About the Artist
In all his endeavors, Steve Roach creates music that exists outside conventional boundaries. This composer, producer, synthesist and multi-instrumentalist is restless in his search for new sounds that connect with an ancient source of truth in this ever changing world.
Roach has earned his position in the international pantheon of major new music artists through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, and open-minded collaborations with numerous artists and the psychological depth of his music. Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, he has released numerous albums since 1981, including the double CD Dreamtime Return, which received a perfect 10 out of 10 rating in CD Review magazine.
Roach's music described by critic Dwight Loop, as "techno tribal music for the global village," blends the visceral sounds he designs on synthesizers and samplers with the primordial rhythms of ethnic percussion and other exotic instruments, including the Australian didgeridoo. He studied these traditional techniques and made his own instrument with Aboriginal didgeridoo master, David Hudson, during two extended trips to the continent. Roach also scored music for a PBS documentary on the rock art of the Dreamtime (the foundation of Aboriginal mythology) and recorded indigenous artists for the critically-acclaimed release Australia: Sound of the Earth.
Roach's solo recording, Origins, further blurs the lines between the ancestral and the futuristic in highly evocative ways. Through a powerful series of interlocking compositions, the sophistication of Roach's electronic style artfully merges with his growing proficiency on percussion, voice, didgeridoo, and other ethnic instruments as he takes listeners back in time to the roots of musical expression. Origins also features several special guests, including Mexican percussionist, Jorge Reyes, and Spanish guitarist, Suso Saiz.
A tireless producer and collaborator, Roach produced Woolunda: Tens Solos for Didgeridoo, the first digital compact disc recording of solo didgeridoo music, featuring David Hudson. The summer of 1993 saw another production, Spirit of Fire, featuring Native American flutist, Perry Silverbird. According to Down Beat, listening to Roach's music is like following "a reliable musical muse into a dark, hypnotic realm that wafts of mysticism instead of marketing" but, then again, Roach has always followed his instincts rather than any preconceived notions of what would sell. His uncompromising approach has been rewarded with a steadily growing audience worldwide. The stark red-rock landscapes of Australia that inspired some of Roach's finest work have much in common with the American Southwest, which has also influenced the composer's music. While living in Los Angeles, the San Diego native released two groundbreaking albums inspired by the desert regions. The respected United Kingdom music magazine, Q, hailed Western Spaces as one of the "finest electronic albums of the decade" with a five-star rating.
In 1989, Desert Solitaire paid homage to the Edward Abbey book by the same title, and inadvertently became a memorial to the author when Abbey died shortly after the music was recorded. According to JAZZIZ magazine, Desert Solitaire successfully tapped "into the melancholic, psychological depths of the desert, `the grandeur of the terrible,' as Abbey put it, with music that swirls and whispers." In 1990, Roach moved to the Sonoran desert just outside of Tucson, Arizona, to be closer to this powerful source of inspiration. There he released another monumental double CD, World's Edge, which includes the hour-long epic To the Threshold of Silence, a subtle, slowly evolving composition that has been widely appreciated for its "keen understanding of the nuance of sound" (i/e).
As one of the few electronic-based artists performing live consistently for over 10 years, Roach's engagements have taken him from concert halls in the United States, Canada, and Europe to lava caves in the Canary Islands and volcanic craters in Mexico. These exotic settings have helped him further define his style, a sonic vision that thrives beyond categories, national boundaries, cultural barriers, and quite often, time itself.
As a composer, producer and performer, Steve Roach has had an enormous impact on new music across the world. He is one of the foremost creators of visionary space music, which has been called space-creating music in that it calms and creates space in the modern world.
The smoothness of sound belies its layered complexity. Roach's music is carefully conceived and painstakingly produced on both analog and digital synthesizers. Roach uses an alchemy of modern technology to tap into our primordial inner selves. A good example of this is Empetus, a jet-propelled ride with driving, rapid-fire rhythms and soaring themes that carry you up, whirl you around for a moment, then take you up again.
Steve Roach is self-taught and self-styled, an intuitive musician. He is a weaver of sonic textures that rise and fall, amorphous structures floating just beneath our consciousness. The chords are seductive and meditative, yet profound, engaging the intellect as well as the emotion.
05. Twilight Heat
08. Distance is Near
09. The Memory