Fever Dreams
by Rik Maclean, Ping Things
May 2004

Steve Roach is an artist who creates an environment for his listeners, self-contained worlds that exist entirely within the confines of his music. With his latest, FEVER DREAMS, Roach has made a disc filled with beautiful and mystical places, a hyper reality akin to the most intense of reveries. A collection of four long-form pieces, FEVER DREAMS brings to mind the desert that has inspired so much of Roach's work, filled with a ritual and mysticism that speaks to our souls.

"Wicked Dream" opens the album with shakers and light percussion conjuring images of vast spaces, wide open terrains made bright in the hot sun of high noon. Deep bass drones pass through the soundscape like clouds moving across a clear blue sky made hazy by desert heat. Additional textures drift pass, landmarks along the horizon. A sense of something mysterious and otherworldy.

In contrast "Fever Pulse" brings to mind a night time ritual, surging forward with rolling percussion and drifting pads flying by like spirits awakened by unheard voices. Metallic tones rise and fall in irregular intervals interspersed with spiralling sounds that recall the twinkling of stars. A sense of ceremony, of shared communal magic. You can't help but feel the pulse in this piece.

Track three, "Tantra Mantra" starts subtly with fluid tones and minimal beats, slowly gaining in voice, climbing in strength. Hand percussion gives way to deeper, more bass driven drumming, hypnotizing, primal. Subtle variation drifts through it's nearly thirty-minute length, enrapturing the listener in a swirling spiral. Beautiful.

"Moved Beyond" closes the disc with powerful percussion, hypnotic pads ascending and descending. The sounds of wind through chasms, canyons, the moon passing through the night sky marking the passing of midnight and beyond. And slowly, like the dreams of the disc's title, the intensity lessens until all that's left is a vivid memory of a journey to strange lands.

FEVER DREAMS is quite simply an astounding piece of music, an excursion to beautiful soundworlds, to exciting new vistas. Steve Roach is an artist who creates an environment for his listeners, and with this release he has made one of his most beguiling and enticing environments yet. Highly recommended.

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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