Music Reviews

Steve Roach

Midnight Moon

Projekt

What happens when a decades-long master of ambient synths bases an album around guitar for the first time? Something more than a sketchbook but less than a masterpiece, invaluable to Steve Roach fans for the light it sheds on his compositional process with a new instrument, but probably not the best place to start for those not already familiar with his work.

Psychologically, Midnight Moon reminds me of Roach’s excellent 1995 two-disc collaboration with Vidna Obmana, Well Of Souls. Both albums have the same feeling of descending deep into the subconscious, a restful yet also unsettling journey into vast, warm caves and inky, uncharted waters; a dream hovering on the edge of nightmare. The 21-minute-plus “Midnight Loom” is a good example of this. A single note is struck loud on the guitar and echoes into the distance, then a string of notes trickles downward, echoing again as other plucked notes resound around them. The result is a slightly neurotic and completely enveloping atmosphere, a sense of things moving unseen on all sides, threads of past and future crossing and recrossing, intertwining in the present center where you sit, watching a dream landscape of ever-changing clouds pile up, thin out, and drift away as you ride a restless sea with waves swelling beneath you, then rolling on toward a distant, unseen shore.

All that is great; the problem is that by the seven-minute mark, you’ve experienced all those visions, only to be forced to run through them over and over as the track loops back on itself, then back again, in a way that tips the hypnotic/repetitive balance a bit too far toward boring. The same looped/repetitive problem surfaces in “Broken Town,” then again in “Later Phase.” Lots of good ideas here, in other words, but overall the album feels a bit unfinished.

Projekt/Darkwave, P.O. Box 166155, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.projekt.com


Recently on Ink 19...

New Music Now 008: doubleVee

New Music Now 008: doubleVee

Features

Join Ink 19 with Barb and Allan Vest for new music from Sydney, Australia band Bloods, Prey composer Sarah Schachner, and doubleVee’s own latest release, Treat Her Strangely. What was your first cassette tape, hmm?

Hold Me Tight

Hold Me Tight

Screen Reviews

Lily and Generoso review Hold Me Tight, the sixth feature directed by renowned actor Mathieu Amalric. Centered around a brilliant performance from Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, Bergman Island), Hold Me Tight is an unpredictable and remarkable psychological drama.

Sirens

Sirens

Screen Reviews

The fact that the band Slaves to Sirens exists is impressive, but that they live, love, and breathe to play metal takes things to another level. Sirens documents the journey. Review by Charles DJ Deppner.