SONIC IMMERSION (Holland):
The Road Eternal is the second collaborative album by Steve Roach and Erik Wøllo, following up their 2009-release
Stream of Thought. The framework and fundament of the albums music was layed done by the two composers in the
days following directly after the Steves first SoundQuest Fest at the end of 2010.
The Road Eternal features highly cinematic (time)travel music inspired by the grandness, beauty and mysterious veil hanging over grand natural environments, offering six longer tracks digging the deep end of wide open plains and spaces.
The scenic route is kicked-off by the 21-minute title track, which at first seems quite uniform, but soon nicely evolves into
expansive sonic vistas with energetic sequencer and rhythmic undercurrents while giving way to Wollos smooth (and at times even melodic) guitar work. The groovy bass loop on Depart at Sunrise is enriched by hovering soundscapes and Eriks
trademark of soft yearning guitar licks. Beautiful heavy bass drones start the 12-minute The Next Place, a more rhythm-oriented piece with a high-tech edge accompanied by Wollos spherical textural guitar work. First Twilight is a non-rhythmic,
very airy and lush spherical painting. Things turn up the minimal alley with Travel by Moonlight, only given colour by Eriks
smooth guitar and airy tapestries. The 5-minute Night Strands puts an end to the 63-minute album with lush spherics and
David Sylvian-like guitar soundscapes, moulded into a moody and expansive painting with nice environmental sounds.
All in all, both the atmospheric as rhythmic/sequencer-spiced music find a home on The Road Eternal,
an offering of harmonic and melodic sonic scenery to trigger the mind and even a vehicle to transport the listener
to new places to be discovered.
- Bert Strolenberg
STAR'S END (USA):
If we only paid attention to music made by Steve Roach and Erik Wøllo we would still have a lot to choose from.
Between the two of them they have released dozens upon dozens of amazing space, ambient and contemporary
instrumental albums. Each made their mark both as innovator and visionary and their surprising endurance in a world
not ready for space-time players has thankfully lead them together into two musical collaborations thus far.
The Road Eternal (63'28") is their second CD as a duo - and feels much different than their first, Stream of Thought (2009).
The six tracks are longer time-wise, as these beautiful realizations stretch out along a contour of hidden designs. The pieces develop fast, with reverberant synthesizer chords giving way to synchronized grooves. With the introduction of mechanized
patterns and the resulting restless energy, space and time are seemingly transformed. Extending above the building electric
tension are rich melodic lines - whose slow pacing leaves plenty of air for churning e-riffs and commanding basslines to
motor onward. The Road Eternal, with its breathing thought tones, ethereal leads and unhindered pulsations, produces such aural and emotional wonders - along with the profound images this music awakens in us.
- Chuck Van Zyl
I am pairing these two reviews (Steve Roach - Live at SoundQuest Fest) together because they more or less stem from the
same creative space. Erik Wøllo came to Tucson, Arizona, as part of Steve Roach SoundQuest Fest 2011. He played his
superb piece, The Gateway, live during the show. Afterward, Wøllo and Roach seized upon the creative momentum that
came out of the concert and spent the next few days at Roach Timeroom studio finishing up work they had started earlier in the
year, which would become The Road Eternal.
If Live at SoundQuest Fest pulls the listener down into primal-memory introspection, The Road Eternal lifts them into a more optimistic and upbeat state of mind. The energy of rhythmic sequencers kicks in right away, a liquid shimmer that gleams
across most of the tracks. Wøllos guitar hums and sings its way through the mix in an easy lilt that plays neatly off the
geometries of the sequencer runs. (It is at its finest in the cool coursings of "The Next Place" or softly sighing as the voice
in "Night Strands.") This is a work about velocity and movement, about going forward. Unlike the duos previous effort,
Stream of Thought, which existed a moment at a time, The Road Eternal sets its focus squarely on the horizon and heads
for it. But it is not all pedal-to-the-metal.
After revving the engine with the title track, "Depart At Sunrise" coasts into view, a panoramic vista opening slowly in front
of you. The sequencers get dialed back a touch to make space for long pads and crunchy analog synth effects.
"First Twilight" appropriately slows to a gentle ambient drift, Roach and Wøllo tinting their shared sky with lush aural colors
fading into night. "Travel by Moonlight" eases the tempo back up, underscored by a rich, repeating bass pulse.
Wøllos guitar soars as counterpoint.
