Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence is one of my favorite ambient albums, if not my favorite. Containing barely any trace of melody or rhythm, it’s largely an exercise in pure sonic drift, with Roach conjuring and gently manipulating vast pools of shimmering, celestial sound. However, the album never feels cold or remote; a remarkable warmth and intimacy gracefully flows through its three compositions.
As a result, I find that it’s the perfect album for those times when I want to enter a more tranquil, contemplative state of mind, be it late night programming sessions or when I’m trying to subdue a migraine. As I wrote in my review of Structures From Silence’s 2001 remaster:
If you actively listen to Structures From Silence, you’ll quickly be distracted by something else. I can’t explain it, but by letting it sink into the background while doing something else — struggling with HTML code at work, reading a good book, or writhing in bed with a migraine — it has a way of coloring and suffusing that activity with added depth and color. Or, in the case of a migraine, comfort and relief.
Structures From Silence was originally released in 1984, and has since been regarded as one of Roach’s finest releases, as well as an album on par with Brian Eno’s landmark Music for Airports. To celebrate the album’s 30th anniversary, Roach and Projekt Records will be releasing a three-disc edition of the album. The first disc contains a remastered version of the original album based on the original analog tapes. The other two discs contain newly recorded pieces inspired by the original album. Or, as Roach puts it:
Over the years since the creation of Structures From Silence, certain pieces would emerge in the studio that instantly had the resonance of a direct relationship to the place that birthed this work back in 1984. As this anniversary approached — like the light slowing emerging in an early morning sunrise returning from a thirty year orbit — the desire to draw from this place of stillness, and deep inner quiet became the soul tone for these new pieces. Like the three original tracks, these were created in moments spent simply being present in the studio, tapping the flow state and guiding this sense into these recorded moments.
Listen to one of the new tracks, a thirty-minute piece titled “Reflection,” below.