- Gone West 7:27
- Truth And Beauty 8:29
- Nightshade 9:04
- Flatlands 4:55
- Merge 6:21
- Heart’s Core 8:49
- Eye Of Noche 13:19
- Where Rasa Lives 15:01
Total time 73:31
The collection brings together an inspired set of thematic, rhythmic, and melodic pieces from Steve Roach’s vast body of work.
Created for the Eponaquest horse-faciliated workshop Rasa Dance by equine innovator and best-selling author Linda Kohanov, the music sets the tone for interactive sessions where horses and humans literally move and dance together, thus providing a supportive atmosphere for the experience of connection. This dynamic music set covers a powerful range of emotions and inspiration which perfectly mirrors the Rasa Dance workshop theme.
The Evolution of Rasa Dance
In 1993, at the height of my career as a music critic, I sold my CD collection to buy Tabula Rasa, a beautiful black Arabian mare. Six months later, I was riding her in the desert when a huge Rottweiler chased us through a deep sandy wash, injuring Rasa’s right back leg, ending our promising riding career, yet ironically leading us on a much more fruitful path.
The Chinese sage Lao-tzu observed that “it is upon disaster that good fortune rests,” a lesson that Rasa and her other herd members challenged me to embrace over and over again. While the sheer joy of working with horses always outweighed the hardships, the most profound transformations happened when things didn’t go my way—when my most reliable tools, ideas, and coping strategies failed, and I had to respond to the world rather than try to control it. Through Rasa, I learned to dance with the unexpected while literally learning how to dance with her on the ground. This consolation for my inability to ride her turned into a relationship-enhancing practice that I used with other horses, and eventually taught to people through our “Rasa Dance” workshops.
For these clinics, my husband Steve and I perused his extensive list of original compositions, selecting various moods and tempos. This CD collection was refined through years of movement magic between horses and humans. “Eye of Noche” and “Where Rasa Lives” were later created in memory of two horses who became great dancers, then great dance teachers of people, including those who had never worked with horses before.
I was subsequently surprised to find the phrase “Rasa Dance” associated with the ancient god Krishna, who danced with his followers by moonlight. In India, a sacred performance is still called a Rasa Dance, signifying a state of grace in which Spirit engages with its many manifestations, expressing different aspects of infinity through the music of connection.
But it was a living, breathing horse named Rasa who taught me that when two beings move in synchrony, a greater consciousness arises. Most importantly, I learned that if we can dance with joy, ecstasy, power, frustration, miscommunication, tragedy and anything else that comes our way, an underlying sense of deep peace emerges, allowing us to fully engage with life.
Reviews Editor –
From Sonic Curiosity
This CD from 2013 features 73 minutes of melodic electronic music. Lively guitar lends a substantial touch to Roach’s normally ambient soundscapes. The presence of harmonica in the opening enhances this difference. That guitar presence persists throughout the album, imbuing the music with a dreamily tangible quality. While there are some elongated sustains, a percentage of the guitarwork manifests as twangy strumming (yet devoid of any prairie characteristics).
The electronics are typically ethereal, wafting like delicate breezes through the tracks and establishing a vaporous foundation for additional electronics and the guitar. Airy flute enhances some passages, bestowing the music with a winsome flair. As the album continues, female vocals (of a non-lyrical nature) are increasingly present, voicing an organic temperament. Some tribal percussion is employed, but the rhythms are gentle and softly played, thereby embellishing the tuneage rather than driving it. In one instance, the beats sneakily display more influence, almost guiding the music’s flow instead of contributing to it.
Despite all these unexpected elements, these compositions retain Roach’s signature sound: atmospheric streams designed to mesmerize and instill introspection. These songs possess melodic definition of a keen nature, flowing tunes that still mesmerize, but actually generate an outward perceptivity, connecting the listener to their environment instead of isolating them from the real world. This music is also clearly broken into individual tracks (unlike Roach’s standard manner of seamlessly streaming one song into the next), tastily segregating each piece’s inherent melody. -Matt Howarth
Reviews Editor –
From Synth & Sequences
How many decades and eras crosses Steve Roach’s career? How many albums, solo or in collaborations, fills this career? I say that like that; approximately 130 albums since the first movements of sequences on Now (I still haven’t hear Moebius) since 1982 to today.Throughout these ages, Steve Roach has kissed all the styles that ambiospheric EM has been able to generate, going even into the ethnic rhythms and the spheres of Berlin School. Why this introduction to Rasa Dance-The Music of Connection? Because this last Steve Roach album, which is a kind of musical will about the relation between a horse (Tabula Rasa) and his master (Linda Kohanov), is a compilation, too short, of works and especially styles which mark out some periods as far as 1989.
“Gone West”, out of the album Dust to Dust in 1999, really plunges us into the plains of the American westerns with 7 ambiospherical minutes where rattlers and noises of the desert are lulled by an acoustic guitar and its worn-out chords which dust out the breaths of a solitary and melancholic harmonica. “Fate Awaits” from Truth and Beauty (also in 1999) is a long ambient passage where synths cry and rage with abandon in the dusts of the forsaken chords of a guitar which makes its notes stroll on the walls of an earth and of its tears of stones. A lesson on how ambient music can have a soul. We can really feel the first interactions man/horse with “Nightshade” (Soma with Robert Rich in 1999), of which the soft Amerindian tribal rhythm depicts this strange union where the horse let slowly tame by his new master. “Flatlands”, from the superb Desert Solitaire in 1989, brings us on horseback in the sinuous land ways of the American deserts which are encircled by these immense mountains with the sides as dangerous than mythical.
If you don’t possess this album yet, it’s a big sin. The percussions, the gurglings of the synths, the semi spectral strata and the atmospheres are wonderful musical sketches of a world that we imagine only by the eye of a camera. Dreamlike and essential! Speaking of essential, what to say about Empetus (1986) of which the superb trance of sequences in “Merge”, sequences which flicker like some frenzied scissors snips in emptiness, can draw both the movements of a magic dance, a rebellion or a wild ride of a bloodstock in search of freedom? This is a great sequencing play. What seduces in this compilation is as much the selection of the tracks as their order of scrolling, weaving a surprising pattern where the rhythms and the atmospheres intertwine with a surprising correctness. So, after the wild rhythm of “Merge”, “Hearts Core”, from 2004’s Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II, brings us back to this tribal touch with a shaman rhythm where the unchained percussions breathe of a strange organic life and the celestial voices implore some astral auras around a reddening fire. It’s to us to imagine a link with the horse. Me, I see a passage towards another world, especially with the next 30 minutes when “Eye of Noche”, from New Life Dreaming in 2005, and “Where Rasa Lives”, out of Back to Life in 2012, submerge our senses of serene translucent and sibylline strata which mould the breaths caressing and annihilating the imprints, the vestiges of our passage, our past.
With all these albums which furnish the impressive musical fauna of Steve Roach, this compilation which makes the bridge between his 80’s and 2010 years is a wind of freshness which calls back the origins of the American synthesist. Available in downloadable format only, Rasa Dance-The Music of Connection is an excellent means to get acquainted with the work of Roach because the selected tracks are magnificently ordered so that the ambiospherical structures, which can make run away those whom the music of Roach calls from the tips of the ears, pass as knocks of brushes which dust out the clanic and sequenced trances. The link with the horses? With Rasa? I leave that to your imagination. Because Steve Roach’s magic is that we can have one thousand perceptions on his music, that there is always a link which unite them. A must to those who want to discover Steve Roach’s universe. -Sylvain Lupari