This Hearts of Space release from Steve Roach explores ambient soundscapes and combines them with rhythmic backing.
Roach’s ambient music is often built with metallic, otherworldly sounds that push his music into dark ambient territory. He uses a variety of analog and digital instruments to create long droning sounds, and then envelopes them in ambient reverberation. The result is washes of sound that are not easily identifiable, which give the effect of moving through alien spaces.
This CD is a good example of Roach’s mature ambient sound. He adds rhythmic interest using sequenced synthesizers, but also adds processed acoustic percussion. Roach’s work dances on the edge of what most people would consider music. Sometimes it sounds like sound design from a science fiction move, but then percussion enters and gives the music some grounding.
The theme of this cd is refraction, the idea that a wave of light can pass into various forms, and change into a radiant display. The combination of tribal percussion, sequences, and Roach’s synth washes make this an interesting example of dark ambient music.
Light Fantastic has absolutely fantastic packaging. It’s illustrated with imagery realized on the computer with KPT Fraxflame, and the illustrations capture the idea of light being bent and changed as it travels through space.
This is one of Roach’s stronger CDs, though listeners of lighter new age music, or people wanting melodies and tunes in their music will find them lacking. Instead, Roach explores new territory while maintaining his unique sound.