Steve Roach | Skeleton Keys

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Electronic: Electronica Avant Garde: Electronic Avant-Garde Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Skeleton Keys

by Steve Roach

Experience the beauty of 100% pure analog modular sequencer-based music from an American electronic pioneer.
Genre: Electronic: Electronica
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Only Way In
7:15 album only
2. The Function Inside the Form
8:23 album only
3. It’s All Connected
9:28 album only
4. Outer Weave
5:12 album only
5. Symmetry and Balance
9:35 album only
6. Saturday Somewhere
10:50 album only
7. Escher's Dream Is Dreaming
9:48 album only
8. A Subtle Twist of Fate
13:24 album only


Album Notes
There's a worldwide analog modular synthesizer-based music resurgence in full swing. Pioneering electronic musician Steve Roach taps into the zeitgeist on Skeleton Keys, a 74-minute album recorded using's large format analog modular synthesizer/sequencer-based system. These are eight emotional and mind-expanding spiraling mandalas-of-sound made from interwoven tapestries of melody, rhythm, tone and musical space. The result is warm and engaging retro-futurism, a continuing evolution upon the musical structures Steve has unlocked in the restless pursuit of his soundquest.

“A lot of artists are going in (the analog electronic) direction these days, but few have the mastery and control that Steve Roach reveals.” – John Dilberto / Echoes Radio review

From Textura:

One way electronic pioneer Steve Roach vitalizes his music is by not not only anticipating the future but by looking backwards, too. In the case of Skeleton Keys, he returned to his analog modular sequencer-based roots by recording all eight of the album’s long-form tracks using a large-format analog-modular synthesizer/sequencer-based system (a photo on the inner sleeve shows Roach standing in front of the large apparatus with its many rows and columns of cables, switches, and knobs).

Representative of the recording’s general style, “The Only Way In” inaugurates Skeleton Keys with shimmering swaths of twinkling synthesizers, dense tapestries whose individual elements pulsate, spiral, and weave at varying pitches. Like the Mobius Strip-like design intimated by its title, “Escher’s Dream is Dreaming” features sequencer patterns that literally feel as if they’re looping in on themselves. One occasionally hears in such material echoes of ‘70s artists like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. There are moments during “The Function Inside the Form,” for instance, where the former’s influence is strongly evident, but it’s hardly the only piece where the presence of such precursors looms.

Roach’s music naturally has evolved throughout his multi-decade career; in recent years, it’s developed into something one might call tribal-techno, an hypnotic form of music where synthesizer patterns serenely drift on delicate beds of percussion, and certain tracks on the album do, in fact, gravitate in the style’s direction, among them “It’s All Connected” and “Saturday Somewhere.” A number of these retro-futuristic settings unfold at a surprisingly fast clip. Though slow-motion washes might exhale in the background of “Outer Weave,” their glacial movement is offset by rapid percussive pitter-patter that powers the twanging cut at a breakneck pace. Once its kinetic rhythms lock into position, the prototypical Roach setting unfolds with a mathematical precision.



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