Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — The Delicate Forever
(Projekt 305, 2014, CD)

by Paul Hightower, 2017-06-20:

The Delicate Forever Cover art

Where are we? Some subterranean grotto? An alien garden? In the hands of ambient artist Steve Roach it’s all up to the listener’s imagination. Roach – with umpteen releases under his belt – has had a few years to explore, stretch, and hone his craft. Lately he’s been trending toward greater use of analog gear, which makes sense given that he started out as a pioneering electro-acoustic artist way back when. Not that you can tell the difference, anyways. In the hands of someone this well versed in waveforms, filters, and a mixing console he could probably put a microphone up to my cat and the results would be just as good. As for the specifics of this release, it’s typically mammoth comprising five pieces ranging from over nine minutes on the low end up to the title piece at almost 25 minutes. Each segues into the next, so it really feels like one massive, 75-minute journey. And there’s enough variation and development that the hand of the creator is almost always present. “The Well Spring” evokes old-school electronica via sequenced synth melodies, whereas pieces like the title track or “Perfect Sky” take a more organic approach with irregular accents that burble or skitter across them. Ingeniously, the first and final tracks are mirrors so the entire thing can be put on continuous, seamless replay. Whether it’s enjoyed for itself, or as an aid to meditation, relaxation or study, Roach has delivered yet another in a long series of sublime and expertly crafted sonic excursions.


by Peter Thelen, 2014-08-10:

Long the master of contemplative floating ambient music, Roach makes a deeply introspective work here that relies as much on silence as it does on sound, integrating soft-edged minimalist electronic loops with very subtle shading and a slowly evolving drifts that bridge the states of consciousness. In the distant background, one can hear subtle punctuations that eventually grow into something entirely new, opening a new portal that ends up overcoming all that was there before. Mechanically speaking, this is where the track changes – there are no dead spaces in between the cuts; instead everything just flows together seamlessly, in an evolutionary continuum. There are five long sections (the tracks) here for a total of almost 74 minutes, which should be plenty of time to move any listener from a stressful, agitated state of consciousness through a lower stress but high energy field, and ultimately into a zone where the senses align to guide the listener into subconscious areas where the sounds, colors and textures of the piece become one with the psyche. The ultimate effect differs depending on the listener’s starting point, but the direction of travel is the same, ending up in a more reflective and perceptive place. Roach has many releases like this, where the sounds, loops, shifts and tonal variations differ, but the conscious effect is essentially the same. Those who are familiar with many of the releases we have reviewed here over the years will know exactly what to expect with The Delicate Forever. Those who haven’t taken that step yet would certainly find a whole new world to travel within.

Filed under: New releases , 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

More info

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nuova Idea - In the Beginning – Nuova Idea are probably best known for being part of Italy's largest family tree, including the New Trolls and Osanna. Nuova Idea's Ricky Belloni (on Clowns) joined the New Trolls later in...  (1995) » Read more

Tim Story - In Another Country – Story, probably better known for his more recent work on Windham Hill and Hearts of Space, released his first two albums on cassette in the early 80s. This, his second, finally received an LP release...  (1995) » Read more

Yontz Sucre - Electric Jam – After a 38-second ambient intro that slowly morphs into feedback, North Carolina guitarist Yontz Sucre launches into the first of several smokin' guitar instrumentals that grace this, his debut...  (1997) » Read more

Quicksilver - Six String Voodoo, 07 Live & The Hermit – Gary Duncan was the ‘other’ guitarist in the original Quicksilver Messenger Service. Today, with Freiberg off doing other things with Jefferson Starship most of the time, Greg Elmore...  (2011) » Read more

Esthema - The Hereness and Nowness of Things – This American band features a trio of guitar (electric and acoustic), violin, and oud / bouzouki backed by electric bass and drums, plus guests on percussion and cello. The lead role is most commonly...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues