Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — Storm Surge: Steve Roach Live at NEARfest
(NEARfest Records NFR0008, 2006, CD)

Steve Roach — Immersion: One
(Projekt 181, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Storm Surge: Steve Roach Live at NEARfest Cover artImmersion: One Cover art

Steve Roach’s appearance at NEARfest 2005 was a landmark event. Any live performance by Roach is a rarity, but to be exposed to such a large audience — and one largely unfamiliar with his work—is truly a career highlight. Fortunately the good folks at NEARfest expertly recorded the entire performance and are making it available for purchase. Even though broken into ten tracks, the CD is really one contiguous musical journey (with one pause halfway through), albeit with myriad phases and thematic explorations. It eschews Roach’s more ambient side (as seen in his new “Immersion” release below) for a more rhythmic approach reminiscent of his earlier work. This was a wise decision for an audience more in tune with prog rock than Roach’s brand of spacey ambience. Aided by a computer-generated projection (sadly missing from the audio experience), Roach takes the audience through a mesmerizing vista of drones, rolling waves of synths, dijideroo harmonics, and blankets of ethereal white noise. At times, as on “Wings of Icarus,” Roach sets up tribal percussion for something more primal and heated. The performance peaks with the mesmerizing “NEARstorm” that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard from Roach. It may be that I’m more inclined toward his more traditional EM side, but I can’t imagine any Exposé readers not digging this. Perhaps in honor of the setting, Roach even flirts with Mellotron strings and e-bowed guitar and the results are simply delicious. Kudos to the NEARfest folks and to Steve Roach for a magical recording.

No doubt many who were in the audience that have looked into Roach’s immense catalog of past and current releases. One of these is the first in a new series of ambient recordings titled Immersion. Those hoping to find the same kind of percussive energy in the NF performance may be disappointed with this CD. Rather, this is another in Roach’s continuing explorations of ambient sounds, most recently seen in the Timeroom series. The scant liner notes reveal little, though the CD print tells the tale: “Created for continuous low level playback.” For 73 minutes, the listener will be immersed in a rolling and slowly flowing blanket of synth drones. Roach occasionally blends in harmonics and overtones that create eddies and currents within the larger stream, though this is essentially one vast and unbroken ambient stream, no doubt the perfect accompaniment for relaxing or therapeutic activity. Taken with the live NF disk, this pair of CDs will give the listener a complete picture of Steve Roach circa 2006.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Chrome - Retro Transmission – After a lengthy hiatus, Helios Creed has returned with a new Chrome album. Having never heard a Chrome album before I cannot say if this is representative or not. I can tell you one major influence on...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues