Ambient music has been around now for a long, long time. Once championed by Tangerine Dream, a successful German ambient band from the ‘70s, the genre has consistently expanded to become many things for many people. From therapeutic, musically backed waterfalls and ocean splashes to the magnificent textures of Michael Hoenig (Departures From The Northern Wastelands - 1977), to the many-faceted soundscapes of Steve Roach, and the distorted guitar ambience of Dirk Serries, ambient music is a powerful force in music.
Steve Roach is a well-noted ambient pioneer. Self-taught on the synthesizer, Roach released his first foray into electronic music with Now in 1982. Since, he has released more than 45 solo ambient albums, every one of them a different exploration of the instruments used to create them. In addition to the personal releases, Steve Roach has been a collaborative part of over 35 other albums. With over 80 albums in place since the early ‘80s, it’s easy to say that Steve Roach understands the ambient style perhaps better than other practitioner of the fairly exclusive genre.
His music approaches many themes. On Dust To Dust (1998), his collaboration with Roger King, the music hinges on unique western tonality. And yet, when Steve Roach wants to create and fully populate frightful and haunting worlds, it is an effortless project. Using minimalistic repetition to begin a “location,” Roach’s many solo albums become transit stations that draw the listener into a place that is not their own.
From strange, unforgivingly hot, machine-ruled industrial worlds to the cold reaches of alien landscapes, the music of Steve Roach is original and often challenging. There is always an unnerving hint of a dangerous and unexplored element in the background.
On October 11, Projekt Records will release Quiet Music: The Original 3-Hour Collection in a three-CD set that collects all three of the original single album recordings. Released between 1983 and 1986, each volume was designed to add ambient beauty in low tones to the quiet that already surrounded you.
Using synthesizers as a soothing flow of music, and mixing in nature sounds and traditional instruments like flute and electric piano, Quiet Music was something that provided many things to the listener.
And yet Quiet Music is likely to not be his only release in the waning months of 2011. Steve Roach is a tireless and prolific mind that doesn’t sit still. As well, 2012 will bring a slate of Steve Roach solo and collaborative works that will challenge and be of great importance and influence. The journeys afforded by his many albums are unique experiences never repeated nor forgotten. Like a drug that twists the wires of the mind, Steve Roach music can alter your "closed eyes" world.