There is no hyperbole in saying that Soul Tones easily ranks among Steve Roach’s best quiet works. In two long-form pieces (45 and 28 minutes), Roach slowly spins out meditative ambient threads that wind their way around the listener. The deceptively simple rise-and-fall flows weave through one another in complex paths and patterns, rendering themselves into a signature sound-cocoon you won’t want to leave. There is little to effectively say about the work here other than that; the sound is perfectly immersive and calming, as soothing a piece of ambient as I’ve ever heard. As Roach did during the disc’s inception, I suggest you leave Soul Tones running for long stretches. It’s music that’s meant to be lived within. Personally, I’ve had it looping in headphones for up to four hours; the sound is internalized in short order and goes directly to its palliative work. Time and breathing slow; ease takes over. This is an ideal disc for meditation and sleep-listening. It has, for me, a distinct centering and cleansing quality to it. The last few minutes of “Resolved” are touching and moving in a way that I haven’t felt in much other ambient music. Soul Tones is the first in a planned set of three connected releases coming out over the next year; having delved deeply into this one on many occasions already, I am very much looking forward to what comes next. In the meantime, I will spend more time inside Soul Tones.
Available from Steve Roach’s web site. It can also be streamed in its entirety at Bandcamp.