Steve Roach & Kelly David: The Long Night

roach_longHere is a night you may not want to end. Despite its ominous title and shadowy cover art, Steve Roach and Kelly David’s collaborative work, The Long Night, is not a particularly dark release. I was expecting something along the lines of Darkest Before Dawn or A Piece of Infinity, but although The Long Night has its share of dark passages, it’s more a vision of the beauty and mystery of the deepest parts of night. There is the cold shimmer of moonlight cutting through clouds, the lightly haunted sense of not being entirely alone among the shadows, the calm quiet of being the only one awake and out in the space before midnight and dawn. Its darkness is the alluring sable of the sky, mysterious but not intimidating. Musically, it’s classic beatless Roach, blending endless bass drones and slowly wavering pads in thick layers. There’s a distinctly soothing quality to much of the work here, particularly in “Calm World” and the title track. The latter, particularly, will slide you into a dream state with warm, hushed tones and gorgeous harmonies. The duo also work in touches of percussion, just enough to texture the surface without having it take over. It arrives first in the distant clatter that dwells in the background on “Season of Nights,” then hits a stride on “The Deep Hours.” On that track, I hear (because I love it) the distinct sound of drums plucked from the tasty loops that Roach crafted for the Fever Dream releases. Dialed down to pulse quietly under the wash and flow of the track, they nicely insinuate themselves into your consciousness, melding with the crackle and curl on analog synth. This track in particular is signature Roach. “Calm World” also gets a bit of tribal percussion before it slips beneath the pads. I wish I could tell for certain where Kelly David’s contributions come in, but given how much I enjoy this release, suffice to say that his role in the overall chemistry is integral. Listening to this album got me to head over to David’s site to listen to his earlier work. I would suggest you do the same. My only bump with this release is that I found the breathy, hissing sounds early on in “Season of Nights” a little distracting and out of place. The sound is too sharp and feels almost dropped into the flow. But it passes soon enough to be forgotten amidst the calmness that follows. This has not kept me from looping The Long Night over and over. It’s a beautiful, meditative release. Put it on your outdoor speakers some evening and let it play in its natural habitat.

Available from Projekt and at Steve Roach’s web site.


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