by David J Opdyke, AmbiEntrance
Steve Roach has gotten together with Vir Unis to combine their sounds into a murky primordial stew which is stirred by rhythmic beats and grooves. BODY ELECTRIC is rooted in a mythic past via Prehispanic and shamanic percussion, yet extends into tomorrow via digital electronics and fractal groove creations. Despite its links to forgotten history and unknowable futures, the whole project also holds itself to a very human level; the core concept and track titles tend to be unusually biologically-focused.
Or, as liner notes say "From the gene pool of possibilities, an evolutionary mandala emits the music of chance as the ecstatic electric body emerges in an awakened state of eternal becoming."
A soft stratospheric roar fades in from silence, and busy little beats announce the new arrival; Born of Fire is an introduction to things to come. An enveloping electric rhythm emerges to the forefront, along with ney flute and fluid shimmers, all of which recede, growing lighter and thinner. Lofty string-like strata phases into Pure Expansion (10:16), where panning cymbals begin to draw us into a billowing world of wonder. In an immersive dreamwalk, hazy cumulus swells and ritualistic, mid-tempo beats are eventually visited upon by ghostly female voice fragments. Everything smooths out to a further blur, which becomes the unsettled quiet of Mind Link, where a rhythmic pulse builds and primitive adornments shuffle and pitter by. A surging electronic groove powers boldly through the shifting sands of this lush, active soundworld, where you hear the crickets as twilight sets upon the music before its transition into...
the Gene Pool, where boiling bubbles and eerie synth-strands give way to subtly growing percussion. The atmosphere here is warm, though pensive and a bit spooky. Things begin to speed up toward the track's end, a whispy freeform percolation which flows into a Synaptic Gap (1:57), where it collects, rises and slowly swelters, then fades to make way for the Homunculus Within, which accounts for the odd hoots emanating from this steamily organic zone. Deeper grumbles phase through the oddly glistening area with a machine-like accompaniment, everything seems to break free, thinning and spreading, taking off, in other words, Bloodstreaming into a smooth flow which seems to travel a circuitous course of shimmers and pulses, which rise and seamlessly become...
the shining, airy Solar Tribe which consists of mellow drifts and vocal clouds with slight percussive textures. Via a fade-in of insistent cymbals and beats, the piece segues into perkier airwaves of The New Dream, which swells and evolves to picks up a thrumming bassline which drives through criss-crossing waves of ethereal ebb and flow, taking all to the final destination, the Cave of the Heart, a beaty, yet mellow dream-like haze which grows quieter and quieter in a luxuriously slooow fade.
Richly produced, BODY ELECTRIC marks a further evolution for Steve Roach's neo-primitive atmospheres; by stirring Vir Unis's fractal contributions into the mix, a fresh yet familiar sound is born. It's the perfect soundtrack for your own cyber-shamanistic activities. The AmbiEntrance rates it at 8.5 for ancient/futurism, delicious subtleties and the overall tribal beckoning that calls me in to join the tribe.