Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Tales From The Ultra Tribe" CD by Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf« on: January 16, 2013, 11:11:51 AM »
Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf "Tales From The Ultra Tribe" CD
Exactly one year has passed since the phenomenal "Back To Life" 2CD by Steve Roach, which still deeply resonates with me. But now it's time to celebrate another groundbreaker!!! Yes, though this time The Master is joined by his fellow Arizonian shaman Byron Metcalf, a ceremonial and therapeutic guide, for their 6th collaborative project (some of them feature also Mark Seelig and Dashmesh Khalsa), but both artists have joined their forces also on other highly notable works such as both parts of "The Shaman's Heart", three parts of "Fever Dreams", "New Life Dreaming", "Live At SoundQuest Fest"... Profoundly magnificent "Back To Life" symphony is now shifted into a brand new level, a dimension emphasized by Byron's virtuoso performance on various drums, shakers, rattles, udu, clay pots... Steve utilizes various analog and digital synths including Eurorack analog modular, sequencers, drum machines, didge, ocarina and mega waterphone. Yes, their previous mostly tribal shamanistic infused harmony is now bridged with deeply mesmerizing cyber-trance adventures. What a fusion!!! "Setting Forth" fires the journey up with rather more groovier high-spirited hypnotics, with less primal impact, more hidden by cyber-tech bedding. With nearly 14 minutes the longest composition. Psychoactive hybrid of ancient and future, a sonic realm of pure splendor and power, but that's just the beginning!!! "A Noble Direction" kicks and both artists fully unfold their immeasurable wizardry. Vibrant tribal percussions with ultra monstrous beat are backed by flowing and ebbing immense and expressive wide-screen landscapes. And in about the middle of the track this tribal storm calms down and harmonious heartbeat of both shamans can be heard for 10 seconds, then this exciting journey again unwraps all its hyper-active rhythms. A truly mind-transporting experience presenting Steve & Byron at the very top of their creative and visionary capability, a Hall Of Fame cyber-organic sound sculpting!!! Quality pair of speakers or headphones are highly recommended for pure sonic bliss!!! "Midnight Migration" hauntingly blends lazy high-tech grooves with spiraling intense nocturnal soundscapes, later heavier tribals join and guide us deeper into primordial realms. Another brilliant tribal-groovy escapade!!! Illuminative shamanistic percussions lead "The Magma Clan" and remain in breathtakingly monstrous cave domains, perfectly displaying the new sonic terrains explored by these two sound curanderos. Tribal-trance expedition at its most organic, a true shamanistic powerhouse!!! "Road From Here" blasts with more minimal, but hyper kinetic cyber grooves and percussions, here and there joined by heavier tribal drumming. The last quarter slows down a bit and warmer panoramas pervade. "Fire Sky Portal" is surrounded by desert heat and involves array of cyber-tech embellishments, but also earthy infusions. Sparsely layered, but richly shimmering, with 4-plus minutes the shortest number. "Return Of The Dragon Bone Tribe" holds rather minimal signature from its predecessor, again more synthetic flavored than primal, capturing quite hallucinogenic mind-trip with its repetitive electro-organic pulses and breaths. Comforting expansive washes with gently distant grooves blanket the closing piece, "In The Safety Of Travel", along with occasional primordial rumbles appearing towards the end when the journey slowly fades away and reaches the point where all originated. Wow, this is absolutely jaw-dropping listening experience!!! And of course work like this requires appropriate cover artwork, this time Ralph Prata from Bloomingdale, NY, who creates amazing sculptural concrete carvings, has provided stunningly gorgeous images (layout by Sam Rosenthal), exquisitely interacting with Steve's & Byron's extraordinaire cyber-trance-shamanistic performances!!! The limits have been pushed once again, a milestone!!!
Richard Gürtler (Jan 16, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)