Steve Roach: The Sky Opens (2CD)


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Product Description

Disk 1
1 Structures From Silence 10:11
2 Mercurius Presence 6:32
3 The Mystic Within 11:26
4 The Sky Opens 11:53
5 Merge Infinite 31:19
Total Time 71:26

Disk 2
1 The Continent 8:17
2 Songline 5:31
3 Time of the Ancients 7:21
4 Magnificent Gallery 4:07
5 Circular Ceremony 7:11
6 Looking For Safety 14:17
Total Time 46:50

2CD in 6-panel digipak. Limited first edition of 1000.

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Information in English here. Click to order CD

Magnificent, majestic and voluminous truly describes the expansive sonic experience spanning this 140-minute 2-CD set. The Sky Opens represents a sublime moment in the evolution of Steve’s 40-year history within the ambient/electronic genre. His sound manifests through an artistic process of real-time engaged interaction where his vision is channeled through a blend of technology, composition and improvisation all captured in the moment of creation. This transpires for Steve in the studio as well as in live settings where mostly hardware instruments bring his studio environment to the stage.

This album takes a unique approach to documenting live electronic music; the listener is fully immersed in an acoustic expanse that completely embraces the soundscape. The Sky Opens presents his 2019 Ambient Church concert in its entirety experienced within the warm, reverberant sanctuary of the 95-year-old First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, California. Microphones placed throughout the church captured the emotional, breathing dynamic of the music combined with the acoustic influence of the 1200-capacity audience in attendance. Blending this with Steve’s live console mix, the album balances the magnificent natural ambience with subtle detail fine-tuned by mastering engineer Howard Givens.

Along with a disc’s worth of all-new material, The Sky Opens includes the first-time live expression of the seminal minimalist-ambient “Structures from Silence” performed on the classic Oberheim OB-8. As the set evolves, five live tracks from Steve’s epic ethno-atmospheric landmark Dreamtime Return are elevated to a new level by the influence of the sacred sonic space and mesmerized audience.

The Sky Opens is a pinnacle moment reaching towards places beyond. Ultimately the pure emotion, passion and vision of Steve’s work is elegantly brought forth in this dynamic performance; the sky opens indeed.

Artist Bio

Steve Roach is a leading American pioneer in the evolution of ambient/electronic music, helping shape it into what it is today. Grammy nominated in 2018 and 2019 consecutively, his career spans four decades and nearly 150 releases. His massive catalog of landmark recordings includes Structures from Silence, Dreamtime Return and Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces. Drawing from a vast, unique and deeply personal authenticity, his albums are fueled by the momentum of a lifetime dedicated to the soundcurrent. Steve is an artist operating at the pinnacle of his artform, driven by a passion and unbroken focus enhancing the emotive, soul-stirring depth of his music.

From the expansive, time-suspending spaces reflecting his spiritual home in Arizona to the fire breathing, sequencer-driven rhythmic-tribal expressions woven from all things electric and organic, this innovative world of sound has been nourished by years of transcendent concerts worldwide. Always reaching towards what’s next on the horizon, Steve refuses to be tied down to any one stylistic direction. Capturing peak moments as they occur in his Timeroom studio or in live settings, he creates a sonic experience that breathes emotion and vital life energy that connects to an ever-growing worldwide audience.

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Additional information

Weight .3 lbs


  1. padmin

    From Chain DLK

    Live discs can be something of a mixed bag at times. A lot of moving parts have to come together seamlessly for them to work well. Is the sound quality any good? Do the tracks work together? People can be pretty forgiving at a live concert, but once you listen to it outside of the moment it can be a different kind of experience. Thankfully, both Roach and Projekt have been at this for a long time, so they each know what they are doing, and the results are evident in this excellent live set. So let’s dive into the set and see what we have here.

    Disc 1 opens with “Structures From Silence,” a simple, sparse track that flows like a lullaby. No sudden movements – just a nice, soothing track. “Mercurius Presence” keeps this peaceful feeling going but with an added layer of complexity to the composition. Lush synth pads slowly flow over you. “The Mystic Within” switches it up somewhat with a darker feel. Minor tone synth drones mix with pounding piano for an uneasy feeling. “The Sky Opens” is considerably different from the previous tracks. This is heavily arpeggiated synth analog synth. The track is incredibly complex in comparison to the previous tracks. The overall result ends up being somewhat hypnotic. Overall, this is a wonderful track and one of the best on the disc. If you’ve ever wondered what it would sound like if Erasure collaborated with Steve Roach, this is your answer. Finally we gets to “Merge Infinite,” and this track alone is worth the price of this disk. Weighing in at 31 minutes it’s the longest piece in the entire set and one can easily think of it as a composition in multiple movements. We keep the arpeggiated analog synth from “The Sky Opens” and add a sense of rhythm and motion that keeps the track interesting across its half hour duration.

