Jazz-tinged electronica for a tropical chill room
by David Rush, amazon.com
April 25, 2004

If rave parties were all the rage in say, northern Brazil (and maybe they are for all I know), this would be the perfect chill-room music for such an event. Though Steve Roach has utilized e-bows and other assorted guitars on several recordings in the past few years, FEVER DREAMS signifies a quantum leap in his skills with these instruments. Roach (along with Patrick O'Hearn) uses the bass guitar here more as a percussion instrument, at times generating gentle glitch and synth-based rhythms on "Tantra Mantra" and almost funk-like arpeggios that drive the opening piece, "Wicked Dream".

The highlight of the disc is "Fever Pulse", where the rapid-fire spurts of the bass from Will Merkle merges beautifully with Roach's broad-stroke swirls of synthetic (yet organic) color. The effect is soothing and unprovocative yet keeps you attentive on a subliminal level. And as the final track, "Moved Beyond" fades out into what sounds like an infinite distance, we're left thinking how the next two installments in this FEVER DREAMS trilogy will unfold.

This is a new approach to a somewhat jazzy style of electronic music with not too many precedents. Bill Laswell comes to mind, a musician who helped pioneer the idea of using the bass guitar in an electronic music context. A Laswell/Roach collaboration now seems to be in order (let's hope!).

Fever Dreams

CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $13.00 
Fever Dreams
Steve Roach
2004 Projekt PRO154 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, amazon.com, amazon.com, Ambient Musings, Ambient Review, Ambient Visions, Ambient Visions, CD Services (UK), Electroambient Space, Electronic Shadows, Hypnagogue, Morpheus Music, Ping Things, Sonic Curiosity, Tokafi, Tokafi, Valley Scene (San Fernando Valley, California), Wind and Wire

Within the opening moments of FEVER DREAMS' first track, "Wicked Dream" featuring Patrick O'Hearn on bass, it is clear that a new chapter is opening on Steve Roach's long and winding pursuit of potent soundworlds far off the traveled path. The music's foundation is built upon long mid-tempo hybrid grooves with strong bass elements created from a combination of acoustic and electronic means. Steve Roach's atmospheric and loop-spun melodic guitar textures rise and fall, intermix with his synth and computer alchemy to create an aura of complex emotional import. The overall feeling of FEVER DREAMS is one shrouded in an exotic amber-colored light filtering through an overgrown mental landscape of last night's lingering FEVER DREAMS; the sensual atmosphere is especially present on the 30 minute track "Tantra Mantra" featuring percussionist Byron Metcalf. This release of floating, hypnotic groove meditations sets the course on a new direction presented over the three interconnected "Fever releases" planned throughout 2004.
1. Wicked DreamMP318:41 
2. Fever PulseMP310:34 
3. Tantra MantraMP329:36 
4. Moved BeyondMP314:30 

With Patrick O'Hearn (bass), Byron Metcalf (percussion).

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