Steve Roach's new 2-CD set seamlessly fuses three long unfolding soundworlds into a vibrant sonic odyssey. The result can only be described as a living, breathing Arc of Passion. As one of the great pioneers of electronic music, Steve's career has many musical highpoints; Arc of Passion proves to be another definitive statement along the path. Advanced response from listeners places this album at the top of the long list of must-have releases from Steve’s body of work. Steve reaches into his sonic palette to weave elements of his three definitive styles into a continuous, evolving flow. Rich harmonic chords, spiraling sequences and deep sky soundworlds move fluidly within this 2-hour set.
A vibrant immediacy is alive on Arc of Passion; the sonic textures and evolving nature of the pieces reach into the core of the present moment bringing it into form with elegance and energy.
The opening 19-minute track billows outwards with rich and shadowed harmonic movement; deep chords ebb and flow like the thunder clouds of a summer storm, entering the realm of the hauntingly serene Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces or Magnificent Void albums. The set flows into the 60-minute title track built from layers of percussive and melodic patterns interwoven and evolving while holding a steady pulse and direction. Waves of emotion from intertwining sequencers provide the foundation for the evolving trance patterns that develop into full mesmerizing, passionate form. The closing 20-minute piece is deep primal ambience mixed with processed didgeridoo hovering within an expansive soundscape. Long, arching tendril-like forms breathe within this infinite soundfield.
"This arc represents a trajectory of emotion infused with energy," Steve comments. Arc of Passion is a deep and vibrant expression of life lived passionately.
A review from All Music Guide:
In 2008, Steve Roach saw the release of another typically ambitious multi-disc effort, Arc of Passion, which he described in the liner notes as representative of both a three-month period of composition and performance as well as a depiction of a state of mind looking back on his life and work. Given Roach's high-speed work and release ethic, as well as the state of consistency that marks the majority of his albums, singling out Arc of Passion for particular attention might seem a touch quixotic, but it's a fine effort that demonstrates his ability to create singularly peaceful, contemplative electronic compositions that gently engulf the listener. The title track, an hourlong piece split amid the two discs (itself an intriguing aesthetic decision, given that they could have fit together as one song on a sole disc), starts off calmly but transforms into one of the most propulsive pieces that Roach has ever released, a series of synth loops ranging from the soft to the bass-heavy, providing an understated but clear punch that fades away in the final minutes to provide a soft conclusion. It's an interesting adaptation of the aesthetics of mid-'70s Ash Ra Tempel (minus the guitar) to Roach's approach that works very nicely. The tracks on either side are equally enjoyable -- "Moment of Grace" begins the album with a feeling of just that, albeit stretched out to almost 20 minutes, a simultaneously dark and serene layering of tones that is pure outer-reaches-of-inner-space float. "Views Beyond" provides a more solemn conclusion, moody low howls of noise appropriately arcing through a more isolated, chilled arrangement of calm tones that makes for a full contrast with the calmer start of the whole set. -Ned Raggett