Roach notes on his site: Listening to these tracks while traveling allows the music to merge with the experience arriving at
an integrated place where thoughts and imagination are unified as a soundtrack for ones own road movie.I will attest to that. The Road Eternal has softened many a commute and provided the incidental music for thought-filled evening drives home.
Listen, and see where the music takes you.
Brutal Resonance (Sweden):
There are few music styles that are really hard to talk about due to the hidden strings touched in each soul which desires
to open its doors towards new experiences. One of the magicians to create an endless joy during many and many years is
an American composer Steve Roach . Being one of the pioneers of ambient music, he brought us dozens of albums in his
inexhaustible career. More than that, his will to collaborate with other big names of the music world shows a lot of fresh
delights in his portfolio. One of his good friends and brothers-in-arms, Erik Wollo, have actively works together with Steve
during last few years and this cooperation gives birth to two beautiful acts. One of them was dropped by my flat not long
owing to Sam Rosenthal and his crew from Projekt Records. Andrew.
The name of the album that takes me on a journey this time is 'The Road Eternal', built up with six long tracks and filled
with hypnotic and complex patterns. This time it is not the ambience that navigates the electronic structures, but the total
fusion between the rhythm and background atmosphere. The energetic pieces, sound textures of Steve and gentle touches
of Erik's guitar expand into such a depth that penetrate even my inner world, tempered in boiling water and ardent fire of
noise and power electronics. As soon as the album was created around a conceptual idea of big spaces during long travels,
it absolutely captures my imagination and drives it towards the final destination hidden behind horizon.
Even after listening to many hours of Steve's music, I stay in deep meditative mood during all of the CD's playtime without
any shadow of boredom. This is because the melody is constantly evolving, full of pulses, percussion and changes of tempo. Restless energy and endless creativity break the boundaries of space and time continuum. Both artists complement each
other, creating a state of art that definitely puts a huge and fat milestone in the history of ambient music. After playing this album for at least twenty times, I feel the great honor to witness this kind of experience.
A Ultima Fronteira Radio (Spain):
Steve Roach y Erik Wollo, solo de escuchar estos nombres a uno ya se le ilumina la mente so–ando con lo que nos
podemos encontrar en este trabajo, y es que cuando dos magos se juntan, los sue–os se hacen realidad.
Projekt acaba de publicar "The Road Eternal", el nuevo trabajo de estos dos magos de la musica llamados
Steve Roach y Erik Wollo.
Tras su anterior colaboraci—n "Stream of Thoughts", estos dos magn’ficos compositores se vuelven a reunir para crear
este "The Road Eternal", seis composiciones en las que las secuencias, los ritmos y los ambientes que solo estos dos
genios saben crear, vuelven a estar presentes. El disco comienza con una larga suite de m‡s de veinte minutos donde se
comienza a vislumbrar lo que estos dos hombres juntos son capaces de hacer, precisamente, esa suite es la que le da el
t’tulo a este trabajo.
En los siguientes temas, las secuencias y ambientes atm—sfericos de Roach y las guitarras sintetizadas de Erik siguen
haciendo acto de presencia en un trabajo que no nos da descanso, un verdadero placer auditivo para disfrutar de la magia
de la mœsica. La verdad, que cuando se encuentra un trabajo como este, sobran las palabras, solamente necesitamos
cerrar los ojos y dejar volar nuestra mente ante la mœsica que se apodera de nosotros y es que la mœsica de estos
dos magos, como el propio t’tulo del disco nos dice, es una "carretera eterna" donde poder disfrutar de la mœsica sinfin,
porque escuchar a estos dos genios, es un disfrute que nunca debe de parar.
Steve Roach and Erik Wollo, only to hear these names to one and illuminates the mind is dreaming about what we can find
in this work is that when two magicians come together, dreams come true. Projekt has just published "The Eternal Road,"
the new work of these two magicians of music called Steve Roach and Erik Wollo.
Following their previous collaboration "Stream of Thoughts," these two great composers were reunited to create this
"The Eternal Road," six compositions in which the sequences, rhythms and atmospheres that only these two geniuses
know how to create, re-be present.
The album begins with a long suite of more than twenty minutes we began to envision what these two men together are
capable of doing precisely this suite is the title given to this work. The following topics, sequences, and atmospheric
environments of Roach and Erik synthesized guitars are making an appearance in a job that does not give us rest,
a true listening pleasure to enjoy the magic of music.
