A lot of synthesists have been unashamedly influenced by the pioneers of the electronic music genre, and I do not need to mention who these pioneers are (think Germany and you are there). Steve Roach in the mid eighties was no exception, and while we think mainly of Steve's music being predominantly in the ambient / ethnic style, his music did touch on the Teutonic sequencer style that is much revered and loved by many. As far as I know, this is the third incarnation of STORMWARNING, this version containing a live recording from Steve's first German tour.
Recorded live in 1985, the first track entitled "Day One" starts off in a suitable scene-setting fashion, gentle washes of sound that herald the approaching sonic onslaught. When this "storm" gets into it's stride, the sequencer run seems to take on a life of its own, complex patterns emerging. At around the ten-minute mark, heady percussion work is inserted into this ever evolving composition, all this while Steve getting his synths to scream their way over the top. It soon becomes apparent that something has to give. The drum sounds fade away, to be replaced by rhythm and sequence only, a kind of brief respite. Before long, the sequence steps up its momentum once again, before the track starts its downward spiral to its finish. "Day Two" again features the now-obligatory atmospheric intro, before the mighty sequencer fury starts its raid on the auditory senses, teasing you with shifting and changing patterns of sound. Again Steve pulls out all the stops by periodically hammering out of his synths the most awe-inspiring leadlines imaginable. One can imagine Steve enjoying playing this; I know I would!
Although naturally similar to "Day One", the second day seems to be a little more cohesive in structure, although the two pieces complement each other well. As stated earlier, people who think they know Steve's music from his more recent ambient albums may well be surprised by this music, such is the contrast of styles.
Included on this new release is "Day Three". Approximately five years separates the first two pieces from this track. Recorded in 1991 in Paderborn, Germany, this is almost identical to what I remember Steve played at the KLEM show the same year. This piece has its origins in the track "Towards the Dream" from Steve's magnificent album DREAMTIME RETURN, again featuring some wonderful sequencer work, but far removed from the frenzy of days one and two.
This is a more hypnotic piece, with a deep bass sequence and more restrained dynamics. Steve states on the sleeve notes that this track was impossible to include without the acknowledgement of Klaus Schulze and the influence his music has had on this phase of his career. Certainly the Teutonic influences are there, but this has Steve's signature style all over it, a worthy addition to the album. Thanks to Ron Boots (Groove Unlimited) for the suggestion to include it.
This album is sure to please the most hardened sequencer freak, of which I am told there are thousands. Yet another style from Steve.