2-CD Collectors Edition
2008 Projekt PRO218 (CD)
Reviewed by e/i magazine, MusicTAP, Musique Machine, Sonic Curiosity
The rights to Steve's 1986 release Empetus reverted back to him, and this along with some recently discovered "lost pieces" inspired a 2-CD Collectors Edition. The second disc, "The Early Years", features two amazing long-form sequencer pieces circa 1982. The first piece, "Harmonia Mundi" was recorded live in the L.A.-based Timeroom with Swiss-born electronic musician Thomas Ronkin. At 45 minutes, this is one of the more possessed and intense analog sequencer trance pieces you're likely to hear. "Release" is a 24-minute solo statement of emotion and energy connected to the early years of Steve's evolution in sound, harkening to NOW and TRAVELER. By the time Empetus was released, the approach of these longer German School styles were morphing into a new sound heard on Empetus and beyond.
"Empetus is full blown sequencer-based music illustrating a further evolution in the visceral side of Roach's music. Nine precise pieces that still sound fresh today. A favorite of sequencer music lovers. Released in 1986, this recording of intricately-woven sequencer lines and buzzing synthesizers established Roach as the American answer to the pioneering European electronic masters of the '70s (Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream). Alternately thrilling and serene (sometimes within the space of the same track), EMPETUS' waves of energy rest upon labyrinthine patterns of interlocking notes and wildly cascading tonal clusters. Roach varies the moods from piece to piece as well: the bright, piercing electronics of ''Seeking'' contrast vividly with the starker, sweeping veils of sequenced notes and arcing waves of ''Empowerment'' or the turbo-charged synths that rev through ''Conquest''. It's all riveting, exciting stuff, and although Roach largely abandoned the style as he moved forward, EMPETUS remains an important, if largely unsung, statement documenting the course of modern American electronic music." -- Darren Bergstein, Muze
"On EMPETUS, Roach has created a masterpiece, done purely on synths and sequencers... a rhythmic / melodic tour-de-force of solid, totally compulsive synth music." -- Andy Garibaldi, Lotus, England
"Harmonia Mundi" with Thomas Ronkin