Structures From Silence is noteworthy for being the first time Steve Roach moved away from constructing synth music around krauty, trancelike rhythmic structures; opting instead for something more loose and textural that has since become standard in most strains of ambient and experimental music. On what is consistently classified as one of the greatest ambient records of all time (more and more an impressive designation; as the amount of ambient albums in the world doubles roughly each week), Roach sought to fill the void left by the synthesizer’s total independence from human touch - that is, the reverberation of the breath and the body’s interaction with an acoustic instrument that a synthesizer is indifferent to. Using the seemingly limitless capabilities of the then-new Oberheim OB-8 polyphonic synthesizer, Roach freed himself from the constraints of meter and tempo and instead allowed his breathing to direct the sustain lengths of the notes. In the liner notes, Roach explains:
“My life at that time was purely focused on drawing out an inner voice that had been building over many years: a feeling born from my immersion in the quiet spaces of the desert environment. My connection to the profound atmosphere of the desert areas of Southern California - Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego, Death Valley, The Mojave Desert - was essential. I finally had my hands on the tools with which I could channel this feeling, this expansive atmosphere and blooming inner awareness. I was uncovering and discovering a palpable sense of stillness emanating from a soundcurrent of ‘silence’.”
After a slew of CD reissues in recent years, Structures From Silence is finally available on vinyl for the first time since 1984, with extensive notes from Roach on the albums creation and code for digital download. Recommended.
- 1st time on vinyl since 1984
- full color fold-out insert with photos + extensive liner notes
- digital download included
- music label: Telephone Explosion 2017
reviewed by hannibal chew 11/2017