    Disc 2 kicks off with “The Continent,” slowing it down considerably with gorgeous synth washes and slow thudding percussion. The overall mood is peaceful and beautiful. “Songline” kicks it up a notch with more aggressive percussion and the luscious drones in the didgeridoo. Yes, I was wondering when this instrument would make its appearance, as it wouldn’t feel like a Steve Roach album without it. “Time Of The Ancients” opens up with heavily processed breathing before giving way to ominous dark synth drone and snippets of analog goodness. Percussion is buried in the mix giving it kind of a far away feel. This track is all about atmosphere. “Magnificent Gallery” is a short track with a peaceful melody over synth washes that pulse like the ebb and flow of the ocean. “Circular Ceremony” keeps this mellow feeling going with a calm, peaceful synth number with sparse percussion sprinkled throughout. “Looking For Safety” concludes the disc with a lovely number that doesn’t so much begin as emerges into being. Lush synth and percussion that comes in without you even noticing. As it progresses, the atmosphere changes as the drums become more pronounced and you find yourself in the middle of a ritual. The intensity builds over time until it finally dissipates into a slow dissolve.

    The nice thing about this set is that the tracks flow together in such a way that you would almost not even know that they were different tracks. The music shifts seamlessly from track to track, as if you’re listening to one long track that is constantly shifting and evolving. At times you don’t even recognize that you’ve moved on to another track until halfway through when the feeling changes slowly, but deliberately. This is more than just a group of tracks put together and performed in front of an audience. There’s a sense of cohesion that is often lacking in live performances. The fact that Roach was able to keep this entire feeling going through two discs is a testament to his ability to weave together a tapestry of sound that works well together. The tracks as a whole feel both familiar and new at the same time. Those familiar with Roach’s work will find no surprises here, but they will definitely not be disappointed. This is beautiful and well worth picking up. -estakton

  2. padmin

    From All Music

    The Sky Opens is a two-hour recording of one of Steve Roach’s famed Ambient Church concerts, specifically one that took place at the First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, California, on August 30, 2019. Capturing the expansive reverb of the sanctuary without any presence of crowd noise, the set moves through several styles and eras of Roach’s repertoire, beginning with an excerpt from his 1984 minimalist masterpiece Structures from Silence, which was previously never performed in concert. Subsequent tracks are closer to his dark ambient work, consisting of drifting waves that calmly ebb and flow, and accompanied by haunting piano during “The Mystic Within.” After this, Roach presents previously unheard material in the vein of his Berlin school-influenced modular synth works, starting with the spacious, clicky near-IDM of “The Sky Opens.” Then the 30-minute “Merge Infinite” is a totally engrossing spacecraft voyage that transcends time itself.

    The majority of the album’s second disc is given over to selections from one of Roach’s other established classics, 1988’s ambitious double-album Dreamtime Return. Constructing aural vistas reminiscent of the desert plains of the American Southwest rather than the endless cosmos of outer space, these pieces feature the earthly pound of acoustic and digital drums as well as the swarming drones of the didgeridoo, all awash with flowing ambient synth textures. At the center of it all, the pure relaxation of the palate-cleansing “Magnificent Gallery” segues into the crystalline nightfall of “Circular Ceremony,” before the darker “Looking for Safety” mixes turbulent, effects-warped drumming with more serene atmospheres. The sound quality is just as spellbinding as the music itself, and its range of moods makes The Sky Opens an excellent entry point for anyone new to Roach’s vast body of work. -Paul Simpson

  3. padmin

    From Darkroom Magazine

    Con una carriera quasi quarantennale ed una serie di pubblicazioni sempre numericamente fitta (nel 2020 in corso siamo già a quota sei, benché quella in esame sia l’unica ad uscire anche nel formato fisico), Steve Roach non ha davvero bisogno di ulteriori presentazioni. Questo doppio album The Sky Opens racchiude in poco meno di 140 minuti l’intero set che il decano dell’ambient ha eseguito dal vivo il 30 agosto dello scorso anno nell’inusuale cornice della Prima Chiesa Metodista Unita di Pasadena, in California, di fronte a 1200 persone e nell’ambito della “Ambient Church Series” curata da Brian Sweeny.

