Steve Roach | Back to Life (2-Cd)

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Electronic: Ambient Electronic: Soundscapes Moods: Type: Experimental
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Back to Life (2-Cd)

by Steve Roach

Back To Life is a masterful expression drawing from the deep end of Roach's mythic imagination: an enveloping experience of vast beauty & mystery. These harmonically rich, multi-layered pieces breathe with an elemental ebb and flow containing an energy fr
Genre: Electronic: Ambient
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Where Rasa Lives
14:54 album only
2. Cloud Cover
9:58 album only
3. Tranquility Base
16:41 album only
4. The Wonder of It All
6:59 album only
5. Touchstones
4:07 album only
6. Everything Inside
9:39 album only
7. Back to Life
11:17 album only
8. Mist of Perception
69:57 album only


Album Notes
Back to Life is a masterful expression drawing from the realm of Steve Roach's mythic imagination: an enveloping experience of vast beauty and mystery. These harmonically rich, multi-layered pieces breathe with an elemental ebb and flow; with the 2-CD Back to Life, Steve achieves a new pinnacle within the ambient line of his oeuvre.
The Steve Roach discography - rather than comprising clearly delineated chronological chapters - can instead be divided into various conceptual strands running and developing both in sync and in contrast with each other. Within these branches, there have always been milestones, and Back to Life is one of them.

This is a new pinnacle in Steve's lineage of long-form compositions; the double cd lifts his style to all but symphonic dimensions. Timbral and harmonic motifs are developed and reworked over the course of expansive, continually shifting scores divided into distinct, yet interrelated movements. In the process, all facets of Steve's artistic personality are highlighted. While the first disc is dedicated to somewhat more concise tracks (between the four- and quarter-of-an-hour-mark), the 70-minute Disc 2, "Mist of Perception,“ is an ambitious sonic exploration into an epic, disc-spanning journey.

The vitality on display within Back to Life owes a lot to Steve's fresh approach towards production, sound and creative inspiration, the result of a period of personal changes and the yearning to forge deeper into his evolving sound. After "hitting the reset button on the foundation of my life beyond music," Steve returned to the studio with a vibrant energy and focus. Even the most spiritual and mysterious creations are marked by sensations of weightlessness and an airy, shimmering translucent tonal palette. Although foremost a soundscape-oriented work, rhythmic pulses are frequently embedded deep into the structure of the surrounding atmospheres. Serene yet suspended drifts and propulsive dynamics merge into a single texture. Back to Life is a soundworld where rhythm and textures become one; the potential for complex interrelations has significantly increased.

Back to Life isn't merely another piece of the intriguingly proliferating puzzle that is Steve's discography. It marks a new phase for Steve - and serves as proof that into his fourth decade as a recording artist, he still creates deep, involving works that are at home with benchmarks such as Magnificent Void, Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces, Dynamic Stillness, and Sigh of Ages.

Back to Life speaks directly to the multi-nuanced, non-verbal portion of our perception, drawing nourishment from the essence of nature, the timeless expressions of the human experience in art and music, the sharing of life’s beauty in wordless wonder-filled reflections and reveries.

A review from Hypnagogue:
Back to Life finds Roach returning to broader expanses, the “symphonic ambient” of Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces and Dynamic Stillness. Although Roach slides a little rhythm into the track “Tranquility Base” on the first disc, Back to Life largely keeps to the formula of long, airy, criss-crossing pads matched in places with deep, low-end engine-rumbles. Roach modulates the density and intensity nicely, really building it up toward the end of the title track, the last on disc one, until the sounds are bold and thick and at their enveloping, calming best. Disc two is a single long-form piece, “The Mist of Perception.” Roach gives this hour over to very quiet flows, again lacing it with that airiness that speaks of vastness. A beautiful, meditation-ready piece of work that stretches time as it moves through zones of light and light shadow. This easily stands with Roach’s best soft long-form works.



to write a review

Richard Gurtler

A milestone!!! A truly magnificent and immersing lifelong sonic experience!!!
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)