Steve Roach: Zones, Drones & Atmospheres (CD)

$15.00

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1. The Living Space 14:28
2. Breathing Light 07:06
3. Neomorphic 11:03
4. Shadow Realms 07:49
5. Immerse Indigo 05:54
6. The Perfection of Solitude 16:18
7. Holding Light 09:53
8. Submerged 01:13:04
9. Isolation Station 58:04

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In a masterful expression of subtle, potent ambient-electronic minimalism, Steve Roach’s newest release activates an internal opening of the mythic imagination. The slowly unfolding interweave of zones, drones and atmospheres displays compelling, deeply evocative textural pieces with an interconnected sense of mystery, awe and wonder.

The gently engulfing interplay between the album’s pieces provides contrasts of shadow and light, shimmering beauty and alluring soundscapes stretched into infinity. The revealing of the music unfolds into stately sonic formations of hypnotic weavings, hazy atmospheric swirls and murmuring reverberations. Roach establishes each soundworld through engaging a multitude of techniques and hardware-based instruments with fluidity and grace.

Manifesting from the essential foundational DNA of ambient music, this is an album of elegant, deeply nuanced audio alchemy. The expansive minimalism reveals a shadowy and emotional spaciousness that meditates on the enduring essence and power of sound and our place in the center of it.

BIO

Steve Roach is an American pioneer in the evolution of ambient/electronic music, helping shape it into what it is today. Grammy nominated in 2018 and 2019, his career spans over 4 decades drawing from a vast, unique and deeply personal authenticity. His albums are fueled by the momentum of a lifetime dedicated to the soundcurrent. Driven by a passion and unbroken focus, the emotive, soul-stirring depth of his recorded music — along with countless concerts — Roach inspires a growing audience worldwide. His massive catalog of landmark recordings includes Structures from Silence, Quiet Music, Dreamtime Return and Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces.

The CD contains the first 7 tracks. The digital edition of Zones, Drones & Atmospheres includes additional tracks to extend the immersive experience to nearly three and a half hours.

Release date: January 14 2022

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Reviews

  1. padmin

    From Bandcamp

    For me this album perfectly evokes the liminal zones of primal creative possibility: waking from a dream, full of inspiration; or seeing visions of a possible future shifting in the shadows at twilight. What a lovely gift, to offer this beauty to all of us to brighten a dark hour. -Dave Aftandilian

  2. padmin

    From Synth & Sequences

    “Just let ourselves be absorbed by the beauties of this album for who needs to escape”

    Fizzing balls bounce around to initiate The Living Space. The movement of these balls is like the equivalent of an overflow of particles pouring into a magnetic field. The echo of their shocks amplifies the random movement of these balls with hybrid tones and of which the mass forms a rhythm more engaging for the pleasure of the ears than for the feet. Still, it remains very celestial. Like stars shining in a heaven mixed by maelstrom of multi colored layers. Synth waves start to swarm in the background, whereas the presence of seraphic voices belongs more to the power of the imagination than to reality… Although I cannot deny their presence, especially towards the finale. The marbles clump together in a pattern that has become sequenced as this wall of waves moves as slowly as a drifting musical vessel, realistic tones included. The starry balls become ever so slightly quieter. The backstage becomes the frontstage, and vice versa. Our ears are submerged by the migration and multiplication of the synth layers whose bluish lamentations curl up like improbable couples dancing their ethereal waltzes. Ah that the universe of Steve Roach astound. The musician has become a master in the art of painting his ambient movements with both rhythmic and atmospheric colors, thus moving away from the impression that floating music is redundant. In this first long structure that initiates his new album Zones, Drones & Atmospheres, he creates a melodic texture with the interlacing of multiple balls to make us plunge into a state of hypnosis sucked by the migration of this floating phase. Where the membrane of the synth layers is oiled with a steel blue color, while the balls make a last appearance under the humming of astral goddesses and this strange noise, it sounds like a cuicui, which calls our attention even more.

