Steve Roach

Light Fantastic

by Benn Joseph


Steve Roach seems to be a very eccentric person. Not only does he have dozens (literally) of albums, but they’re all significantly different. He doesn’t just work in this type of electronica-sounding music, but works along a whole spectrum of what he likes to call “fractal grooves,” in reference to the patterns-within-patterns structure integral to chaos theory in physics. I have to admit, this spectrum shows on Light Fantastic and I really enjoy it.

The first song, “Trip the Light,” is very edgy. It’s like the notes are afraid to be heard, so when they are it’s hard and fast, like they’re trying to get the song over with. It really gives you a lot of energy, just listening, so it’s probably great dance music.

cover art

Steve Roach

Light Fantastic


It’s interesting how the whole album works, though. There is this transition that takes place as the songs progress. They become more and more mellow, so by the time you reach “The Luminous Return” (last track) you have to wait at least a minute before you can even hear anything. However, I can’t seem to express enough the fact that this doesn’t happen all at once. It’s smooth and slow, and you can’t even tell its happening. It creeps up on you like an evil drug that feels like taking its time, gently blanketing your consciousness in imperceptible increments.

Steve’s main influence is Philip Glass, though he’s also heavily influenced by some of the German ‘70s synth musicians like Tangerine Dream and Michael Hoenig. Roach’s website is chock full of entertainment. He writes so much about each album that he’s done, so you really get a feeling that you’re up on what he’s trying to do. You can also listen to the entire album through Real Audio or by downloading MP3s, so it’s easy to decide whether you want to buy it. His address is, and I definitely recommend going there to listen to some of this stuff. But keep this in mind: the album is an experience, and it’s hard to get that if you don’t listen to it all the way through!

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