Steve Roach the master of space and time-altering atmospheric soundworlds has created another spellbinding look into our primordial unconscious memory bank. The music is best described as primeval innerspace deep ambient. EARLY MAN brings into form an ancient landscape of bubbling pools and steamy marshlands, verdant arroyos and monolithic rock formations. Cave paintings and ancient memories come to life in a slow soul-dance of evolutionary magic. The accolades from press and listeners alike tell that EARLY MAN belongs to Roach's classic body of work which includes DREAMTIME RETURN, ORIGINS, THE MAGNIFICENT VOID and last year's quietly successful MIDNIGHT MOON.
On disc one, a day in the life of EARLY MAN moves through six different zones that conjure up ancient atmospheres of elemental soundworlds. Occasional distant and subdued primordial rhythms call one to the next place of dreaming. The sonic archeology continues with disc two moving deeper into the substrata of time and memory. Elements from disc one are decomposed and reformed along with new material to create a different perspective on another ancient day.
In Steve's words: "This soundtrack was created for my most distant ancestor. The image of one lone, wandering early man reoccurred throughout the creation of the music, long before the title. With my years of travelling in the dreamtime sound currents, this chapter of my work took on a unique sound and concept. I clearly wanted to create a sound that felt ancient, worn smooth by time. I wanted to keep a kind of subdued energy throughout, a sense of movement and discovery but tempered by the elements over the eons. One thing I think is noticeable is the careful attention to high-frequency sounds. So much of today's information and music calls for our attention with a full bandwidth of information. As I started excavating what would become EARLY MAN, the idea of removing certain frequencies in order to let the ear hear differently became central to the project. It really took on the feeling of an archeological dig as I sifted through various soundworlds to uncover the core of EARLY MAN."
||Reactions to EARLY MAN:
There's movement up ahead, a lone figure on the edge of the abyss, teetering on the brink of darkness. He is the First Soul, the Lonely Wanderer, the "Early Man", and digital aural guru Roach has provided his evolutionary soundtrack. Sounds that upon observation are situated in time like millennia-old fossils waiting for the unearthing. Roach has travelled down these prehistoric roads before, but never like this. This is his archetypal release, a staggering sonic snapshot that time forgot. Originally released as a special limited edition presented between two pieces of slate on Manifold Records EARLY MAN is now a two-disc mammoth. Disc one is an hour plus journey into quantum pulse and barren tones, as myriad noises chigger about and nestle within the speaker fabric, as scuttling rhythms assume life and eke out footprints in the prehistoric sediment, as immersive electro-tectonic shifts map out the topography newly emerging underfoot. The 71-minute disc two morphs the drones into whispering, quiescent, near-subtle beat patterns and random incidences, as Roach's daunting electronic palette yields a colorful bounty of ancestral dawns, preening skies, and vivid earthen architecture. EARLY MAN is, simply put, a stunner.
Darren Bergstein, Muze
As though breathing life into the fossilized skeletons of ancient man, echoes of flint against flint ignite smoldering images of life before civilization. Sprawling soundscapes create the ambience of a world where time was measured only by the respites from darkness. EARLY MAN puts your ear to the wall of the cave. The stone remembers and has tales to tell. Steve Roach has given voice to the stone, and a thousand centuries become as dust.
Mark Burbey, writer for Alternative Press
Simply sublime. Innovative, complex, deep, rich rhythms and grooves and darkness and drifts... When I put it on, the music made the hair on my arms stand up. It's been a long time since an ambient disc brought me to the front of my chair and kept me there staring at my speakers.
Keith Alan Shepard, Radio Decay: Streaming Ambient & Dark Ambient Music
"...An exploration of the sounds of the earth as these very ancient people might have heard them, perhaps before our modern consciousness separated us from nature. It is not just a "picture" of "early man", it invites the listener to be "early man".
Hannah M.G. Shapiro, Ambient Visions
EARLY MAN begins with a soundscape from the churning storm of consciousness lying beneath the thin veneer of personality. Grinding rocks, shifting tides, concealed drumming and dense clouds are the ingredients for Roach's primordial soup. To draw us along on his journey to within, Roach leads the listener to and from the prehistoric swamp of the mind with a steady and subtle rhythmic element. Contrasting his meticulously crafted soundworlds, Roach's travelling patterns seem improvisational and the result of experimentation rather than contemplation. It is this pulse, living within us all, that slides EARLY MAN away from the cerebral, towards the emotional and back again.
Chuck Van Zyl, Star's End WXPN-FM