Review by richardgurtler Dec 29, 2011
Steve Roach "Back To Life" 2xCD
Big comeback of Steve Roach? But did he ever leave? No, definitely not a comeback, but certainly a big one!!! No question about this, because "Back To Life" double CD presents The Master at the very top of his unmeasurable creativity and invention. Together with "Groove Immersion" it comprises "Steve Roach 2012 Box Set", so a very hot item. Both these titles are sold also separately, but missing this box set in my own collection would be a big mistake. "Where Rasa Lives" fires the show with gracefully floating ambience clocking to 15-minute mark, but after 9 minutes "hidden" crystalline grooves enter the stage. On the first "look" it sounds quite minimal, but careful listening explores all kinds of sounds and atmospheres, all interacting precisely, carefully balanced and graciously moving just like the droplets on the album's cover image (absolutely gorgeous work by Kristina Kotarski, the hellfirediva!!!). "Where Rasa Lives" is one of the best and most tranquil pieces of music Steve ever did (and he did a whole bunch of them!), a pure symphony for my ears!!! "Cloud Cover" lives and breathes, again packed with amazing sounds and noises, Steve's soundsculpting shifts this composition into another level, a level solely occupied by him now! It's heavy thunderous piece that smoothly transfers after 6 minutes into serenely drifting washes peppered by some highly attractive noisier ingredients. The title of the next track speaks for itself, "Tranquility Base". Gently pulsing slow-mo trancey/tribal grooves join the show for another truly exciting, one of its kind, sonic pleasure. It's ultra deeply absorbing 16-minute bliss!!! "The Wonder Of It All" moves back to louder plateau with more monstrous, spiraling dronescapes, powerful and grandeur, another top-notch adventure!!! The next composition, "Touchstones", strikes with its intesity and drama. And it keeps on rolling, because "Everything Inside" is breathtaking odyssey into the deep cave to explore its stunningly spectacular sceneries. Steve at his most droning!!! And the title track is yet to come... The closing part of disc 1, "Back To Life" keeps on the route, less massive, but still quite symphonic and later uplifted with fragile groovy flavours. Absolutely grandiose finale of the first half!!! Disc 2 features 70-minute long form composition breathing with many of the finest spices from the first disc and creating continuous flow of deeply absorbing ambience drifting through richly colored organic passages and movements, again showcasing refined artistry of its virtuoso. The future is now!!! "Back To Life" 2xCD is without any doubt one of the best and most groundbreaking recordings of 2011 (or 2012?). No matter, I think it's just a question of time before "Back To Life" will become another milestone not only in Steve's phenomenal career, but also in the ambient genre as a whole. Yes, a truly genius, all-inclusive, performance by this ambient giant, and for me, a truly magnificent and immersing lifelong sonic experience!!! Life is so beautiful!!!
Richard Gürtler (Dec 29, 2011, Bratislava, Slovakia) Discogs