The truth is that when a job like this on the words, we need only close your eyes and let your mind fly to the music that
takes hold of us and the music of these two magicians, as the title of the disc he says, is "eternal road" where you can
enjoy the endless music, because listening to these two geniuses, is a joy that should never stop.
(English translate by Google)
Synth Sequences Guts Of Darkness (USA/France):
The Road Eternal's beauty is its evolution and all the ramifications that its title track spreads throughout this Roach/Wollos
2nd collaboration. If Steam of Thought was an album where the ambient reigned over some electronic structures, The Road
Eternal is all the opposite. Itss a lively opus where both masters of sound illusions mould rhythms and atmospheres as
spellbinding as perplexes on hypnotic minimalist structures where sequences are skilfully forged into wonderful layers of a
fusion synths and guitars. It results in surprising rhythms where hooting melodies coming from guitars and synths lament
float and swim in the cosmos, like celestial harmonies in contradiction with the increasing rhythms. And when we pay
attention and throw our hearing deeper we have the vague impression to hear a fusion of Structures from Silence and @shra from Manuel Gšttschings band. So be ready for something unexpected cause its as much difficult to enter The Road Eternals atmospheres as to get out from it. Chronicle of a surprising album and another small master piece from our friend Roach
who, undoubtedly, continues to amaze and to charm.
The whole thing starts as if we were in the cosmos, sat by the edge of a river which sparkles of gleaming arpeggios.
Slender musical layers, from what seems to be a fusion synths and guitars, drive slow lamentations which are
criss-crossing and floating lazily in a fanciful firmament where tranquility filled the space. The heavy, ambient and
dramatic effect is not without recalling the analog years of Ashra Temple. A rhythm is drawing in the background, but its
without sequences. There are nervous synth pads of which hatched chords collide, forming a chaotic rhythmic movement
which skips nervously. This linear rhythmic line dined by jolts is simply brilliant. It pounds with a soft frenzy and rolls in
loop as wavelets on a sea which wakes up. And the sea will wake up!
Little by little this rhythm livens up with the adding of fine and subtle pulsations / percussions, while the sky becomes
strewed by fine musical shooting stars which sparkle and fly like in the analog years of Schulze and that slow astral layers
fly over The Road Eternal by delicate movements of wandering. It is an idyllic fusion that leads us halfway, there where
guitars laments pierce this hatched rhythmic and the tempo becomes livelier. We are in deep in Steve Roach musical
labyrinths with a suave and enchanting evolution which is finely wriggling with the addition of heterogeneous percussions
and pulsations unique to his universe, whereas delicate morphic layers coming out of a synth /guitar fusion are suspended
and undulate in contrast with this progressive cadence. Minimalist loops of The Road Eternal's fragile rhythm hiccup on a
quavering progression. Always so vaporous this rhythm breaks itself with a nervously syncopated approach which pounds
fervently beneath bewitching guitar layers and howling. A solitary guitar that let goes superb morphic solos. Isolated solos
on a tempo without sequences but which quavers over an outfit of tones and heterogeneous percussions of tribal structures
that make the charm of Steve Roach. And The Road Eternal goes out as it had start, leaving its musical imprints on 5 other
Depart at Sunrise spreads out its rangy and gloomy musical waves as slow flights of an eagle on hunting. It is an ambient
intro assorted of soft ethereal layers and sweet laments coming from a hypersensitive guitar which are finally pulled by a
delicate rhythmic which skips finely on the tips of its chords. A cadence with charmingly harmonious jolts, a bit weaved as
those on the title-track, flooded by very nice synth layers and supported by stunning glaucous ball bearings which are
dazzling strangeness from a percussion universe unique to Steve Roachs overflowing imagination. And, lasciviously,
synths layers and guitars laments float over this rhythmic warmly mesmerizing and strangely morphic for a track which
offers quite a lively beat. The Next Place is a long track which swarms of a life liven up by a mixture of pulsations and
heterogeneous percussions. A world of percussions which pound and run at nice flow on light guitar riffs and slinky as well
as moving synth layers. Its a track which is highly similar to Travel by Moonlight which on the other hand is more sinuous,
ambiguous and hypnotic.
Delicate, First Twilight floats above our thoughts as an angel above our dreams. The fusion of synths and guitars layers
shape a universe of extreme solitude on this ambient track, quite as on Night Strands which on the other hand is more
syncretic and soaks in an eclectic sound fauna on a guitar substructure equal to Michael Rothers sounds.
I just loved The Road Eternal, as much the title track as the 5 other jewels of a similar musical texture but so different in the final. The Road Eternal is a musical experience which rides long silent and nightly surges of synths and guitars as ambient as spectral on rhythms absent of sequences. Unusual and uncommon rhythms, witnesses of a sound research that establishes
Roach and his collaborators in a league of ones own in this constantly evolving musical world. This 2nd collaboration
Roach/Wollo is a brilliant stroke of genius and a meticulous work which brings to a simply brilliant result. Its poetry without words, a bedside book makes of sounds and an inescapable companion for empty nights when we try to understand what
we are doing on this road which, by moments, seems to us so eternal.
Relaxed machinery (USA):
Long awaited second collaboration of two highly respected veteran composers came to its final stage during Erik's visit in
Arizona when performing on SoundQuest Fest in October of 2010. I am immediately impressed by the eye-catching 4-panel digipak with absolutely stunning blue colored images (photographs by Erik and Steve). But the visual part of this release is
very soon leveled by the sonics as the opening title track "The Road Eternal" unfolds its 21 minutes long trip. Slower magical desert ambience quickly traverses into breathing, rhythmed and melodic parts, this is crystal clear sonic orgasm!!!
No questions here, two true masters are at the top of their craft and musicianship merging with highest precision their own
distinct trademarking styles.
Absolutely exciting and adventurous overture!!!
But this spectacular sonic travel continues on "Depart At Sunrise", which can be easily described as "crme de la crme" of
melodious soundscaping. Delicately crafted and sculpted textures where hauntingly evocative atmospheres are skillfully
balanced with highly attractive smooth, pulsating and energetic passages. To me, both these compositions are the most
unique and imaginative pieces of art Steve and Erik did together so far, thank you so much, Maestros!!! Warm and dreamy
"The Next Place" sounds quite mechanical and futuristic with always presented vibrant groovy elements, one of the most
uplifting compositions on this route. "First Twilight" is more aerial and nostalgic cooling down piece. As night settles down,
"Travel By Moonlight" begins, nice mid-tempo rhythmic tribal ride through still hot, but refreshing and darkened desert
vistas, mesmerizing and relaxing! "Night Strands" peacefully completes this truly amazing, enterprising and panoramatic trip.
And don't forget to pack your headphones too! "The Road Eternal" is undoubtedly another highly polished pearl in both
artists' discographies, magnificently rich in all aspects, musically, sonically and visually!!!
I am a proud owner (and reviewer too) of this masterpiece!!!
Richard GŸrtler (Jun 13, 2011, Bratislava, Slovakia)
One Thousand Pulses (USA):
Building upon the riches of their first collaboration, Streams of Thought, Roach and Wollo team up once again to shake the
electronic firmament loose and rebuild its infrastructure from the ground up. One of the biggest differences first noticed on
their wonderful The Road Eternal is the duration of the pieces therein; jettisoning the prior recordings episodic, albeit
involving, construct for longer works allows the duos gorgeously crafted and intricate structures room to breathe.
The title track alone benefits greatly from this approach; Roach and Wollo ratchet up the atmosphere layer upon layer,
a spiky, modulated sequence pulses and grows, until the background becomes foreground, splaying vivid brushstrokes of
tincture and hue across the stereofield. Comparisons are meaningless here, analogues moot: the duos unique sound
patterns approximate little else that currently acts as vogue along any contemporary genre continuum. On "Depart at
Sunrise", cinemascopic strings signal the great, dawning expanse of past epochs, ripples of melancholia soon pierced by
strangely arcing tones and cooing sequencer amidst a record abundant with compelling sounds, this is one of the duos
best works. "First Twilight" and the closing "Night Strands" (great title!) work their nocturnal jones more through the
underbrush, soft, scuttling noises glowing like phosphorescent plankton in the wake of a dark sea, synths mimicking
foghorns that cycle through the pitch black. What light then blossoms out becomes quite revealing indeed, illuminating
The Road Eternal as another superfine work from its stalwart creators.
- DARREN BERGSTEIN
Musique Machine (USA):
"The Road Eternal" offers up an enjoyable and rewarding mixture of: expansive ambience, soaring atmospheric guitar textures,
lite-techno ambient beat scapes, and genreal melodic & atmospheric ambient electronics.
