For the first time ever, the meditative, ambient minimalism of the Quiet Music series is available in its entirety in a 3-CD digi-pak release. Originally released in the mid-'80s on cassette and later in a truncated 2-CD edition, Quiet Music (The Original 3-Hour Collection) presents this landmark album as Roach envisioned it.
Quiet Music is a collection of pieces created between 1983 and 1986 in respect for silence. The gentle electronics of Roach's synthesizers mix with flute, electric piano and sounds of nature flowing like breath, enveloping the listener in a sustained, delicate, translucent atmosphere.
Jim Brenholts, allmusic.com: "Quiet Music is the essence of pure, meditative ambience. Steve Roach has always been a visionary performer; his work defines 'elegant futurism.' He released these on cassette in 1986, and it remains in the forefront of introspective minimalism. This series set the stage for all minimalists to follow. He was one of the first to demonstrate that ambient minimalism does not have to be dark, that it can be bright and hopeful without becoming maudlin or too new age. This is groundbreaking space music from an epic and legendary performer. He is peerless in his corner of the perpendicular universe."
Much of this music began as a series of early-'80s recordings commissioned by healing-arts programs and later used for everything from personal meditation to birthing music. Today these pieces still stand as a cornerstone in body-work, yoga, and healing therapies.
The enduring nature of this music is even more significent when placed in the context of the '80s climate from which it originated. "In looking at the arc of my music, nearly 30 years after creating Quiet Music," Roach reflects, “I still feel an unbroken connection to this same inner breath and pulse I was discovering within myself and my creative life at that time. Even with everything that was going on in the early '80s -- musically, culturally, politically - this music came to exist in its own dimension, outside of that time, separate from the day-to-day climate in which I was surrounded. I was yearning to express a timeless and universal soul-tone, a safe haven within the music. I had tapped into a reliable way to access this quiet repose at several favorite getaways in nature which was the main influence of this music."
Harold Budd, September 29, 1986: "I think Steve Roach's Quiet Music is his best album. It's not that it's simply pretty (which it is), but there's an odd edge lurking in the background that moves it miles away from 'New Age' torpor. This is a lovely album from a composer working at the top of his skills"
Listening to the release anew, one can sense Roach's emerging vision of expressing a rarified, tranquil inner experience through sound and music: a vision both emotional and vivid. The soothing, introspective nature of Quiet Music flows at a time-suspending pace, gently evolving and using space to expand and explore the essence of silence. The space between the notes and the breathing quality bring the listener to a deeper awareness of the present moment.
A review from relaxedmachinery.com (2011):
Quiet Music is one of the milestones in Steve Roach's huge discography as well as in the genre of ambient music. Recorded during the period of years 1983 to 1986 and firstly available on three cassettes, few years later, in 1988 released as CD album and in 1999 collected and remastered to a 2CD edition, all by Fortuna. Now, when Fortuna rights expired and 25 years passed since its creation, finally available via Projekt as Quiet Music: The Original 3-Hour Collection 3CD packaged in very decently and attractively looking 6-panel digipak. As indicated by its title, Steve presents here absolutely peaceful and minimal aerial washes, floating ambience at its most relaxing and meditative level. Several long form pieces are featured on this treasured set, for example both parts of "The Green Place" that complete disc one, each one clocking over 30-minute mark. This is most likely the most naturally sounding ambience in these series with strong organic feel enriched by captivating and relaxing field recordings that beautifully color Steve's serene soundscapes and Will Morris' flute (with the synthesizer help of Mike Christopher at the beginning of Part One). The music splendidly portrays the first part of the cover image. Disc two, consisting of five compositions, three of them are shorter, while the last two pieces, "A Few More Moments" and "Air And Light", are longer (13 and 32 minutes) , is full of minimal and simple palettes, yet slowly and gently evolving, hauntingly beautiful and evoking vast landscape panoramas, where all these sonic textures capture pure magic of brightness, peace, serenity and silence. This truly fascinating journey, transporting each listener to another time and space, proceedes also on disc three. Two longer floaters include "Dreaming And Sleep" and "Sleep And Dreaming"(again featuring Will Morris on flute), while "Quiet Canon" clocks to 8 minutes, but all these three compositions will navigate you to beautifully magical and subconscious night sky trip. Usually I like to mention the most highlighting moments on each CD I review, but there is no need to do it with Quiet Music, where each composition has its significant role and all of them are masterfully blended into one incredibly tranquilized continuous sonic environment. Speaking about the artwork, all three front cover images magnificently display not only the beauty and power of Mother Nature, but also the beauty and power of Steve Roach's groundbreaking sound painting and visionary. Quiet Music 3CD set is definitely a true collector's item, no matter if you own above mentioned first two CD editions or the original cassettes, this is another must have and ultimate classic from The Master!!! Richard Gürtler (Sep 04, 2011, Bratislava, Slovakia)