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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Manooghi Hi - Silence – Manooghi Hi are nothing if not ambitious, at least when it comes to sound. Every track on their second CD features lush arrangements, intense singing, and a full complement of rhythm from the bass and...  (2011) » Read more

Pallas - Moment to Moment – Many bands who were part of the 80s neo-prog movement are facing the reality that even though their popularity is holding steady and it’s easier than ever to record albums and perform live,...  (2008) » Read more

Arena - Pride – I never thought I'd see the day when Mick Pointer became a more prolific musician than his former Marillion mates. After dropping off the face of the earth for over a decade, Mick and Co. have now...  (1997) » Read more

Quidam - Quidam – I love almost any album that starts with heavy organ... almost. To be a bit more objective, this self-titled album by the symphonic Polish band Quidam is like a lot of other bands: less derivative /...  (1997) » Read more

Ruphus - Ranshart – Regarding Ranshart: The Norwegian group Ruphus suffered a drastic lineup shift after their 1973 debut, New Born Day, which resulted in the loss of, among others, both vocalists: Gundy Aspaas and Rune...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues