Steve Roach

Sigh of Ages

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For one of his 2010 releases, Steve Roach took an approach that felt like a bit of retrospection on his part, harking back a touch to the late '80s while not explicitly revisiting his styles then. But Sigh of Ages has a certain depth of atmosphere that in a way is one of his most early-Projekt-like efforts yet -- his affiliation with the label has resulted in much of his best work but whether it's the extremely dark, moody cover art or the gentle hush that starts the album via "The Quelling Place," steering away from black hole doom for soothing contemplation, there's a strong sense of harking back to Projekt's beginnings. "Longing to Be…" ends the album on a similarly meditative note, while in between Roach explores a certain gentility of mood that's often quite lovely to hear -- it's certainly not been missing in his work, but rarely has seemed so concentrated as here. "Sentient Breath" is a stellar example, at 15 minutes one of the longer compositions on the release and revolving around a slow synth ebb and flow that feel a touch distanced at the same time, at once present and absent but also not overtly doom-laden either. The even sweeter tinge of "Morning of Ages," seeming rather like the dawn it describes, feels like a steady progression upwards, at points shadowed by darker sounds but never overwhelmed by them. On balance, Sigh of Ages manages to be both "just" another Steve Roach album for Projekt and also one of his most distinct ones yet, a happy circumstance.

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