The album brings together highly respected US ambient artist Steve Roach with Norwegian mood maker & ambient guitar scaper Erik Wøllo for their second collaboration following 2008s "Stream Of Thought". Each track on offer here sees the pair weaving together a wonderful partnership of build and receding beats scapes, analogue and digital synths textures, and felt to soaring processed guitar / guitar synths textures.
The album offers up six tracks in all and each track lasts between the four and a half minute to twenty one minutes a pieces; through most of the tracks hit near or around the ten minute mark - so the pair get chance to nicely explore their melodic and atmospheric themes, and the listener gets time to get nicely submerge in the tracks unfold & ebb.
Most of the tracks here have some beat based electronic or subtle ethno rytmic element present, and these nicely drift in and out of the tracks structures. Through there are a few purely synth and processed guitar tracks that nicely add contrast & more subtle mood making edge to the album as a whole.
There is nothing really experimental or edgy about "The Road Eternal", but if you enjoy well-made, melodic and atmospheric up-beat ambience & mellow beat ribbed electrioncia you will find a lot to enjoy here.
- Roger Batty
The Road Eternal is a new collaboration between American ambient wizard Steve Roach and Norways guitarist/electronic sound sculptor Erik Wøllo, and it presents their unique take on an age-old vision: the lure of the open road and what beckons us onward as we travel the back-road blacktops. Wielding a dazzling array of electronics, the duo crafts long excursions (the opening title track is a massive 21-plus minutes) into desolate yet beautiful electronic landscapes, seamlessly fusing frenetic, propulsive synthesizers and rhythms with melancholic, evocative ambient textures. By turns expansive and intimate, the album cries out to be played on moonlight rides.
- Bill Binkelman
THE AMBIENT MUSIC GUIDE (USA):
Year 2011: Ten great ambient and downtempo albums.
Synthesist Roach meets guitarist Wollo and The Road Eternal is the delightful result. The album is full of gentle
and colour and is something of a showcase for the subtle rhythmic complexity possible in sequencer-based music,
its percussion patterns being more intricate and intriguing then typical old-school Berlin ambient trance despite the clear
lineage. The widescreen harmonies are deep, warm and rich; Wollo's synthesised guitar phrasing on tracks like "The Next
Place" and "Travel By Moonlight" is especially tender and haunting.
Needless to say, it's a good album for long trips in the car.
- Mike G.
The Road Eternal is the second intercontinental collaboration between renowned American synthesist Steve Roach and one of the finest musicians in the European electronic music scene, Norwegian guitarist Erik Wollo.
The album contains six lengthy pieces. While Roach develops his characteristic hypnotic electronic ambiance, percussion and creative sequences, Wollo contributes mesmerizing melodies and patterns with his processed electric guitars and guitar
Wollo and Roach bring their difference perspectives and environments to the music. Whereas Steve Roach lives in the
expansive desert southwest of the United States, Wollo has his home in the land of majestic fjords and mountain rivers.
“We are both passionate about the observation of nature and the poetic character of natural surroundings,” says Wollo.
“The ways in which we relate to this, as well as the awareness of the ongoing passage of time. These ideas have been a
driving force behind our whole artistic careers, and it is strongly reflected in this collaboration.”
“In our music,” indicates Roach, “a central pulse and steady momentum is present. The sensation is a consistent feeling of travel. Whether you’re driving, flying, riding a train or some other form of transportation, the sound and vibration enters your body and becomes part of the meditation of the travel experience. Listening to these tracks while traveling allows the music to merge with the experience arriving at an integrated place where thoughts and imagination are unified as a soundtrack for one’s own road movie. The metaphor of ‘the road eternal in the creative process’ is the other element of the album title:
the road the artist travels with the allure of discovering what is next around the corner.”
Erik Wollo and Steve Roach started to work on The Road Eternal at the beginning of 2010. The final sessions took place in
the fall of the same year, when Wollo traveled to Tucson (Arizona) to play at the SoundQuest Fest. After the concert, the two musicians finalized their ideas in Steve Roach’s famed The Timeroom Studio. The sessions lasted several days. “This is the music I have wanted to create with Erik since I first heard his classic Traces release way back in the 80′s,” says Roach.
The Road Eternal exhibits the talent of two of electronic music’s most recognizable masters. It is another excellent ambient-trance album to add to your collection.