    Oltre due ore in cui l’artista californiano ha ripercorso – usando prevalentemente hardware – buona parte del suo repertorio più significativo, affiancando al nuovo materiale sia estratti dal proprio album più apprezzato Dreamtime Return, sia la prima esecuzione live della datata Structures From Silence (1984) col vecchio synth analogico Oberheim OB-8. Racchiusa in un gradevole digipack a sei pannelli e limitata a 1000 esemplari, l’opera fotografa l’evoluzione del suono di Roach con la resa audio maestosa che ci si può attendere da un luogo sacro (benché questo non abbia ancora compiuto il primo secolo di vita), partendo dalle minimali linee ambientali della già citata Structures From Silence e di “Mercurius Presence” per poi aprirsi a tracce più composite in cui l’elettronica supera i confini dell’ambient, come la drammatica “The Mystic Within” e le più intense e pulsanti The Sky Opens e “Merge Infinite”. Fra le sei tracce incluse nel secondo e più breve dischetto, la sola ed ambientale “Time Of The Ancients” fa storia a sé, mentre le restati cinque song sono quelle estratte dal succitato Dreamtime Return, e vanno a rinverdire il periodo in cui l’ambient del decano statunitense si colorò delle sfumature etniche degli aborigeni australiani, toccando il proprio apice creativo. Una resa audio impeccabile rende particolarmente apprezzabile l’intera operazione, la cui riuscita non era così scontata, trattandosi di materia ambient catturata in sede live, ma il peso e la maestria del veterano Roach hanno fatto anche stavolta la differenza, rendendo l’esperienza d’ascolto assolutamente appetibile anche per gli scettici. -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi

  4. padmin

    From Synths & Sequences

    In the same stride as the Journeys to the Infinite’s compilation, the American label Projekt Records has just produced another form of compilation with this very beautiful album in concert that Steve Roach gave in the First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, California, on August 30, 2019. An exceptional place where the engineers of his team have placed dozens of microphones in strategic locations, in terms of sound and acoustics. The noises outside the music have been all removed, so that we can feel and follow the music circulating without hindrance on the curves, the walls and the ceilings of this mythical Methodist church. It’s so successful that I am not even sure there were people during this recording. Hence this impression of Best Of…. The Sky Opens offers a 2-hour rendezvous that goes from the album Structures from Silence, released in 1984, to a new vision of Dreamtime Return that Steve reworked and remixed in May 2018. So, almost 35 years of music recreated in the pure tradition of the Californian musician’s visions with a slow start, a passage of excellent Berlin School unpublished here, to finally reach the magnificent lands of Dreamtime Return. A magnificent album that joins a huge list of classics that Steve Roach has aligned since a couple of years.

    It’s a version cut of about twenty minutes that Structures from Silence lands between our ears. This is the first time that Steve has interpreted this title in concert and this version makes me ardently wish that he’ll perform the whole album one of these days. A splendid interpretation with a 2 D vision of these sleeping wings which hum us a lunar fable which sticks to all possible visions. The presence of Mercurius Presence is amply justified here with its winged movements and its delicate line of aerial melody which follows the logic behind Structures from Silence. Stripped of its layers of reverberations and embellished by a piano selfish of its notes in the ambient universe of Steve Roach, The Mystic Within brings us to the borders of its dark and hefty music. It’s on the other hand a less dark vision of Within the Mystic that we find in Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces, a quadruple album of mystical music produced in 2003, that awaits our senses here. Next comes the sublime title-track which animates the music of this double album of a Berlin School very precise to the vision of Steve Roach. The movement comes from a large luminous reflection which gives the signal to the sequencer and to its multiple static rhythm lines to sink and jump like a volcano spitting its explosions of magma. It’s the beginning of a brilliant cacophony of tinkles which remains and swirls on a circular conveyor, like thousands of balls and their reflections sparkling in a mass where tap dancing and organic dialogues invite themselves in a rhythmic Tower of Babel erected by a sequencer very generous of its flow and of its colors. Grand morphic synth wings are flying over it while some huge chimes scare these millipedes with tiny bells on their feet in this impressive orchestration of nocturnal stridulations.

    Magnificent and intense, this dynamic structure evaporates like dust transported by the winds of Merge Infinite. My only memory I have of a track called Merge goes back to Empetus, one of Steve Roach’s most rhythmic albums. It’s not totally Merge here, but a form that comes close enough to it but in a boisterous frenzied rhythm that eats our both hemispheres in a pure Berlin School. So, you have a good idea! The keys alternate eagerly, a little like six hands were on the sequencer and the oscillators of rhythms. The lines amaze by varying their tones in variable speeds while following the diagram of the synth pads which decorate the background of Merge Infinite. We are in the land of Skeleton Keys with this brilliant title, its rhythmic approach and vision are more musical and fluid in The Sky Opens. A splendid piece with stopping points which relaunch the structure with more vigor until bringing it to the gates of tranquility. CD 2 offers a summary of Dreamtime Return, with essences of Return to the Dreantime, with a different approach which gives a breath of fresh air to the chosen tracks. The percussions are incredible in The Continent which seems slower, more enveloping. Songline’s aboriginal didgeridoo and percussions are so close to our ears that we believe it. Ditto for the throat choirs and the raucous breezes of Time of the Ancients. The sound texture is such, that it looks like it was recorded around a campfire! And the meditative phases of Dreamtime Return progress to throw themselves into Looking for Safety, the 2018 version, which ends an incredible concert to the grandeur of the character’s mysticism that has become Steve Roach over the years. Sublime from A to Z, I would have liked to be there! Limited to 1000 CDs, this is another excellent achievement from Projekt Records. -Sylvain Lupari

  5. padmin

    From Echoes
    Echoes April 2020 Top 25 Album!

