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Steve Roach — Sanctuary of Desire
(Projekt PRO412, 2023, 2CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-10-24

Sanctuary of Desire Cover art

Depending on who you ask, Steve Roach has released somewhere between 142 (Exposé artist page) and 203 (Discogs site) full-lengrh releases since he started out back in 1982, not counting compilations. That’s a pretty impressive 41 year run, and he’s showing no signs of letting up. His works vary between gentle floating ambient styles, powerful world / tribal sounds, shimmering sequenced electronics, all points in between, and more, all seemingly informed by one another. Sanctuary of Desire is a two-disc set that seems to be split between the floating ambient world (on disc one) and the more structured electronic forms (on disc two), thus with this one set a listener can find themselves lost in either of Roach’s two most iconic soundworlds, and although it doesn’t include his more tribal side, it certainly spins an intense web of subtle shimmering beauty that captures two sides of his immersive craft. For the sonic explorer who hasn’t yet taken the deep dive, this set manages to offer two introductory openings for a newcomer, yet it’s far more than a rehash of ideas explored in previous outings, the dreamlike structures that inhabit disc one include things I have never heard before in Roach’s canon — the shimmering and colorful drifts of “Before I Leave” offer scintillations of starlight that pique the imagination, while the deeper dronefields of “Night Flower” swell with warmth and timelessness. Disc one’s opener “Lucent” carries onward for over half an hour, bathing the listener in endless meditative cycles. The five cuts on disc two begin with the 25-minute title track, where deep droning sound forms rise up from below until they are joined by gentle sequenced patterns that glide through the inner reaches of space.”Before... After” seems to originate near where “Before I Leave” on the first disc left off, blossoming into a dreamlike panorama. With an almost deliberate intent, “The Elegance of Motion” moves forward through numerous soft sequenced patterns as it follows its warm and curious path. The two discs are quite different, yet complimentary in every way, showcasing two distinct sides of Roach’s art.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

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