172

Steve Roach: Early Man/Early Man, Decomposed

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Last fall Steve Roach released the first edition of Early Man as a collectors' item, a single CD encased in two slabs of slate rock. There were only 1000 copies made of this, and since there was demand for a more accessible format for this music, Roach arranged to re-release the album in a conventional CD case from the Projekt label. Not only has he done this, he has added another CD, called Early Man, Decomposed in which he takes the first album and re-works it into another set of ambient pieces. (My review of Early Man part one, is available on this site.)

You can definitely hear echoes of the original album on Decomposed , but Roach has scrambled the sounds, changing the sequence in which they appear, the sound-mix that modifies them, and even their pitch and rhythm, all this through the wonders of digital sound-manipulation. Although Decomposed is presented as a list of tracks, it really forms one complete entity, rather like Roach's long "pure" ambient albums such as Slow Heat (1998) or Atmospheric Conditions (1999). Like these previous pieces, Decomposed is more a "sound environment" than a piece of conventional structured music. It is a classic example of the "abstract" Roach, featuring, as I have described in earlier reviews, long, often quiet passages of atonal noises and tones, wrapped in cavernous reverberation. Synthesizer notes, percussion, "found sounds" and singing stones, industrial clanks, soft rhythms, whispers, loops and echoes, all blend together into a rather chilly, drifting atmosphere, more reminiscent (as in Atmospheric Conditions ) of a cave or a mine than of the sun-baked desert of Roach's usual landscape.

Decomposed is not easy listening. It has a different mood from its more accessible, even bouncy predecessor on the first disc of the album. This second disc is ambient made out of ambient, at a double distance from the predictable soundworld of electronic music. As a result, Decomposed will probably attract fewer listeners than its companion disc. Those who do listen will hear a dark, mysterious soundscape that seems to emanate from the remote depths of the earth.

| Record Label: Projekt | Style: Ambient


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read Numbers CD/LP/Track Review Numbers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read The Busker CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Isang" CD/LP/Track Review Isang
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "The Art Pepper Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review The Art Pepper Quartet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 8, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!