Some people do not listen to Electronic Music, they merely think about it. Imagining what kinds of gear is being used and how it is all inter-connected into systems seems of greater interest to these types than negotiating the sonic depths and heavenly heights that good, spacey EM offers. Fans of synthesist Steve Roach have come to know the benefits of giving his work their attention. Leading us into a soft cosmos we find that, within any space that is given Roach's musical presence, the normal physics of mass and gravity do not apply. The remarkable studio exploration he made during the 24 October 2020 livestream event will provide some focus for our lately wandering minds, as it tries to ease the tension between what is in the world and what is in us. Into the Majestic (73'59") presents the recording of this virtual happening, and is a welcome relief to sensibilities deadened by a year of scant encounters with concert music. Retreating into a world that he can control Roach opens with an expression of quiet hopefulness. Spectral synth strings overlap at variable distances. Freezing action at the height of its drama the forward march of echoing sequencer patterns transform the three dimensions into sound. The lines of ordered notes, ducking in and out of the shadows cast by soundfield textures, provide an aural energy for the language of Roach's ideas. In variations of tone and chroma he explores the secret life of timbres - forming sounds that seem startled to find themselves conjoined. Into the Majestic realizes a zone that can be readily felt, but never physically touched. Attuned to dreams, spirits, starlight and moonbeams as much as it is technology, in the spare immediacy of the closing moments Into the Majestic approaches a resolution - ever churning in quiet reverie. This past year has found many of us navigating an unpredictable journey - and taking our blessings where we may find them. As creative energy moves from the artist's interior to the audience, this album simulates the energizing in-person interaction of the concert setting - and adds another advancement to the flow of sensation and reflection that constitutes Steve Roach's life in music.
Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END - 28 March 2021