2. Optimal Being 24:16
3. HeartBreath 19:27
4. Spiral Of Strength 07:34
5. A Different Today 11:55
|Purchase in Europe for fast, inexpensive shipping:
Information in English here. Click to order CD.
Echoes Radio January 2021 CD of the Month!
Echoes Radio #3 Album of 2020!
Tomorrow’s five deeply stirring transcendent electronic pieces draw from Steve’s current high tide of creativity and introspection. Developed over the last six months within the stylistic mode he describes as “elegant futurism,” cyclical melodic weavings flow and ebb in a graceful momentum infused with deep emotion. Tomorrow finds a rare balance between a feeling of floating and one of kinetic movement; this unexpected symmetry breathes life and energy into each piece.
Primarily composed and performed spontaneously in the studio, there’s an elemental quality — stately and masterful. The opening track was created days after Steve’s March NYC concert was cancelled due to the lockdown. From that point on, the pieces developed with a focused through line of optimism and inner strength.
“While my daily mode of operation is more about the connection to the here and now,” Steve reflects, “my thoughts were shifting towards a ‘tomorrow state of mind.’ When the storm clears, after a major pressing of the reset button of our lives, will we wake up to a scorched metaphorical earth or a freshly tilled verdant soil for new life to emerge? I had a sense of being a first responder in sound and music, drawing from my creative core, staying connected to this as a grounding rod. I redirected the energy and momentum built up in preparation for my New York concert, aware of the unfolding world events, manifesting this anticipation for tomorrow during this extraordinary moment in time.”
The album opens with the twenty-minute title track, “Tomorrow.” It evokes a dynamic mood both animated and contemplative. Interwoven melodic sequencer patterns and sustained, suspended harmonic soundworlds ebb and flow within the sonic currents. The alluring atmosphere resolves into “Optimal Being.” With a minimalist feeling, polyrhythmic phasing pulses weave a hypnotic and morphing fabric delivering a multi-dimensional realm of sonic support.
The “heart” of the album — the immersive embrace “HeartBreath” — follows. Expansive, warm and sensual, the space is carried with a pulsing rhythmic theme. The caress of an orchestral-like tapestry emanates a sensation of depth, openness, and tranquility. The mood portrays a futuristic, shimmering tomorrow.
“Spiral of Strength” is built from Mandala-esque sequencer patterns and churning soundscapes as in the opener “Tomorrow.” This time, however, the harmonic content has a more forthright urgency and sense of perseverance, a sonic Yin and Yang. The album resolves with “A Different Today” in which the pointillistic luminosity from Steve’s analog modular wonderworld blends with heart-centered atmospherics drifting quietly into the distance.
Tomorrow is equal parts serene floating space music and minimalist sequencer-based forms. Roach’s journey to the center of our self is imbued with anticipation of what tomorrow might bring.
Tomorrow is available as a CD packaged in a 4-panel digipak or as a gatefold Vinyl 2LP limited to 500 copies. The vinyl version also includes a download card.
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.
reviews editor –
From Ambient Music Guide
Best Albums of 2020
Fans of e-music pioneer Steve Roach’s more energetic electronica like the excellent Skeleton Keys (2015) and Spiral Revelation (2017) will find plenty to love on Tomorrow. The difference is that, with just a few clever tweaks, he’s subtly re-angled the propulsive sequenced sounds of his analog modular synths from spacey cosmic mandalas to shiny futurist ones. There’s an optimistic lilt to the melodies, creating a less ambivalent mood than the shadow zone he normally plays in. And the lineage from Steve’s sequencer driven work back to classical minimalist composers like Philip Glass seems clearer than ever on the title track and “Optimal Being”, two glittering 20 minute-plus pieces. That is, the idea that repetition is king, so that over time subtle changes have dramatic impact, pulling you deeper into the hypnotic swirl.
Echoes January 2021 CD of the Month!
Tomorrow. That’s a pretty simple, maybe even clichéd title, but perhaps never more appropriately applied than to the music of Steve Roach, who has been making the music of tomorrow since his debut album in 1982, Now. That may seem like a contradictory title in the context I’ve established, but even then I thought of it as the “future now.”
I’m writing some of this review in a tire shop getting my winter snows mounted. But with my Bose headphones on, silencing the din, Steve Roach has already taken me out of this dismal waiting room and sent me soaring through symmetrical space. Sequencer patterns ping pong in delay, left and right, while mechanized arpeggios course though filter sweeps.
