by Andy Garibaldi, CD Services (UK)
Recorded in one session, this is as haunting an album as either musician has ever laid on us to date. Whether the flowing, slowly encroaching electronic darkside or the lurching heartbeat-drum driven depths and almost unnerving electronic fogbanks, the music charts a seriously dark course for the first twenty minutes or so, the cavernous cosmic sound flowing, resonating and vibrating, and it's only around this point that a synth layer is introduced which provides a much-needed sense of light among the surrounding gloom, giving the music an even greater sense of purpose as the muffled drums beat in the background and synths flows and effects swirl around the mix. This then leads directly into this huge-sounding ocean of synths and electronics, again cavernous, multi-layered and cosmic, but with mighty soundscaping, an almost early seventies Tangerine Dream 'Zeit' feel to much of it and utterly riveting atmospheric music. As this huge musical iceberg rumbles on, it is joined by all manner of synth and electronic layers, much of them quite bleak but all of them full-sounding, sometimes smooth and full of finesse, but mostly seriously dark and fearful of the unknown. It's all pretty unnerving stuff, darkwave ambience and then some, the sort of music that sorts out the cosmic men from the cosmic boys -- listen and be afraid!
Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana
2004 Projekt PRO152 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, Ambient Musings, Ambient Visions, CD Services (UK), Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Synth Music Direct, Wind and Wire, www.Metal-Only.com
Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana's 2002 CD INNERZONE served as the doorway to the surreal environment explored on SPIRIT DOME. Recorded in one continuous 74-minute session, this is a dark sanctuary of pure texture and beautiful, if not at times foreboding, dissonance pulled along with pulsing beats, subtle loops and dense soundworlds. The single piece, "Spirit Dome," captures a chilling gothic ambience that offers the exploration of remote psychological states of awareness. This is achieved by way of extensive live processing of instruments including fujara (overtone flute), guitar, and the seemingly bottomless wellspring of electro-acoustic sounds found only in the duo's soundscapes.
SPIRIT DOME was created live on the spot in room 314, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 24th 2002, around 1 AM. Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana were in town preparing for their performance at the 2002 Gathering / Projekt Festival. With only a brief window of time in which to work together before returning to their homes on opposite sides of the Atlantic, their reaction to the claustrophobic urban environment reveals a new dimension to their sound.
When listening to the recording unfold, one has to keep remembering that this unscripted spontaneous creation was a live session recorded directly to the stereo master, just as you will hear. No post-production edits or overdubs were performed. Past discs from the duo include 1995's WELL OF SOULS, 1997's CAVERN OF SIRENS and 2002's INNERZONE; add their live concerts together in Europe and the U.S. and we are brought to the enveloping world of SPIRIT DOME.
Tracks flow together as a continuous performance, but are indexed for convenience.