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Steve Roach — Live at Soundquest Fest 2021
(Timeroom Editions TM50, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-10-25

Live at Soundquest Fest 2021 Cover art

March 26-28, 2021 was the event Soundquest Fest 2021, created by ambient / electronic music pioneer Steve Roach, bringing together innovative electronic and ambient composers and musicians from around the world in a three-day continuous performance featuring streamed live sets and pre-recorded events with audio-visual artists, an event that for any who witnessed it will never forget anytime soon. Shortly after, several of the individual live streamed sets began to appear on YouTube, including the set by Roach himself (and it’s probably still out there somewhere), Michael Stearns, Jeff Greinke, Robert Rich, Erik Wøllo, and others who offered live sets. Still, having to view these sets repeatedly on a computer isn’t always the most convenient way to repeat the audio experience, so some of the sets are now being produced on compact disc. The first (at least that I’m aware of) was Erik Wøllo’s Winter Tide - Live at Soundquest Fest 2021, reviewed here back in early September. Now we have the entirety of Steve Roach’s solo set at the event committed to physical medium. The set is in four parts, although the final three movements blend together instead of fading to black in between, and all are unique to this streamed performance. The first movement fades in slowly in classic floating ambient style, and at ten minutes is the shortest of the four movements. The second movement is where the changes start happening — starting much in the floating mode of the first we soon hear interesting sonic variants lighting up the horizon, and ultimately waves of fast arpeggiated sequences and sweeping voices by the end of its 26 minute duration, when the third movent opens with some brazen low pulses that quickly lead the way as the fast sequences slowly fade in and out of the background. As the third movement slowly fades away and rises again in the fourth, we are introduced to various percussive sounds accompanying the expansive stretches of wonderous synth textures for the closing eleven minutes. There’s nothing quite like listening to this with the headphones on in a dark room or outdoor under the stars.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

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