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Empetus

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 23, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As a composer, producer and performer, Steve Roach has had an enormous impact on new music across the world. He is one of the foremost creators of visionary space music, which has been called space-creating music in that it calms and creates space in the modern world.

The smoothness of sound belies its layered complexity. Roach's music is carefully conceived and painstakingly produced on both analog and digital synthesizers. Roach uses an alchemy of modern technology to tap into our primordial inner selves. A good example of this is Empetus, a jet-propelled ride with driving, rapid-fire rhythms and soaring themes that carry you up, whirl you around for a moment, then take you up again.

Steve Roach is self-taught and self-styled, an intuitive musician. He is a weaver of sonic textures that rise and fall, amorphous structures floating just beneath our consciousness. The chords are seductive and meditative, yet profound, engaging the intellect as well as the emotion.

About the Artist

In all his endeavors, Steve Roach creates music that exists outside conventional boundaries. This composer, producer, synthesist and multi-instrumentalist is restless in his search for new sounds that connect with an ancient source of truth in this ever changing world.

Roach has earned his position in the international pantheon of major new music artists through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, and open-minded collaborations with numerous artists and the psychological depth of his music. Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, he has released numerous albums since 1981, including the double CD Dreamtime Return, which received a perfect 10 out of 10 rating in CD Review magazine.

Roach's music described by critic Dwight Loop, as "techno tribal music for the global village," blends the visceral sounds he designs on synthesizers and samplers with the primordial rhythms of ethnic percussion and other exotic instruments, including the Australian didgeridoo. He studied these traditional techniques and made his own instrument with Aboriginal didgeridoo master, David Hudson, during two extended trips to the continent. Roach also scored music for a PBS documentary on the rock art of the Dreamtime (the foundation of Aboriginal mythology) and recorded indigenous artists for the critically-acclaimed release Australia: Sound of the Earth.

Roach's solo recording, Origins, further blurs the lines between the ancestral and the futuristic in highly evocative ways. Through a powerful series of interlocking compositions, the sophistication of Roach's electronic style artfully merges with his growing proficiency on percussion, voice, didgeridoo, and other ethnic instruments as he takes listeners back in time to the roots of musical expression. Origins also features several special guests, including Mexican percussionist, Jorge Reyes, and Spanish guitarist, Suso Saiz.

A tireless producer and collaborator, Roach produced Woolunda: Tens Solos for Didgeridoo, the first digital compact disc recording of solo didgeridoo music, featuring David Hudson. The summer of 1993 saw another production, Spirit of Fire, featuring Native American flutist, Perry Silverbird. According to Down Beat, listening to Roach's music is like following "a reliable musical muse into a dark, hypnotic realm that wafts of mysticism instead of marketing" but, then again, Roach has always followed his instincts rather than any preconceived notions of what would sell. His uncompromising approach has been rewarded with a steadily growing audience worldwide. The stark red-rock landscapes of Australia that inspired some of Roach's finest work have much in common with the American Southwest, which has also influenced the composer's music. While living in Los Angeles, the San Diego native released two groundbreaking albums inspired by the desert regions. The respected United Kingdom music magazine, Q, hailed Western Spaces as one of the "finest electronic albums of the decade" with a five-star rating.

In 1989, Desert Solitaire paid homage to the Edward Abbey book by the same title, and inadvertently became a memorial to the author when Abbey died shortly after the music was recorded. According to JAZZIZ magazine, Desert Solitaire successfully tapped "into the melancholic, psychological depths of the desert, `the grandeur of the terrible,' as Abbey put it, with music that swirls and whispers." In 1990, Roach moved to the Sonoran desert just outside of Tucson, Arizona, to be closer to this powerful source of inspiration. There he released another monumental double CD, World's Edge, which includes the hour-long epic To the Threshold of Silence, a subtle, slowly evolving composition that has been widely appreciated for its "keen understanding of the nuance of sound" (i/e).

As one of the few electronic-based artists performing live consistently for over 10 years, Roach's engagements have taken him from concert halls in the United States, Canada, and Europe to lava caves in the Canary Islands and volcanic craters in Mexico. These exotic settings have helped him further define his style, a sonic vision that thrives beyond categories, national boundaries, cultural barriers, and quite often, time itself.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Arrival
  2. Seeking
  3. Conquest
  4. Empowerment
  5. Twilight Heat
  6. Merge
  7. Urge
  8. Distance Is Near
  9. The Memory


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fortuna Records
  • ASIN: B0000007TB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,045 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
EMPETUS. n. 1. A driving force. 2. Incentive. 3. The tendency of a moving body to keep in motion after the force that caused it has stopped. Release in 1986, this is only Roach's fourth album after "Structures From Silence." "Empetus" is thus definitely for daytime listening, as its backbeats are uptempo, quick and syncopated. Track 1, "Arrival," starts off with a flickering wave of synthesized arpeggios and blends seamlessly into Track 2, "Seeking," ending abruptly into the more serious "Conquest" on Track 3, with it's definitely-80's drum rhythms and synthesis. Right from the start you are urged to "pick it UP...get the blood moving...let's go!" Track 4 finds a well-honed grove in "Empowerment," with the classic Roach-style pitch bending that is a flashback to another classic, "Structures from Silence." "Twilight Heat" on track 5 sounded strangely familiar, and for a minute I thought I was listening to Tangerine Dream. The influence of both Patrick Ohearn and David Arkenstone seem to have impermeated track 6, "Merge," with its pleasantly bright staccatos. The twinkly track 7, "Urge," with its well-placed drum fills gives a solid middle-to-end that leads into tracks 8 and 9, "Distance is Near", which usher one last rush before tapering off into the perfectly mellowed "The Memory," which is far too short at only six minutes. With this track we get another look into the future, where you could swear you were listing to the 1988 milestone, "Quiet Music." Steve Roach clearly shows his variety and talent on "Empetus," and for that reason alone this makes an excellent album for the would-be Roach fan. If you already know of his music, well, then you already know of its indispensability. This is among the top-quality works of electronic music, 45 minutes in length, where you won't be disappointed. TOP recommendation.
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Format: Audio CD
This is not his usual ambient quiet music. It is like the german sequencer music like tangerine dream. It has a few mellow tracks but the majority is upbeat and really really good. I have been collecting tangerine dream, klaus schulze, and steve roache's albums and comparing it to steve's other sequencer music this is the best in my opinion for actually striking emotion and getting you pumped up. My favorite track is distance is near it is short like 2 mins but really gets you pumped.
If you like upbeat sequencer music this is a must!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my second Steve Roach album, besides "Structures from Silence". Although it may sound a little dated, this was a very enjoyable CD. "Seeking", "Conquest" and the moving closer "The Memory" are the best tracks, even if the whole experience is great. Except for the last track, the whole album is very energetic, so it's real good listening if you're trying to get work done, as well as if you just enjoy great new age music.

Although "Structures from Silence" may be better known, and is still a good record, it was a little slow for me; more ambient than active like this one. If you enjoy something that has a little more pep to it, than you should definitely grab "Empetus".
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After listening to Steve Roach's music on the Hearts of Space programming on Public Radio I have found him to be one of my favorites and Empetus has lived up to my many expectations and then maybe more. I will definitely be purchasing more Steve Roach as I build my collection. If your collection is beginning this is one of his better cd's and worth the purchase!
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Format: Audio CD
I have heard some of Steve's other work and a lot of it is has less of a solid structure. If you are looking for that structure and not just floaty ambient sounds this work may be for you. It's classic. If you are shopping for Steve Roach, you need to have this album.
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