Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — Trance Archeology
(Projekt PRO368, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-11-03

Trance Archeology Cover art

One has to wonder, after so many years and so many releases, how does an artist like Steve Roach come up with new ideas that don’t sound like what he’s done before? Some reference points to past work will be there on each new album but I have to believe that a lot of experimentation goes on between each new body of work to germinate new ideas, textures, and concepts and bring them into a cohesive existence before they are used on any new releases. Such it seems to be with his latest offering, Trance Archeology, a collection of eight pieces of varying lengths that certainly seem at home within his typical ambient soundworld, but feature a number of new sounds and textures, many in the percussive and rhythmic realm that don’t recall any of his previous works, at least those that this reviewer can recall. The side-long opening track “Spawn of Time” features enough new textures and rhythms in its first five minutes to easily support this claim, most created or processed through his modular synths, but often organized rhythmically to vaguely resemble hand drums or such, with other-worldly sounds surrounding the listener like fertile swirling magic on a starlit night, with odd and often twisted sprites of color barreling out of the sky. Eighteen minutes later, after the steady percussive beat has fallen behind clouds of swirling motion, one senses a drop in the volume level and that something new is coming, as the second cut “Indigo Moon” merges seamlessly with it as the opener fades gently away. We are now in a world of shaded stillness that slowly immerses the listener, with a low, slow oscillating pulses supporting colorful bell sounds circling around the psyche. “Trance Genealogy” is another side-long adventure, this time beginning on a foundation of more typically Berlin School electronics, but with more than its share of soaring atmospherics as it progresses onwards. One won’t even notice when the track changes to “Long Shadow,” a mysterious, dreamlike, cavernous mystery that follows on from much of Roach’s more recent work. Deep pulses and of steady rhythm return on “Birthpulse” and are futher elaborated on “Firebreather” before mixing it up with a new wealth of electronics on “Unearthed.” Hardly a minute goes by anywhere where the foundational sounds aren’t constantly morphing, growing, and shifting as we go. Twelve minute closer “Soul Archeology” forms seamlessly from the previous cut, with subtly shaded sonic events peppering an expansive tranquil sonic panorama. There are plenty new explorations in Trance Archeology, but it remains unmistakably the pioneering work of Steve Roach.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

More info
http://spottedpeccary.com/shop/trance-archeology/
http://http://www.projekt.com/store/product/pro00368/
http://https://steveroach.com/store/store.php?item=611

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...

Mujician - Poem about the Hero – Despite a feel more reminiscent of the free-jazz of the mid-60s than of the 90s, Mujician's second all-instrumental release is a refreshing addition to the archives of improvised music. Featuring...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues