steve roach

In all his endeavors, Steve Roach creates music that exists outside conventional boundaries. This composer, producer, synthesist and multi–instrumentalist is restless in his search for new sounds that connect with an ancient source of truth in this ever changing world.

Roach has earned his position in the international pantheon of major new music artists over the last decade through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation,and open–minded collaborations with numerous artists and the psychological depth of his music. Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, he has released numerous albums since 1981, including the double CD Dreamtime Return (18055-2), which received a perfect 10 out of 10 rating in CD Review magazine.

Roach’s music described by critic Dwight Loop, as "techno tribal music for the global village," blends the visceral sounds he designs on synthesizers and samplers with the primordial rhythms of ethnic percussion and other exotic instruments, including the Australian didgeridoo. He studied these traditional techniques and made his own instrument with Aboriginal didgeridoo master, David Hudson, during two extended trips to the continent. Roach also scored music for a PBS documentary on the rock art of the Dreamtime (the foundation of Aboriginal mythology) and recorded indigenous artists for the critically–acclaimed release Australia: Sound of the Earth (17071-2).

Roach’s solo recording, Origins (17081-2), further blurs the lines between the ancestral and the futuristic in highly evocative ways. Through a powerful series of interlocking compositions, the sophistication of Roach’s electronic style artfully merges with his growing proficiency on percussion, voice, didgeridoo, and other ethnic instruments as he takes listeners back in time to the roots of musical expression. Origins also features several special guests, including Mexican percussionist, Jorge Reyes, and Spanish guitarist, Suso Saiz. Roach has been touring and recording with the two artists extensively over the last few years.

A tireless producer and collaborator, Roach recently produced Woolunda: Tens Solos for Didgeridoo (13071-2), the first digital compact disc recording of solo didgeridoo music, featuring David Hudson. The summer of 1993 saw another production, featuring Native American flutist, Perry Silverbird. According to Down Beat, listening to Roach’s music is like following "a reliable musical muse into a dark, hypnotic realm that wafts of mysticism instead of marketing" but, then again, Roach has always followed his instincts rather than any preconceived notions of what would sell. His uncompromising approach has been rewarded with a steadily growing audience worldwide.

The stark red–rock landscapes of Australia that inspired some of Roach’s finest work have much in common with the American Southwest, which has also influenced the composer’s music. While living in Los Angeles, the San Diego native released two groundbreaking albums inspired by the desert regions. The respected United Kingdom music magazine, Q, hailed Western Spaces (17051-2) as one of the "finest electronic albums of the decade" with a five-star rating.

In 1989, Desert Solitaire (17070-2) paid homage to the Edward Abbey book by the same title, and inadvertently became a memorial to the author when Abbey died shortly after the music was recorded. According to JAZZIZ magazine, Desert Solitaire successfully tapped "into the melancholic, psychological depths of the desert, ‘the grandeur of the terrible,’ as Abbey put it, with music that swirls and whispers." In 1990, Roach moved to the Sonoran desert just outside of Tucson, Arizona, to be closer to this powerful source of inspiration. There he released another monumental double CD, World's Edge (18057-2), which includes the hour–long epic To the Threshold of Silence, a subtle, slowly evolving composition that has been widely appreciated for its "keen understanding of the nuance of sound" (i/e).

As one of the few electronic–based artists performing live consistently for over 10 years, Roach’s engagements have taken him from concert halls in the United States, Canada, and Europe to lava caves in the Canary Islands and volcanic craters in Mexico. These exotic settings have helped him further define his style, a sonic vision that thrives beyond categories, national boundaries, cultural barriers, and quite often, time itself.


"This is serious, important instrumental music, certainly worthy of deep listening. Down Beat

"The music seems to rise up from the very earth itself, swelling and sweeping around majestic and ancient land forms, the mystical red rocks of both the American Southwest and the Australian outback. Santa Fe New Mexican

"Australia: Sound of the Earth (17071-2) is an important album which seems to know no barriers—It is world music, ambiance, traditional music and electronics all blended together in a powerful and innovative mix." Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

"Steve Roach traces the common threads of information technology and primitive culture." Pulse!

"Roach demonstrates that electronic music’s greatest potential lies in bringing our most elusive dreams and ancient memories into focus through potent, highly imaginative soundscapes." CD Review

"In and through his sublime, emotional music, longtime electronic music composer and performer Steve Roach has brought the task of programming his synthesizers and sequencers to a new level—art." Music Technology

"Amazingly, no matter how many releases Steve Roach produces each year, his music never suffers. Roach consistently delivers the goods." Synthesis

"In an era where mainstream contemporary music is both benign and banal, his style is divergent and appealing—the epitome of the current new music revolution." Sound & Image

"The album breaths heat, the scorching breath of that red and rainless land, its built on a bedrock of unearthly ambiance that would make even the most fearless and skeptical traveler move closer to the fire." Sonics