Stream of Thought
by Sylvain Lupari, Guts Of Darkness
October, 2009

Fans of somber and wrapping atmosphere, unravel your ears because here is an opus which will transport you beyond the limits of simple ambient music. STREAM OF THOUGHT is an album of ionospheres tinted with circular movements and encircled by synthesized loops which spin with persistence. An opus gathering two great musicians who, investigating the curves of musical caverns and the vestiges of their heritages, spread out a music that allies tribal rhythms to chloroformed movements and hypnotic sequences, flavored by a wide range of synths and guitars. A music that comes out of ancestral memories, for the purest pleasure of ears fond of luxuriant atmospheres.

A long title divided into 19 parts, STREAM OF THOUGHT starts as an evening news TV show. Clear and fervent tinklings on a continuous sequential movement are trailed by a guitar with honeyed chords and enclosed by a synth with intrusive shadows. A moderate EMPETUS, but so crystallized, which borrows the circles of very Roachian's heavy reverberations, in part two. A second monstrous part, where the resonant hoops multiply in nervous loops on a soft synth filled with spectral waves. Oscillating waves which wave above a synthesized storm, stuffed with sound refractions to echoes duped by aggressive structures. These first two parts pave the way for a hybrid album where the rhythm is next to the atonal passivity in a dark and muffled atmosphere, loosening clannish atmospheres which bloom with sequences of shelled chords or the paces of tribal dances.

The tenth part distances itself with a more electronic approach. Knockings on drum skins draw a hypnotic structure surrounded with a charming synthesized veil. It is soft, relaxing and attracting with its synthesized streaks which modulate slowly a strange melody of an unknown descent. The electronic approach becomes more eclectic on the following parts, forming a curious sea disturbed by waves which collide in a random way. A magnificent Roachian passage appears on part 13, lasting around 7 minutes with a movement boiling with slowly neurotic sequences, girded by a synth of spectral lamentations. A beautiful moment which reminds one of Roach's first works.

The presence of synthesized streaks overhang these syncretic jolts, sustained by Wollo's ghostly howling guitar. Brief atmospheric parts follow which uncork waddled tempos and ambient passages, until the last part which ends with a nervous rhythmic approach and a magnificent guitar with drawling impetous and a sequential structure which laps in a tenderly frivolous atmosphere.

With STREAM OF THOUGHT, the duet of Roach and Wollo redefines ambient music. The so-called "abstract" music with an epic title straightens into an atmosphere of a delicious bipolarity where the hazy rhythms, clear and incisive, are molded admirably to ambient passages, tinted with synthesized breaths and guitars which glance through a musical journey in outcomes as surprising as they are unexpected.

Stream of Thought

CD out of stock
Stream of Thought
Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo
2008 Projekt PRO224 (CD)
Reviewed by All Music Guide, e/i magazine, Electroambient Space, Guts Of Darkness, MusicTAP, Sonic Curiosity, Sonic Immersion, Tokafi

The mind is a mystery of thoughts and fluidly-shifting collected memories. There are many thoughts which form complete stories, while others are mere threads with no beginning or ending. The flow of ideas is energetic, pulsating and often in dramatic contrast. In the same manner, STREAM OF THOUGHT escorts us with cinematic precision through the mind's uncountable destinations. Organic electronic and new ambient sonic boundaries effortlessly dissolve on STREAM OF THOUGHT.

With the combined experience of these two veteran electronic composers, this collaboration flows with an agility of emotion and intellect in fluid interplay; minimalist-inspired melodic tapestries, pulsing trance passages, deep drone drifts, and surreal soundscapes morph into cloud-like forms: a constant state of sonic evolution.

The results stand apart from the extended immersive long-form tracks of Steve's recent releases. While STREAM OF THOUGHT is presented as a continuous flow of 19 interconnected pieces, the metaphor of sitting on a stream's edge under full engagement with the present moment is the appropriate context to experience the fluid ebb and mercurial flow of this living, streaming soundworld.

Roach and Wøllo's similar age, musical inspirations and sonic inclinations - along with a mutual respect for each other's 25+ years of work - inform STREAM OF THOUGHT. Starting on two continents with two very different atmospheric conditions (the vast desert of Steve's Arizona and the icy solitude of Erik's homebase in Norway) this release began to take form in early 2007, as the composers traded musical ideas back and forth across long distances. The most formative aspect of the collaboration occurred in the summer of 2008 with Erik's visit to Steve's Timeroom studio in Arizona. Their week yielded the final recording, arrangement and editing. The approach to the album's structure was more like that of film editing, where a sense of time and pacing was consciously developed to activate a powerful visual/auditory reaction, a visceral experience.

STREAM OF THOUGHT explores the nuance of shifts within our perception. Segments of illumination juxtaposed with amorphous interludes and moving, flowing rhythm culminate in an unforgettable, shifting, dynamic experience. Relax and float downstream. Tranquil drifts, passionate rapids, midnight star gazing and blazing sunsets await. This is a vivid soundtrack for the senses designed to take the listener to the outer reaches of the imagination.

1. Part 1MP3 
2. Part 2MP3 
3. Part 3MP3 
4. Part 4MP3 
5. Part 5MP3 
6. Part 6MP3 
7. Part 7MP3 
8. Part 8MP3 
9. Part 9MP3 
10. Part 10MP3 
11. Part 11MP3 
12. Part 12MP3 
13. Part 13MP3 
14. Part 14MP3 
15. Part 15MP3 
16. Part 16MP3 
17. Part 17MP3 
18. Part 18MP3 
19. Part 19MP3 

Presented as a 73-minute continuous flow.

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