Tomorrow continues down the modular analog synthesizer path that Steve Roach has been tracking for about five years since Skeleton Keys was released in 2015. (Also a CD of the Month.) It’s a more metallic sound than his earlier work and certainly less sonically organic than his techno-tribal recordings. It’s a sound that exults in sculpting patterns in space. That’s established on the opening title track, which drives relentlessly across its 20 minutes until coursing out in synth pads at the end. As Michael Stearns said in our Steve Roach Mini-Doc, “He’s taken his sequencing to a level that Tangerine Dream just never got to.”
“A Different Today” takes me back a bit to albums like Empetus, as synthesizer pads swirl amidst multiple, muffled, thudding sequencer patterns that plunge in counterpoint through the fog like a train traveling through a shrouded night, finally dissolving in spectral lights.
The fade-in and fade-outs of tracks like “Spiral of Strength” suggest that some of these are pieces sliced out of longer sessions, as Roach improvises, carving sound out of circuits, manipulating his complex array of synth modules as if he’s trying to tune-in the universe. One of the shorter pieces, “Spiral of Strength” is one of the most compelling on the album, a heroic journey of sequencers that percolate in moiré patterns played out under the slow motion swell of synth chords.
There is a minimalist sensibility to a lot of this music, in the sense of Philip Glass and Steve Reich minimalism. Roach establishes a pattern of sequencer arpeggios and tiny melodic fragments and then manipulates them, altering filters, timbres and notes, creating a sound with a fluid plasticity. And there is no denying the 70s German space music influences here, in particular on “HeartBreath” with its slow moving pulse, ratcheting electronic percussive effects, and oceanic synthesizer swells.
Tomorrow is an album born in pandemic. The title was composed in the immediate aftermath of Roach’s cancelled March performance in New York City this past year. A musician who is, by nature, introspective, it brought Roach into deeper considerations of the culture and the landscape and what happens on the other side of pandemic. It called to mind the lyrics of Peter Hammill’s “The Future Now,” lightly altered here:
I want the future now
I want to hold it in my hands
I want to break the bounds
I want the promised land
I don’t know if Steve Roach can bring us to the promised land, but he can open a window to it, and Tomorrow does just that. The End -John Diliberto
From Complex Distractions
Musician and composer Steve Roach is a legend in the ambient/new age music world. He started out as a Motorcross racer in his early 20s before being inspired by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and Vangelis to teach himself to play the synthesizer. He released his debut album Now in 1982, and by 1986 he released his acclaimed Quiet Music series. Dreamtime Return followed in 1988 and was what many considered both an absolute masterpiece and a breakthrough in ambient/new age music.
Roach’s music follows a narrative that speaks to time, space, the environment, and the flow of nature. His music is made from the synthetic, but flows organically. For almost 40 years Steve Roach has created electronic music as a means to connect beyond his own perceptions, deep-diving into the ether with his trance-like music works.
On the synth legend’s newest album, the heady and dense Tomorrow, Roach gives us five long, expansive tracks to find some peace in. Improvised states of mind turned into epic, spaced-out travels into a kind of innerspace monologue with the universe. Tomorrow is a gorgeous deep dive into the world of transcendent synth music.
Opening track “Tomorrow” was created just days after Roach’s NYC concert was cancelled in March because of the lockdown. From there the songs came to him in a natural progression. “Tomorrow” is the doorway into Steve Roach’s world, all arpeggiated notes, bubbly synth lines, and a connective flow that moves you along. “Optimal Being” follows with a real uplift sort of vibe. There’s a real soothing, healing mood here. With headphones on, you can feel the music cascading down over you like circuital waves of sound. It’s a truly meditative song.
Roach explains more about the new album, “While my daily mode of operation is more about the connection to the here and now, my thoughts were shifting towards a ‘tomorrow state of mind.’ When the storm clears, after a major pressing of the reset button of our lives, will we wake up to a scorched metaphorical earth or a freshly tilled verdant soil for new life to emerge? I had a sense of being a first responder in sound and music, drawing from my creative core, staying connected to this as a grounding rod.”
This leads to album centerpiece “HeartBreath”, a dark and mysterious world of sound and visceral emotion. There’s a floating quality here, as if we’re some galactic traveler making our way through the universe. It’s a heady sound world that unfolds in slow motion, revealing enlightenment through sound and electronic sway. Final tracks “Spiral of Strength” and “A Different Today” continue along the sonic path Tomorrow has built for us; a sort of Milky Way symphony of emotive, electronic transcendence to an understanding of where we could go.
