Musician and composer Steve Roach is a legend in the ambient/new age music world. He started out as a Motorcross racer in his early 20s before being inspired by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and Vangelis to teach himself to play the synthesizer. He released his debut album Now in 1982, and by 1986 he released his acclaimed Quiet Music series. Dreamtime Return followed in 1988 and was what many considered both an absolute masterpiece and a breakthrough in ambient/new age music.
Roach’ music follows a narrative that speaks to time, space, the environment, and the flow of nature. His music is made from the synthetic, but flows organically. For almost 40 years Steve Roach has created electronic music as a means to connect beyond his own perceptions, deep-diving into the ether with his trance-like music works.
On the synth legend’s newest album, the heady and dense Tomorrow, Roach gives us five long, expansive tracks to find some peace in. Improvised states of mind turned into epic, spaced-out travels into a kind of innerspace monologue with the universe. Tomorrow is a gorgeous deep dive into the world of transcendent synth music.
Opening track “Tomorrow” was created just days after Roach’ NYC concert was cancelled in March because of the lockdown. From there the songs came to him in a natural progression. “Tomorrow” is the doorway into Steve Roach’ world, all arpeggiated notes, bubbly synth lines, and a connective flow that moves you along. “Optimal Being” follows with a real uplift sort of vibe. There’s a real soothing, healing mood here. With headphones on, you can feel the music cascading down over you like circuital waves of sound. It’s a truly meditative song.
Roach explains more about the new album, “While my daily mode of operation is more about the connection to the here and now, my thoughts were shifting towards a ‘tomorrow state of mind.’ When the storm clears, after a major pressing of the reset button of our lives, will we wake up to a scorched metaphorical earth or a freshly tilled verdant soil for new life to emerge? I had a sense of being a first responder in sound and music, drawing from my creative core, staying connected to this as a grounding rod.”
This leads to album centerpiece “HeartBreath”, a dark and mysterious world of sound and visceral emotion. There’s a floating quality here, as if we’re some galactic traveler making our way through the universe. It’s a heady sound world that unfolds in slow motion, revealing enlightenment through sound and electronic sway.
Final tracks “Spiral of Strength” and “A Different Today” continue along the sonic path Tomorrow has built for us; a sort of Milky Way symphony of emotive, electronic transcendence to an understanding of where we could go.
As long as we make peace with where we’ve been.
In a year of more questions than answers, Steve Roach’ Tomorrow is a definitive wave of positivity and light. A soulful and steely album for the mindful traveler and inquisitive searcher.
8.2 out of 10