fact

      Structures From Silence might be less trumpeted than, say, Eno’s Ambient records, but in terms of emotional affect and textural flair, it more than trumps them. Released in 1984 on Fortuna, this three-track collection of brocaded synth composition is a world away from the tacky lovebombs lying undetonated in new age thrift bins. Instead, Structures From Silence offers an ambient music that, although subtle and slow-moving, throbs with life – music which, like a flagging Chinese lantern, appeared to have gently bobbed down from the cosmos. On the 30-minute title track in particular, Roach’s work is deep, majestic, coruscating as coral. In fact, if you’ve never had the stomach for ambient, Structures From Silence is as good a starting point as we can think of: we didn’t crown it our tenth favourite album of the 1980s on a whim.

    23. :

      Excerpt of article from Echoes

      This opportunity came to play at Terminal Island Prison for the inmates the prison. So I setup in what was like a high school gymnasium or a high school auditorium in the Terminal Island Prison, and I had to go through all these layers of security check and with all the gear and inspecting everything. And finally you get in and setup, then in comes a whole completely full auditorium of inmates. I’m playing sequencer kind of material and doing my thing at that time with all the pure analog gear. I had a trajectory to go with and then it was going to end in a more quiet reflective place, which was where I was heading to with Structures and with that first track on Structures, “Reflections in Suspension,” so eventually that piece emerges. And it’s absolutely gentle and very quiet and really not a piece that you think you would play for inmates in a prison, you know.

      And the guy that played before me, Bob Ramey was his name, at the time he had all these drum machines mounted into a big rack and he used to do these drum machine grooves for Eddie Harris, the jazz player. So when Bob was playing the guys out there were wadding up pieces of paper and throwing them at him and all that sort of thing. So I thought I’m in for it here, you know, I don’t know what’s gonna happen here, but I’m just gonna go for it.

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