Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — Painting in the Dark
(Timeroom Editions TM40, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-03-08

Painting in the Dark Cover art

Each of Roach’s floating ambient releses seems to fall into one of several categories, one of which is the breathing organic elemental pieces that evolve slowly and push forward, unmasking textures, subtle variations, deeper drifts of pure color and tonal beauty, and slowly cascading washes, ever changing and generally amorphous. While Painting in the Dark does contain six titles, these are all part of a continuous dreamlike unfolding where the sound never stops, it just subtly shifts gears along an infinite passage that could easily play in a loop that goes on forever. At times a single tone or chord begins to emerge from a massive sea of formless textural density, only to be pulled back and swept over in an ever-changing volume of mysterious sounds. These subtle events provide a body of variation that maintain the overall forward motion throughout the six pieces, sometimes in swelling cycles of surpising regularity, and other times randomly, as ideas drift through a seemingly endless void. Throughout, all sonic changes tend to be slow moving subleties that merge together, with no sharp edges or any percussive elements to speak of. Roach’s masterful use of sonic layering and subtle dynamics makes every moment along the entire path a new revelation, dispensing with a previous idea and shining a light on what’s coming up next. In many ways, this bears styistic simlarities to his earlier collaborative album The Ambient Expanse, where subtle melodies and textures intertwine to complete a truly cosmic vision.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

King Crimson - Vrooom – This is Fripp's next go around with a name too familiar for an explanation, and to be honest I was expecting little from this group. Usually 70s dinosaur reunions are enough to make one run screaming...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues