Steve Roach | Brian Parnham "The Desert Inbetween" CD
Two fellow travelers, Steve Roach & Brian Parnham, have joined their forces together for this exciting trip into the expansive arid regions of the Southwest deserts. My expectations were of course really high, because some of their latest releases like "Nightbloom" or "The Broken Silence" easily made my highlight list of 2010 season.
And the album opens very impressively and colorfully, "Opening Sky", with its slowly gradual atmosphere leads into tribal uplifting parts that later return to peacefully floating finale. Deeper drones with gentle drumming announce "Ancestral Passage", accompanied by distant voices and various organic instruments and environmental sounds, but the thunderstorm turns this cut into deeper and darker, but grandiose and sensual terrains, while water sounds, rattles and other unique sound sources are briskly swirling around my ears. This is pure bliss!!! "Serpent Gulch" turns very soon into absolutely euphoric composition with sharply rhythmed parts, amazing percussions (I love that distant metallic sound...) and frantic didgeridoo, while the last third of the piece weaves into darker mysterious realms. Magnificent!!! Denser "Somewhere Between" is later joined by a variety of percussions, bells and other sound sources. Cloud of beautiful and hypnotic drones on "Spirit Passage" is supported by distant voices and various crispy sonic ingredients, truly magical! But the sound wizardry continues also on 17-minute epic, "Return To The Underground", it keeps its hypnotic feel from previous piece, but again spiced by many carving, circulating and evolving unique sound elements, some of them at the end almost alien-like sounding. Mysteriously deep, stimulating and powerful journey!!! More tranquil "When The Raven Flies" brings the album safely to a close.
Even if the Southwest stark landscapes have been explored by Steve (and also by Brian) many times before, they still hold huge inspiration for both of them and I am very thankful for that, because their sonic sculpting on "The Desert Inbetween" is just amazing, perfectly layered, structured and detailed, each composition is packed with unique textures, sounds and atmospheres. Organic tribal ambience at its most brilliant level!!! And all that with gorgeous 6-panel digipak packaging with natural rock bridge image on the cover.
Richard Gürtler (Feb 18, 2011, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Explore "The Desert Inbetween" here...
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