Originally released in 1984, Structures from Silence
turned out to be one of Roach
's most successful and acclaimed releases over time; widely considered his breakout album where he found his own voice, it even made a list of Top Ten releases published in a magazine dedicated to yoga. Whether a listener uses it for that purpose or not, it does have to be said that Structures from Silence
is a lovely effort indeed. Its chief allure remains its transcendence of time -- while one can surmise, based on the sound of the record, its early-'80s vintage, it is not an obviously dated album in and of itself. Though Roach's approach changed and explored many new directions, there's a core aesthetic still at work, that of contrasting a variety of loops and repeated motifs with subtle melodic exploration. The interweaving of the two approaches, to the point where it's never quite clear what predominates at what point -- especially on opening track "Reflections in Suspension" -- makes for music both cyclic and open-ended. In the original liner notes, Roach himself spoke of hearing and working with the music for months before recording it; certainly, the depth of detail, from shimmering high notes and tones to semi-orchestral synth sweeps and low, purring drones, makes for lovely listening. All three tracks are equally worth hearing, but the longest is the title track itself; a tour de force. Spanning nearly half-an-hour's length, it's easily the most spacious of the compositions, with the exchange between structure and free-flow more pronounced but still making a fine, evocative listen. The influence of groups like Tangerine Dream
is still audible, but Structures from Silence
is its own notable peak, the first of many astonishing highlights for Roach.