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Steve Roach — Ambient Church, New York City
(Timeroom Editions TM61, 2023, 2CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-01-07

Ambient Church, New York City Cover art

For many years Steve Roach has played live shows at many choice venues all around the world, venues that suit his dreamy atmospheric music, including Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, other cathedrals throughout Europe, a volcanic lava bed encircled by 64 stone monoliths near Mexico City, a large cave on the Canary Islands, as well as more conventional performance venues. On June 4, 2022, he performed a two hour set at the historic Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, or as it’s conveniently called here, the Ambient Church. Every venue has its own unique signature acoustics, and Heavenly Rest, with its tall arching cielings and massive stone walls certainly makes the cut, with well over one-thousand people in attendance that evening. An “Exclusive Edition” of the same performance was released as a download-only to Roach’s Bandcamp subscribers earlier in 2022, although the two parts of the set were just titled “Part One” and “Part Two,” the equivalent of each of the discs in this 2CD set. For the release at hand, each of the discs is split into five titles each, although everything still flows together beautifully. The material draws from excerpts from classic tracks, as well as a number that are exclusive to this show, focusing primarily on his floating ambient and tribal material, going as far back as “Structures from Silence” from the 80s, plus several pieces from the 2018 Return to the Dreamtime set (“Songline,” “The Continent,” “Magnificent Gallery” and “Circular Ceremony” that all featured on The Sky Opens from 2020), a couple pieces from Tomorrow (“Heartbreath” and “Spiral of Strength”) and a sample of What Remains from earlier in 2022, plus three tracks exclusive to this performance. Those who know Roach’s music will have a good idea of what to expect, while those unfamiliar would do well to start right here. This is powerful yet subtle and immersive music that will alter your consciousness. I envy those who got to experience it live, but listening to a recording of this historic performance is certainly the next best thing

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

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