by Mark Burbey, Alternative Press
Masterful work of sublime ambience excavates memories of ancient earth.
The earth of a thousand centuries ago was a plateau upon which primitive man followed his instinct to survive. Only the fossilized remains bear witness to man's fitful evolution from foraging primate to thinking beast. With last year's unique, single-disc limited edition of EARLY MAN, sandwiched between two weighty slabs of slate, Steve Roach took the fossil record and digitized it, creating an aural experience that is his most transporting to date. Listening to EARLY MAN, now expanded to two discs, is like putting your ear to the wall of a prehistoric cave. Roach peels away layers of sound as an archeologist peels away layers of history. He's excavated and sifted and removed certain frequencies, compelling the listener to press his ear ever tighter against the stone, until finally physics surrender to the realm of dreams and memory and the listener passes through. Floating layers of synth marked by intermittent passages of percussion reveal a sonic resonance rife with ancient wonders and primordial mysteries. By the second track of the first disc, full immersion replaces passive listening and one is allowed to luxuriate in a truly sublime exploration.