Exploring ingenuities of form and mysterious pressures of feeling, Steve Roach and Michael Stearns each inhabit a distinctive zone of their own. Their joint effort Beyond Earth & Sky (71'20") is a release of discovery, for the musicians and their audience alike. A meditation on enchantment, it strives for timelessness, ascending to a rare spiritual intensity. The seven tracks focus their creativity under the regime of collaboration, and take us places we cannot get to with anyone else. From moonlit soft chords and floating synthesizer atmospheres, to dramatic tonal transitions and gradually darkening visions, the music skillfully twists and shifts - leaving listeners lost in the thoughts, memories and passions of two extraordinary talents. Sounds ebb, flow and glow as each tingling detail stimulates the mind. Vast in their proportions every musical phrase is shaped by the color of fantasy. Impressed by an enigmatic, swirling current of textures and tones - including those of the famed towering steel stringed instrument "The Beam" - we find Beyond Earth & Sky leveling itself, and waiting for the world to follow. The album is beautiful, full of commanding synth-borne harmonies, animating electro-ethno grooves, and the echo of ethereal rituals throughout. While Beyond Earth & Sky may seem not of this earth, after repeated listenings we hear that its beauty is completely of our world, and undeniably explicit. Whether meant as a travel soundtrack to accompany us to some distant planet, or within to the warmth of our own inner realm, as a work of human imagination the journey Roach and Stearns provide is retraceable - so long as we are open to the possibilities of their adventure.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 4 November 2021