    Interested, aroused curiosity are the beginnings of the art of Steve Roach’s atmospheric music much more than his addiction to immerse us in long meditative phases. What used to be the case is not anymore. Since his meeting with Robert Logan, the albums Biosonic and Second Nature in 2016, the synthesist from La Mesa, California, has expanded his tonal palette for the setting of his atmospheres. And he rightly shares it in his new album on the American label Projekt Records. Certainly and as its title indicates it quite well, Zones, Drones & Atmospheres plunges us in a zone of drones and atmospheres where the dark ambient style is the main asset of this album. A bit like Painting in the Dark where the roots of Neomorphic belong, but especially Fade To Grey and its symphony for drones and buzzing movements. This new album is made up of 7 musical tableaux that show his great knowledge of the meditative spheres. The CD, as well as the downloadable album, comes with two long bonus tracks, offering more than 183 minutes of music with long, buzzing murmurs in our cerebral intimacy where friend Steve is a master of playing with colors and shapes. Let’s take Breathing Light and its arabesques that stretch their points, flattening their curves to reach these floating embraces while radiating other tonal colors. After the Neomorphic’s eternal fall of sounds, Shadow Realms proposes a chant of drones which unravel in banks of sound mist. Layers with an orchestral texture give a second tint to this dark ambient movement. The breaths are hybrid with horn tones, like droning whispers, which act as vectors to reach a form of spiritual serenity. Immerse Indigo is heavier with a linear sound mass from which barely less dark filaments emerge, nuancing its immense atmospheric scope. Those who prefer an ambient music animated by sequences, Steve Roach thought of you with The Living Space and especially with the wonderful The Perfection of Solitude. This title evolves on more than 16 minutes brings us back to the ambient structures of The Skeleton Keys, as to the analog period of the American synthesist. The movement is articulated around a palette of keys sequenced in a rubbery spectrum where the balls bounce, rise and fall with an organic dust of tied to them. And it all unfolds as if in a dream with this compact haze cushioning the shock of the bounces, sculpting a haunting rhythmic texture. The colors of the winds add an intriguing vision to this rhythm that gets sucked in by these same winds after the 10th minute. Holding Light ends Zones, Drones & Atmospheres as in the good old days when Steve created a symphony from a breeze that moves by its inflections, a bit as to catch its breath. The phenomenon is exploited on a larger scale on Submerged whose nuances in the drones are conducive to these contrasts of light and shadow that draw us into a state of sleepy hypnosis. And with 73 minutes, Submerged, which reminds me of the unreleased material in the 3CD edition of Structures from Silence, has time to put us to sleep. More cavernous and vibrating with its whispers along the smooth walls of its huge tonal cave, Isolation Station also has these virtues, except that its subtle changing panorama makes it a little more exciting to listen to.

    Of course there are lengths! But isn’t that precisely what makes Steve Roach’s music so beautiful? Hypnotic, magnetizing and propelled by these barely perceptible impulses, we hear the phases evolved by sequences that leave a tiny opening to modify the texture, the forms and its colors. This is precisely where Steve Roach catches our interest. But that’s been known for a long time. Let’s just let ourselves be absorbed by the beauties of this Zones, Drones & Atmospheres. A beautiful album for who needs to escape… Rating: 4/5 -Sylvain Lupari

  3. padmin

    From Exposé

    Since the early 80s, Steve Roach has been releasing powerful ambient chronicles of the imagination, forward-looking minimalist music like no other before it, although his music has served as guidance and inspiration for many who came after. Roach’s first release of 2022 offers a wellspring of expressive soundscapes that encompass all of what the title bluntly suggests: zones of alluring beauty and nuanced shades of light and darkness; drones that offer a persuasive vision that engulfs the listener completely; and atmospheres that shimmer and weave, swirling in hazy heady textures and opening out into the vast reaches of the cosmos.

    Those familiar with his previous ambient works, both short and long form pieces, might not be too surprised by what’s on offer here, given that it all fits into Roach’s expected and expansive trajectory — dreamy sounds that meet the mysterious and cavernous reverberations of space that fit within no existing genre of music other than to say that its essence is explorative and, by virtue of its presentation, hypnotic. The compact disc version contains seven evocative and mystical tracks of varying length, from the near-fifteen minute opener “The Living Space,” where the dark sky breathes freely as stars curiously light up the heavens with beautiful sonic artifacts, to the dense atmospheres and dark growling textures of “Immerse Indigo,” the disc’s shortest track at six minutes. With “The Perfection of Solitude” one will hear deep electronic pulses across a gentle field of shaded atmospherics, while “Neomorphic” takes the listener on a guided journey through the depths of space, with subtle flashes of ancient tonal color driving the abstraction forward.

    Downloaders will get a couple extra cuts that are not featured on the CD, the 73-minute “Submerged” and the near-hour-long “Isolation Station”; both are long-form pieces that immerse the listener in slow waves and shimmering cascades, meditations that are all but guaranteed to send one down the eternal spiral of slumber and beyond. -Peter Thelen

  4. padmin

    From Journeys to the Infinite
    Zones, Drones & Atmospheres is an extensive opus that stretches the audience’s ability to recalibrate sensitivity to time and space. Steve Roach has demonstrated, once again, his mastery of sonic persuasion by engaging our attention in deep, shifting states refracted into a glittering web of textural harmonies and toned-down sequences. The nearly 3.5 hour album proposes a musical descending into the core of our being, inward diving unveiling the transcendent power of solitude.

    This new immersive recording interweaves dark octaves and luminous resonances to express the paradoxical nature of the unfathomable mystery within us. A feeling of time slowing to an almost stop arises while listening piece by piece, culminating with the final two long tracks where the music sounds timeless and unearthly but strangely intimate. The flow of sensations, emotions, thoughts are absorbed in soundwaves washing onto and dissolving in the invisible shore of awareness. In times of turbulence, an occasional detaching from the social context can be healthy and rewarding. Zones, Drones & Atmospheres encourages inward-focused confinement that, pursued by choice, proves to be insightful and restorative. -Marius-Christian Burcea

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