While supplies last,
the Somewhere Else
CD is on sale for $5.
2 The Memory Pool, part 1 18:35
3 The Memory Pool, part 2 23:01
4 The Memory Pool, part 3 25:24
5 Revealing the Secret 01:12:36
Ascension of Shadows — 20th anniversary celebration — name-your-price download at Bandcamp — December 13 2019
Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana’s 1999 release was an ultra-immersive 3CD collection subtitled “Meditations For the Millennium.” With the intention of creating a place of solace for what they were sensing with the approaching year 2000 and beyond, the three and a half hour work feels especially potent and nourishing when revisited today. Available as a limited edition of 2000, it quickly sold out and remains a popular title with Roach/Obmana fans. To celebrate 20 years, Projekt makes Ascension of Shadows a name-your-price download at Bandcamp for a limited time.
“This set remain’s among our favorite work from the many collaborations we created together. Recorded in Belgium in October 1997, the music creation flowed over the course of a week, with each day building to the next. During this time in the studio, our collaborative/improvisational connection moved towards a telepathic interaction. This mode is the place we thrived. We hardly spoke words, working instinctually and speaking though sounds and music; always reaching for an expression of pure emotion that emanated from the cracks between worlds to which our ears were tuned. Twenty years later it feels like we just created this last week.”
– Steve Roach – Vidna Obmana 12-10-19
A review of Ascension of Shadows from MUZE by Darren Bergstein:
Some of Roach and Obmana’s most introspective and immersive recordings in years. Drones wrenched out of some nameless void cruise slowly through great vacuums of space, the only intrusion coming from stark, unearthly tones that sometimes grow, sometimes recede, into the ebony background. Using a vast array of sound and signal processors, synths and a number of acoustic noise-makers, Roach/Obmana may very well be the acknowledged masters of “anti”-ambient music, music that emerges from the shadows, often erupting out of the blackness, in your face and probing, but simultaneously willing to nestle comfortably in the darkness. These are sounds that might seem to be nearly imperceptible until they suddenly grab the surrounding environment in their awe-inspiring, immense grip. Inner space music with a definable edge.
This is the 1999 album-text with some reviews:
First released as a limited edition of 2000 in 1999, the 3-CD box set Ascension of Shadows quickly sold out, and has remained a highly-desired prize for Roach and Obmana fans. The Ascension of Shadows 3-CD box set was subtitled “Meditations For the Millennium;” the intentions for creating a place of solace for what the artists were sensing, with the approaching anticipation of the year 2000 and beyond, feels especially potent and nourishing when heard today.
Star’s End by Chuck Van Zyl
Ascension of Shadows is 1998’s studio collaboration between Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana and is representative of the duo’s meditative style of music. Each of the three CDs in the set contains a lengthy and unique ambient environment, immersing the listener in a carefully designed soundworld. The experience is equally rewarding whether just below the threshold of perception, or through active listening.
Wind and Wire by Phil Derby
This ambitious 3-CD set, the third collaboration by Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana, is a fine collection of organic, primordial ooze. This moves away from the chanting, tribal direction they headed in the previous release, CAVERN OF SIRENS, and bears a closer resemblance to Roach’s solo effort The Dream Circle. Like that one, this is a limited edition of 2000 copies, if you call 2000 limited. It is signed and dated, but only by Steve Roach. Disc one is the dark and dreamy “Somewhere Else,” which nicely meanders the depths of sublime ambience. The gradual shifting and drifting is perfect music to get lost in. Though the changes in the music over time are subtle, almost imperceptible, this is not merely a few sounds looped and repeated. There is growth and change. Still, if you like music for meditation, this should be very appealing. Likewise, disc three consists of a single track, “Revealing the Secret.” Both give a sensation of floating, and will take your mind to places only previously imagined. Roach and Obmana have a gift for minimalism that is at the same time dark and yet beautiful.
If you prefer the more tribal sound demonstrated on previous releases by these two, then you will enjoy disc two, which features “The Memory Pool,” divided into three parts ranging from 18 to 25 minutes. Musically, there is a lot more going on here. In some ways, I find it reminiscent of Roach’s work with his Suspended Memories projects, but it also closely parallels some of their combined work on Well of Souls. Percussion asserts itself quickly, and then we hear a most unusual, very modern sound which repeats every few seconds, like the burst from a phaser. I don’t think I’ve heard this sound in their music before, and I can’t place it, nor am I sure yet whether it really fits, but it isn’t too much of a distraction. “The Memory Pool” is a rich, complex piece, which effectively uses repetitive percussion to achieve a pleasant hypnotic effect. I found they used this technique a little too much for my liking on Cavern of Sirens. The restraint here is welcome. Even when a similar drum pattern repeats for awhile, the percussion does not overshadow the rest of the music, allowing it all to blend together quite nicely.
Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana have clearly developed their craft into a fine art. Though this is a very enjoyable listen, and a virtual must for fans of either artist, it does not particularly stretch the boundaries of what they have created before, either singularly or collectively. Given the talent they have, this is a minimal criticism at best. Ascension of Shadows may be variations on familiar themes, but in that sense it is like seeing an old friend, and a welcome one at that.
Muze by Darren Bergstein
This beautifully presented multi-disc set, packaged in a cloth black box, represents some of Roach and Vidna Obmana’s most introspective and immersive recordings in years. Drones wrenched out of some nameless void cruise slowly through great vacuums of space, the only intrusion coming from stark, unearthly tones that sometimes grow, sometimes recede, into the ebony background. Using a vast array of sound and signal processors, synths and a number of acoustic noise-makers, Roach and vidnaObmana may very well be the acknowledged masters of “anti”-ambient music, music that emerges from the shadows, often erupting out of the blackness, in your face and probing, but simultaneously willing to nestle comfortably in the darkness. These are sounds that might seem to be nearly imperceptible until they suddenly grab the surrounding environment in their awe-inspiring, immense grip. Inner space music with a definable edge.
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