Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — Storm Surge: Steve Roach Live at NEARfest
(NEARfest Records NFR0008, 2006, CD)

Steve Roach — Immersion: One
(Projekt 181, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Storm Surge: Steve Roach Live at NEARfest Cover artImmersion: One Cover art

Steve Roach’s appearance at NEARfest 2005 was a landmark event. Any live performance by Roach is a rarity, but to be exposed to such a large audience — and one largely unfamiliar with his work—is truly a career highlight. Fortunately the good folks at NEARfest expertly recorded the entire performance and are making it available for purchase. Even though broken into ten tracks, the CD is really one contiguous musical journey (with one pause halfway through), albeit with myriad phases and thematic explorations. It eschews Roach’s more ambient side (as seen in his new “Immersion” release below) for a more rhythmic approach reminiscent of his earlier work. This was a wise decision for an audience more in tune with prog rock than Roach’s brand of spacey ambience. Aided by a computer-generated projection (sadly missing from the audio experience), Roach takes the audience through a mesmerizing vista of drones, rolling waves of synths, dijideroo harmonics, and blankets of ethereal white noise. At times, as on “Wings of Icarus,” Roach sets up tribal percussion for something more primal and heated. The performance peaks with the mesmerizing “NEARstorm” that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard from Roach. It may be that I’m more inclined toward his more traditional EM side, but I can’t imagine any Exposé readers not digging this. Perhaps in honor of the setting, Roach even flirts with Mellotron strings and e-bowed guitar and the results are simply delicious. Kudos to the NEARfest folks and to Steve Roach for a magical recording.

No doubt many who were in the audience that have looked into Roach’s immense catalog of past and current releases. One of these is the first in a new series of ambient recordings titled Immersion. Those hoping to find the same kind of percussive energy in the NF performance may be disappointed with this CD. Rather, this is another in Roach’s continuing explorations of ambient sounds, most recently seen in the Timeroom series. The scant liner notes reveal little, though the CD print tells the tale: “Created for continuous low level playback.” For 73 minutes, the listener will be immersed in a rolling and slowly flowing blanket of synth drones. Roach occasionally blends in harmonics and overtones that create eddies and currents within the larger stream, though this is essentially one vast and unbroken ambient stream, no doubt the perfect accompaniment for relaxing or therapeutic activity. Taken with the live NF disk, this pair of CDs will give the listener a complete picture of Steve Roach circa 2006.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

Latest news

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lo-Fi Chorus - Something in the Air – Lo-Fi Chorus is an indie band from Dallas, TX obviously influenced by Elvis Costello. Something in the Air is their second release and one they hope will bring their music to a wider audience. This CD...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues