Steve Roach — Spiral Revelation
(Projekt 336, 2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-12-25
Here we are in a soundworld that lies somewhere between Roach’s floating ambient style and his more sequenced work, one breathing life into the other, shifting as it goes across the album’s six tracks, most of which crossfade at their transition points to make for a long smooth continuum for the listener. The sequenced parts are for the most part gentle and bathed in warmth, not unlike classic Tangerine Dream circa the Phaedra LP, moving slowly and purposefully, rife with repetition but avoiding any hard edges. Concurrent through most of the album is a textural component that floats effortlessly throughout the background, and in fact opens the proceedings alone on the first cut “We Continue” and later gives way to share the moment with other ideas working together. The sequenced elements often take a slower approach as in “A Righteous Thing,” revealing the internal structure in more detail than one would normally hear on the rapid fire pace of the title track. As the pieces morph together and gently shift from one phase to the next, the immersed listener finds themselves as a passenger on the continuing journey. Like all of Roach’s epic length pieces, this one delivers the most when the listener lets go and becomes completely immersed in the endeavor, essentially becoming a part of its inner workings.
Related artist(s): Steve Roach
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.