Destination Beyond
by John Shanahan, Hypnagogue
October, 2009

I've been particularly enjoying Steve Roach's focus over his last few releases. Since his rediscovery of analog modular synths back on POSSIBLE PLANET, he's been steadily working toward the seamless blending of the distinct geometrical pulses from those older rigs and airy, cloud-motion drifts. Since ARC OF PASSION he's been in full-on refining mode, and the sound has become more self-sure and cohesive through LANDMASS and now into this latest CD.

The single long-form piece here clearly culls some sound design from the elegantly immersive DYNAMIC STILLNESS, with Roach weaving sequencer lines over those spacious harmonic chord structures. The journey this time begins in quiet for a few minutes before Roach begins to slowly percolate the surface of the sound. Beat and non-beat trade predominance across this 73-minute voyage, the beats coercing a bit of head-bobbing and foot-tapping from the listener, and the non-beats just allowing one to focus on sound and breathing.

Like all of his one-track long-form works, DESTINATION BEYOND takes its end as a new beginning, and this CD will loop absolutely effortlessly. In its scope and tone, DESTINATION BEYOND beautifully bridges the breadth of Roach's career. The sequencer work carries echoes of his high-energy early releases and his love of hands-on sound creation, while the breathier, more meditative spaces are the signature of Roach's adeptness at taking us quietly inside ourselves. There is a fair amount of welcome familiarity here as Roach digs deep into his libraries, and yet it is also wonderfully fresh and eminently listenable. DESTINATION BEYOND is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

Destination Beyond

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $13.00 
Destination Beyond
Steve Roach
2009 Projekt PRO235 (CD)
Reviewed by Brainwashed, Electroambient Space, Hypnagogue, MusicTAP, Signal to Noise, Sonic Immersion

Blending the two core aspects of his work, Steve ramps up for the fall of 2009 with the stunningly expansive DESTINATION BEYOND. This all-new release combines immersive atmospheric harmonic zones (like those recently experienced on DYNAMIC STILLNESS) into the setting of spiraling patterns and hypnotic rhythms (similar to those found on ARC OF PASSION). Perfectly blending these two sonic qualities over the course of the continuous 71-minute piece, the flowing soundscapes on DESTINATION BEYOND propel the mood to a mesmerizing state which is unique from any of Steve's pure rhythmless immersive work while achieving a similar sensation that works perfectly in repeat playback mode.

DESTINATION BEYOND pushes electronic music to its highest level, living and breathing in the immediacy in which it was created. The album flows along an organic continuum. Clocked, synced and performed in unison within Steve's desert studio, it showcases his mastery of a life-long devotion to hands-on performance. Utilizing real analog synthesizers with knobs and sliders, a mixing console and real-time processing as an additional instrument results in soundscapes infused with a pure natural flow. It is an artisan approach to sound that is quite rare in today's cut and paste approach to electronic music.

Within an impressive body of work that spans nearly 30 years, certain stylistic forms evolve and reappear as significant signposts, as touchstones for both the listener and the artist. This release clearly draws from the heart and soul of Steve's sonic vision.

DESTINATION BEYOND is infused with breaths of life and forward momentum which draws the listener into a serene sense of physical and mental travel. The sound ebbs and flows in constant movement; the meditation of emotion in the music is a yearning for what is over the next rise. As Steve explains in the liner notes, "When the DESTINATION BEYOND calls the heart must go... The magnetic pull and drive towards the point on the horizon, towards the DESTINATION BEYOND. Never reaching this point -- but always seeing it just ahead -- remains a constant theme and impetus in my life."

1. Destination BeyondMP371:41 

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