by Gary Andrews, Ambient Visions
Coming hot on the heels of Steve's recent collaboration SPIRIT DOME with Belgian musician Vidna Obmana, FEVER DREAMS is the first installment of three future releases coming in the future in the Fever vein.
Whereas "Spirit Dome" was a deep and dark spontaneous creation. "Fever Dreams" has a more mid-tempo rhythmic almost sensuous vibe to its formation and features the talents of Patrick O'Hearn, Byron Metcalf who has worked with Steve before on albums such as THE SERPENT'S LAIR and Byron's own neo-shamanic release WACHUMA'S WAVE. Will Merkle, fellow sound traveler also features on bass on one track.
From the opening moments of "Wicked Dream" one hears familiar ambient percussive textures such as ancient rattles and scrapping stones that represent the earthy and organic feel that Steve is putting into his music to add differing sounds that combine with the more electronic atmospheric sound creation. Then a new sound is heard in the form of a dramatic bass line provided by Patrick O'Hearn that manages to shift the familiar Roach sound into a new focus of musical creation. The effect is one of pure dreamlike rhythmic meditation tinged with a sensual side.
"Fever Pulse" combines the energy of a rapid undulating sequence laid back in the mix with the ebbing flow of synthesizer chords and the use of the bass guitar of Will Merkle that punctuates the sound field in a relaxed way that merges with the composition very well.
The longest track on the album, at just under half an hour, is "Tantra Mantra". A definite Far Eastern flavor comes through from the opening chords helped defined by an Indonesian gamelan sounding sequence that entices the listener into the outer limits of this track, enticing, exotic and above all hypnotic in context.
"Moved Beyond" is slightly more electronic sounding, at least in the beginning of the piece. The addition of Byron's frame drum adds yet another point of contact with the organic feel that plays such an important role in the creation of an album in the tribal-ambient field that Steve and others have helped to define over the last few years.
All in all this is yet another defining album that has come out of Steve's Timeroom studio. Much magic has come from this studio over the years, and judging by this new release much more magic will be arriving in the future.