Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Low Volume Music - Steve Roach & Dirk Serries

Low Volume Music

Steve Roach & Dirk Serries
Projekt Records.

SCQ Rating: 78%

Not since Brian Eno’s original Ambient series in the late 70s and early 80s have artists geared their work toward such a direct and practical purpose as Steve Roach and Dirk Serries’ first collaboration in ten years. Like Eno’s Music For Airports or On Land, projects that dropped listeners into sterile moods or organic field-recordings, respectively, Low Volume Music’s primary focus can be detected from its title.

While it’s true that from conception Roach and Serries were planning a minimalist release of “sound meditations”, imbued with harmony and drifting textures, these five resulting tracks have a sneaking ambition underpinning their inoffensive nature. With Low Volume Music, Roach and Serries set forth on creating an alternate reality, a zen-like refuge from the noise pollution we’ve grown so accustomed to in our daily routines. The opening track “Here” represents a gateway, one intended to cleanse the mind and usher in a relaxed atmosphere, and even as one suspects that Roach and Serries are officially rubbing shoulders with New Age tenets, the composition works wonders. Choosing to encircle a mood instead of conquering several, subsequent meditations “Closed” and “Bow” shimmer like iridescent details in one’s mental landscape. They simply exist and the gentle mutations that unfurl over time radiate to one’s environment as unobtrusively as watching sunrays crawl across one’s wall.

An argument could be made that just about any ambient record should, by definition, achieve Low Volume Music’s intention. But true ambience attains to indifference – a tonal scale that listeners will mirror their emotions to – and that’s a quality that even celebrated ambient recordings don’t adhere to. Unlike White Rainbow’s psychedelic adventurousness on Prism Of Eternal Now or Tim Hecker’s aggressive leanings on Ravedeath, 1972, Low Volume Music’s only obvious sonic distinction is that it bears none. To some listeners this release will sound boring but that’s the nature of real ambience. Neither optimistic nor depressing, Low Volume Music achieves a curious calm that truly offsets the clamor of our noisy lives.

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