  6. padmin

    From Rockerilla

    Una pubblicazione monumentale in doppio CD: ben 140 minuti di musica live, durante un concerto presso la First United Methodist Church di Pasadena, California. La represa, effecttuata in un ambient riverberante é quanto di piu ambient (nel senso piu realistico del termine) si possa trovare in giro. Roach – pioniere della musica electrronica e ambientale – si espreime qui al suo meglio, fra synth analogici e digitali, ed interagisce con l’acustiva avvolgente di uno spazio reale. Ogni traccia, inoltre, sembra esplorare una della tante direzioni del percorso artistico dello stesso Roach. Un lavoro completo, emozionante, quasi la celebrazione di una carriera. -Simone Bardazzi

  7. padmin

    From Echoes

    In this new Steve Roach album, and if you blinked he probably has another one out already, he documents a live 2019 performance from First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, California, which Roach calls, the Ambient Church. There is certainly a sacred sensibility to this music which moves seamlessly through works drawn throughout Roach’s career beginning with a slightly more energized Structures from Silence, moving through his sequencer period with driving tracks like “The Sky Opens” and “Merge Infinite”, and stalking through the dark of his techno-tribal Dreamtime Return era. If you’re daunted by the task of taking a deep dive into Roach’s some 140-plus releases, The Sky Opens is a great place to start.

  8. padmin

    From Avant Music News

    Steve Roach has recorded a virtually countless number of albums over the last 40 years, all within the loose ambient / electronic genre pioneered by artists such as Brian Eno and Klaus Schulze. Here, we have a 2CD, 140-minute live recording from Roach’s 2019 “Ambient Church” performance at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, California.

    Roach covers plenty of ground familiar to long-time fans. He begins with a reimagining of Structures From Silence, a track from his 1984 album of the same name. He also includes five pieces from his tribal-ambient classic Dreamtime Return. In and in between these offerings, he provides an overview of his early styles, including gentle synth waves, electronic piano-oriented pieces over washes, and sequencer-based rhythms.

    The 31-minute Merge Infinite is an example of some of these building blocks, with heavy sequencer runs overlaid with both pastoral and ominous keyboard pulses and atmospheres. But perhaps the most powerful tracks are those from Dreamtime Return, which include aboriginal percussion patterns coupled with ebbing and flowing synth work. He even breaks out the didgeridoo for Songline. These live recreations evoke the imposing beauty of natural landscapes, and like those landscapes are both majestic and intimidating.

    If you are a newcomer to Roach, The Sky Opens would not be a bad place to start. And then dig into his back catalog. -Mike

  9. padmin

    From Sequenzerwelten

    Wow, das ist wirklich ein sagenhafter Mitschnitt eines Konzertes von Steve Roach, welches er am 30.8.2019 in der United Methodist-Kirche in Pasadena gespielt hat. Das muss echt ein tolles Erlebnis gewesen sein. Deswegen möchte ich auch gar nicht zuviel erzählen, nur soviel: die The Sky Opens ist eine der besten CDs von Steve Roach und dürfte nicht nur bei seinen Fans großen Zuspruch finden. Vielleicht gibt es ja noch EM-Freunde die sich mit der Musik von Steve Roach bisher nicht so sehr anfreunden konnten. Spätestens mit diesem tollen Werk bietet sich die Gelegenheit dies nachzuholen.
    Wäre Steve Roach nicht schon in meiner “Hall Of Fame”- hiermit würde er sie betreten. -Uwe Sasse

    Wow, that’s really a fabulous recording of a concert by Steve Roach, which he played on August 30th, 2019 in the United Methodist Church in Pasadena. It must have been a great experience. That’s why I don’t want to tell too much, just so much: the The Sky Opens– is one of the best CDs by Steve Roach and shouldn’t only be very popular with his fans. Maybe there are still EM friends who have not been so good with Steve Roach’s music so far. At the latest with this great work there is the opportunity to make up for it.
    If Steve Roach were not already in my “Hall Of Fame”- he would enter it with this. -Uwe Sasse

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