The Dreamer Descends
by Glenn Hammett, The Tracking Angle
This limited edition (1000 copies) three inch CD is worth the price of admission for its packaging alone. Housed in an extra-heavy sealed-plastic jacket, you'll find a textured-paper folded envelope. Take that out and open it and there's a cute, laminated cardboard sleeve holding the disc. On both the envelope and sleeve are beautiful pictures of a sunset, taken through the branches of trees in all their naked, leafless splendor. Great package. It's too bad all CDs aren't manufactured with such attention to detail. Now that we're denied those nice 12" by 24" gatefold covers, it's the least they could do.
Steve Roach should probably resort to putting out his own magazine. Lord knows, reviews of his music alone would be enough to fill it. Be that as it may, I've yet to be disappointed listening to his CDs. Roach's compositions are always fresh, fun to listen to and the recordings are always top notch. So what more could a guy ask for? Let's see, how about that new Audio Research reference gear or...
This disc is as beautiful to listen to as it is to behold. Roach colors the soundstage with spectacular, lush washes of electronics. A native American flute seductively beckons with it's haunting cry, and tribal drums begin to beat slowly. Shakers and rattles rain their sound down into the mix like so much sonic grit. Although the disc is divided into two parts, it's presented as one long composition. Part two's "Real West" is a sonic extension of the first, yet even more surreal. Roach's keyboard notes trail off into oblivion and in the distance, chanting can be heard. At disc's end, a droning synth obscures all other sounds, then that too fades away, ever so slowly.
This description oversimplifies Roach's music. Of course, it is only one twenty minute piece, but here it's the evocative atmosphere that the artist projects which is so amazing. Fact is, this music is his most exquisitely produced yet. THE DREAMER DESCENDS is pure Americana. Not the America of concrete, billboards and smog, but the pure, untarnished land the Native Indians worked so hard to preserve. Roach's desert recording studio most certainly provides him, and the artists he records, with a deep, introspective quiet which makes it's way into the music.
While other Roach releases have been inspiring, this is the only one that for me, wrought tears. It's that damned good.
Outstanding sound from Timeroom recordings are a given. We've come to expect finely nuanced detail, dynamics, huge soundstage, and layer after layer of image depth. THE DREAMER DESCENDS provides them all in three-dimensional glory.