|Quiet Music: The Original 3-Hour Collection|
2011 Projekt PRO263 (CD)
Reviewed by Relaxed Machinery, The Morton Report, The Morton Report
For the first time ever, the meditative, ambient minimalism of the QUIET MUSIC series is available in its entirety in a 3-CD digi-pak release. Originally released in the mid-'80s on cassette and later in a truncated 2-CD edition, QUIET MUSIC: THE ORIGINAL 3-HOUR COLLECTION presents this landmark album as Roach envisioned it.
QUIET MUSIC is a collection of pieces created between 1983 and 1986 in respect for silence. The gentle electronics of Roach's synthesizers mix with flute, electric piano and sounds of nature flowing like breath, enveloping the listener in a sustained, delicate, translucent atmosphere.
Jim Brenholts, allmusic.com: "QUIET MUSIC is the essence of pure, meditative ambience. Steve Roach has always been a visionary performer; his work defines 'elegant futurism.' He released these on cassette in 1986, and it remains in the forefront of introspective minimalism. This series set the stage for all minimalists to follow. He was one of the first to demonstrate that ambient minimalism does not have to be dark, that it can be bright and hopeful without becoming maudlin or too new age. This is groundbreaking space music from an epic and legendary performer. He is peerless in his corner of the perpendicular universe."
Much of this music began as a series of early-'80s recordings commissioned by healing-arts programs and later used for everything from personal meditation to birthing music. Today these pieces still stand as a cornerstone in body-work, yoga, and healing therapies.
The enduring nature of this music is even more significent when placed in the context of the '80s climate from which it originated. "In looking at the arc of my music, nearly 30 years after creating QUIET MUSIC," Roach reflects, "I still feel an unbroken connection to this same inner breath and pulse I was discovering within myself and my creative life at that time. Even with everything that was going on in the early '80s -- musically, culturally, politically - this music came to exist in its own dimension, outside of that time, separate from the day-to-day climate in which I was surrounded. I was yearning to express a timeless and universal soul-tone, a safe haven within the music. I had tapped into a reliable way to access this quiet repose at several favorite getaways in nature which was the main influence of this music."
Harold Budd, September 29, 1986: "I think Steve Roach's QUIET MUSIC is his best album. It's not that it's simply pretty (which it is), but there's an odd edge lurking in the background that moves it miles away from 'New Age' torpor. This is a lovely album from a composer working at the top of his skills."
Listening to the release anew, one can sense Roach's emerging vision of expressing a rarified, tranquil inner experience through sound and music: a vision both emotional and vivid. The soothing, introspective nature of QUIET MUSIC flows at a time-suspending pace, gently evolving and using space to expand and explore the essence of silence. The space between the notes and the breathing quality bring the listener to a deeper awareness of the present moment.
Darren Bergstein, One Thousand Pulses: "Finally reissued in its entirety, Roach's classic minimalist paean of austere beauty is both profound and timeless with its delicately folding textures seemingly minted from the very skeins of heaven itself."