Steve Roach starts off 2012 with the aptly titled "Back to Life." The title did give me some hope that musically things would evolve for Steve out of the primordial ooze of his what can now be considered "late period" (I guess) music. By "ooze" I mean the drifting, sort of formless masses of ambient clouds n' chords, the hovering e-bow guitars, the hushed echoes of tribal percussions, and in general a surrender to the ether. The problem with this album is that he achieved all that back in 2003 with "Mystic Chords," and to a great extent, the subsequent releases have for the most part been of a similar nature. The pieces on Disc One of this two-disc set in large part sound like they came right out of the "Mystic" sessions, augmented with other pieces like the lengthy "Tranquility Base" consisting of subtle tribal beats, e-bowed Suspended Memories/Suso Saiz style guitars, and drifting electronics, which he does so well and continues to do well. "Tranquility Base" would have fit perfectly into the "Fever Dreams" series. Disc 2 consists of one mammoth track called "Mist of Perception" and this is one of those quietly intense apocalyptic soundscapes that seem to describe some significant cosmic event. I thought this piece was really good and more interesting than the material on Disc One. So bottom line, this is another technically superb production from a master doing what he does best (I give it an "A" for production), but perhaps suffering from revisiting the past too much (gets a C- in the "heard it all before" department). Total score: B-. Nice release, but I think it's time for one of the great innovators to innovate once again.