Monday, 2 July 2018

Steve Roach "Dreamtime Return" (1988)


American composer Steve Roach's third major release, Dreamtime Return, has been lavished with praise, finding its way onto many essential listening lists, especially within the Ambient community. I share in its appraisal but must also put my trust in the critics who cite the records significance. The ideas on this record are not new to me, its execution however is stunning and to put yourself in the mindset that this is the first emergence of these new approaches to sound creates little more excitement. It barely elevates the already metaphysical experience at hand, which is truly transformational music at heart.

Temporal, meditative and deeply spiritual, the sonic pallet of spacey, exploratory electronic synths advance into the winds of life as the beating heart of mother earth pounds through slow, vast tribal drums and percussive instruments. They form a disconnected experience as their tempos are stretched by the lack of any measurable groove. In sway deep, engrossing sounds, phasing in and out of existence around the illusive anchor to reality. The atmospheres are large and engulfing yet with the percussive backbone they feel earthed by scale, as if primitive man gazes in awe upon the unending lands of earth he can explore eternally.

It is simple to dissect and understand the musics formula yet the power and persuasion it has over a willing listener is the work of a master. Dreamtime Return lasts over two hours and there are some sections that will appeal more than others but its length is testament to the metamorphosis it takes into the roots of our culture-less heritage. In my personal experience I see baking red deserts, vast savannahs and tropical paradises, all beautiful and deadly, the life of an apex predator far from the emancipation of civilizations neutering.

The spiritual side, embraced by the sweeping, windy synths, induces a subtle psychedelic quality that make me think of native Americans on spirit journeys or vision quests, an intrinsically profound experience under the aid of chemicals. There is a strange sense of isolation within the music but it is not loneliness, the hypnotic nature of the record will let one find their symbiosis with mother nature and bask in the awe of insignificance we are as individuals. Where Structures In Silence gazed upon the cosmos, this record gazed internally to the core of our being.

Rating: 9/10

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who wants to expand their musical vocabulary this is the one for you.

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