As long as we make peace with where we’ve been. In a year of more questions than answers, Steve Roach’s Tomorrow is a definitive wave of positivity and light. A soulful and steely album for the mindful traveler and inquisitive searcher.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10 -J. Hubner
From Tucson Weekly
Our Favorite Local Albums of 2020
For a person who makes such peaceful music, Steve Roach sure keeps busy. One of multiple records he released this year, Tomorrow is a surprisingly kinetic release from a musician dubbed a pioneer of ambient music. Exploring what Roach describes as “elegant futurism,” the album consists of expansive, layered meditations. Unlike much of his previous work, staccato notes are in place of smoothed-out synth tones, creating a work both busy and soothing. Tomorrow combines the complex, German electronic music of the 1970s with a spiritual, New Age atmosphere. It’s a successful style for Roach, which is sure to please both ambient lovers and those who like their electronic music a bit more rhythmic and upfront. But don’t go into this album looking for background music; it’s far too mesmerizing for that. -Jeff Gardner
From Sonic Immersion
Drawing from a vast, unique and deeply personal authenticity, Steve’s works are and always have been fueled by the momentum of a lifetime dedicated to (what he refers to as) The Soundcurrent. Tomorrow offers equal parts serene floating space music, as well as kinetic movement and minimalist sequencer-based forms that breathe life and energy.
The lengthy outcome sees Mr. Roach prolong his “elegant futurism style” where cyclical melodic weavings flow and ebb in a graceful momentum infused with deep emotion. The minimalist framework, current and pulse is profound on the opening title track and “Optimal Being” (although the sequencers on both have a clinical “vibe” as well) before shifting to the lush, textural soundscape expanse of “HeartBreath” with its vivid pulses and choral hints. Things ease down further as we ride the textural waves and gentle sequence making up the 7-minute outing “Spiral of Strength”. “A Different Today”, where a sense of hope shines through, sets off with rapid but overall gentle strings of sequences dressed with smooth pads on top.
Overlooking the whole recording I feel the second half of Tomorrow is the most satisfying.
From Prog Archives
There couldn’t be a better time for American progressive-electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach to release an album such as Tomorrow. In 2020, we’re currently living in a very difficult, unhappy and threatening period, where hope can be in short supply. With this release, Steve has taken another deep-dive into sequencer-heavy pieces, the majority of them side-long, twenty-plus minute compositions, and there is a constantly uplifting, even joyful vibrancy to the synth soundworlds he unveils here.
These days, it’s not unusual for Roach to offer very low-key and droning ambient works, some of which are even gently melancholic. However, with the way the year has gone, perhaps he’s aware that another similar work might prompt listeners to dwell too long, potentially leading to overwhelming and unhappier places brought on by the current state of the world. So, in contrast, Tomorrow (even the title is hopeful) enlivens the senses by being unwaveringly full of momentum and liveliness, with sequenced patterns in constant movement, ringing and chiming into infinity, and the artist’s trademark lush synth veils weaving around them.
Self-titled opener `Tomorrow’ sets much of a template for this collection. Embracing both his more melodic percussive-driven styles with his thoughtful ambience, sequencer programming bounces with purpose, sometimes quickening and strident, other times retreating. They move between glistening waves of cooling electronic caresses that lap back and forth, always shimmering with elegance and teeming with life. Very slight uneasy textures that infiltrate the extended piece may remind some listeners of the legendary Klaus Schulze, but they are quickly chased back by more optimistic qualities.
Parts of `Optimal Being’ drift into gentler touches before a dramatic finale that reminds of Eighties-era Tangerine Dream. `HeartBreath’ swoons with a Structures From Silence-like enveloping sweetness with the softest pattering of beats. Both the shorter `Spiral of Strength’ and `A Different Today’ occupy the final side, with the former being up-tempo and urgent – maybe even a little giddy! – and the latter a sleek and graceful closer.
Being available on both CD and vinyl (a format that Roach doesn’t explore too often these days) suggests this release is aiming for wider exposure and attention than usual, and it couldn’t be a more ideal set to showcase the modern era of the artist. Steve’s artistic, intelligent and accessible sides are all in perfect unison here, making it a treat for long-time listeners, curious newcomers or even more casual fans, and Tomorrow proves to be a reminder that joy, love and hope can be found in even the most uncertain and trying of times.
Five stars for prog-electronic fans. -Aussie-Byrd-Brother