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CD Feature/ Steve Roach: "Kairos"

img  Tobias

I haven’t visited the place for quite a while, but there was a time, when McDonals offered a „Double Deal“. You would pay a small surplus on your regular menu and then receive two burgers, two cokes and two fries. It was a clear win-win situation: You would save some money, have a good time and your girlfriend would like it, too. Even though being as far from musical fast food as could possibly be, I was reminded of this, while listening to “Kairos”. For absolutely everything about it seems to be either “double” or “triple” – or even more than that on some occasions

First of all, there is the packaging, which comes as a double-sized DVD box on wonderfully heavy and smooth cardboard, which folds out twice to reveal the two trays for a separate CD and a DVD. From the very first moment of its inception, “Kairos” was intended to be an audio-visual experience, a composition for images and sounds. Five video and graphics artists from the USAhave been in regular contact with Roach for years, shaping what he himself calls “a dynamic flow of visual wonder worlds” and a “joining of micro and macro worlds in a mind-expanding symbiotic flow”. Sounds esoteric and estranging? Well, maybe it does, but all of it is true. Starting out in the rocklands of Australie, the optical thunderstorm of the movie quickly enters fluctuating patterns of amebal aboriginal motives, intertwining, embracing, mixing, merging and letting go of each other again like protozoan plankton in a cellular cryotube. Waving like bamboo in the fog, the images make way for a deeply breathing anemone, its tentactles swaying moonily in a tantric trance, which gradually returns to ever-collapsing structures, folding infinitely back into themselves. For a short moment, the mind surfaces to the material world, only to be catapulted into the closing freeze frame of “The Great Return”, a twelve minute portrait of a fibrilating heart fading into a peaceful slumber. Once again, it is about “the meeting of time and destiny” and “engaging with the right moment, which will never reoccur”, but hardly has it been realized this perplexingly. When it comes to the music, “Kairos” offers an unprecedented chance for all those, who have never been able to follow Steve through his entire outout and found it hard deciding between his more rhythmical and ambient releases. Here, for once, both worlds meet in a flowing double-exchange, which sees the two spheres coexist on their own and then again push each other to new levels. The sceletal acid beats of “Core Regeneration” are nicely sandwiched in between the coded bass pads of the opening and the awe-inspiring elevation of “Resonation Portal”. After that, there is a short silence, before byzantine string lines lift off over subliminal blurbs, opening up into a moment of complete timelesness, which in its turn melts into the double-feast of “Lifeforming” and “Biogenesis”. The former a split affair between gently flowing waves and emphatic sequencer disturbances, the latter a climactic dream of razor-sharp, glassy icycles penetrating the shell of consciousness.

It should not suprise anyone by now, that “Kairos” works both as a haunting aural background, as well as an intense listening session. Whatever you expected from this release, there is always more. With its mix of images and music, pushing sounds and laid-back atmospheres, scantly purist voidscapes and richly detailed textures, it pleases the mind and the body, the brain and the heart. So there’s a good chance your girlfriend will like this, too.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Steve Roach

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