by John Shanahan, Hypnagogue
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.