This article, written by Nick Zanca, appeared on Reverb, June 13 2022. You can find the original article here. Please note that all (c) are with Reverb & its authors.
“One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing,” writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote. “Yet through the silence, something throbs, and gleams…”
Over the years, several artists and producers have sought out sonic inspiration from that same solitude of the desert, but few are more attuned to its landscapes—and how to transform space into sound—than Grammy-nominated veteran synthesist and ambient music pioneer Steve Roach.
Steve Roach at Church Of The Heavenly Rest, NYC, June 2022. Photos by Julia Drummond.
As a young motocross racer in Southern California in the early 1970s, Roach was immersed in progressive electronic music through listening to the likes of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. He began collecting synthesizers shortly after, and at the turn of the next decade embarked on a musical journey fixated on space, silence, and the suspension of time.
My personal introduction to Roach’s craft was through his seminal 1984 record Structures From Silence, a classic of ambient music that entered my life shortly after moving to New York. Consisting of three longform compositions that cultivate drifting drones and transcendental textures, it arguably remains the closest an electronic musician has gotten to getting their synthesizers to sound like they’re breathing.
“These instruments have so much potential for expression and subtlety,” Roach explained during an in-person interview on the eve of his premiere performance in NYC, held at the Church Of The Heavenly Rest overlooking Central Park. “What are you going to say with that—are you going to say it just for the sake of saying you got some really cool gear or you just got ten more modules? Taking in the outside world and using that to create a sense of expanse—that’s a whole lifetime of expression.”
Over the course of our two-hour conversation held at a midtown Manhattan pub next to his hotel, we took a deep dive into his four-decade-plus prolific production career, his relationship to the concept of immersion and the New Age genre, and his travels to aboriginal Australia as documented on his 1988 masterpiece Dreamtime Return. We also discuss all kinds of synthesizers and hardware—ranging from Oberheim’s early polysynths to Eurorack modules—and how his rig has changed over the years.
Stay up to date with Steve Roach on his Bandcamp page.
Steve Roach – Live In Phoenix, Arizona – February 6th, 2020
Welcome to New York, Steve.
Thanks, it’s great to be here.
I speak on behalf of several local synth nerds, record store heads and ambient-adjacent musicians when I say we are all highly anticipating tomorrow’s Ambient Church show. I was surprised to learn that this show has been billed as your premiere performance in the city. What took you so long?
I guess it was just the right time and space and promoter. I was playing in Philadelphia for years with the scene going on there—between John Diliberto’s Echoes radio show on WXPN, and Chuck Van Zyl’s program Star’s End that have been going on for 35 years or something. But it’s always a matter of the right person, the right situation. And then Brian Sweeny, who started the Ambient Church series, had recognized that I’d never played here before.
Right before the pandemic, a week before I was to fly out, boom, it all shut down. So during that whole period, I shifted over to live streaming concerts out of my house… but in terms of here, New York City, there’s no clear cut explanation for never playing. Typically where I go is where I get invitations, I don’t pursue things. I toured Europe for 12 years pretty consistently—it’s a great deal of infrastructure going into logistics and behind that… flying gear, arranging stuff, all about that.
Well, two years later, here we are.
Yeah, I’m absolutely excited—what better venue and incredible space? Creating music for venues like this is a whole other consideration—by the time I get there, I feel like I’ve already been playing there… but then you get there and have to be able to adapt to it quickly. For this show, they’re separating it into three multi-channel zones because of the narrowness of the church. The first half is going to be four speakers. The second half is another zone with four speakers and then up in the balcony as well.
Damn, they’re hooking you up.
Yeah. It’s not surround because I typically work in stereo. I reverse the speakers in the rear and then I send material down in the subgroups and then that material gets moved around in the back. So it’s what I’ve always referred to as “poor man’s surround”—a quick way to get into that space without all the complexities of surrounding it.
Hopefully after a whole day of patching too, you’ve found your footing getting acclimated to the space.
Yeah, that happens relatively quickly—also alongside are the projected visuals, which are performed live with me. Since mixing is a big part of my live approach, I play the analog board like and instrument, This allows spontaneous shifts to happen instantly. There are infinite options to consider and adjust that playing in various spaces offer. Its a living breathing sonic experience in how everything comes together and blends as you’re performing. Then you have an audience filling the space up—
—and everything becomes an improvisation.
Right. And it’s an immediate adjustment and fine-tuning. There was another Ambient Church concert I played in Pasadena before the pandemic in 2019, it was sounding good, but I wasn’t feeling the sweet spot during the sound check. But when that church filled up… it was mind blowing what happened. At that point everything lifts off and then you just have a moment that reaffirms why we work so hard to go out and play live.
Let’s go back in time… you’re originally from La Mesa in Southern California. After spending your early years motocross racing and painting, you eventually discovered synthesizers. Tell me about those beginnings and what led you down that rabbit hole, so to speak.
Being a product of Southern California at that time meant a lot of space, a lot of time outside in nature, in desert, mountains, oceans—sometimes all in the same day. Having the freedom of growing up in that environment where you could move around, that sense of immersion… that was one of the earliest influences in terms of an aesthetic.
As a teenager, I listened to a lot of the progressive electronic music of that time, and eventually worked at a small independent record store of that time where import records would come in every week. We’d tear open the boxes and out comes the first releases of Klaus Schulze albums, Tangerine Dream, the early Eno stuff. At that time it was so mysterious—it seemed like these guys had been around for 100 years. It lit me up.
It was exactly the feeling I was looking for in music and was not finding it. I was finding a bit of it in early progressive music, but the extended sections and the more immersive zones you’d hear at the beginning of Close To The Edge by Yes, or Floyd’s Ummagumma, which really, again, equated back to being immersed in incredible desert environments. The silence and intensity of nature became something I wanted to express and translate into sound.
Synthesizers were just becoming affordable. One thing led to another and I wrote Klaus Schulze a letter, and he wrote me back. I talked about having an ARP2600 and the Micromoog and he asked me if I had an echo machine… it just took off from that point. It was all about getting the gear and just cloistering yourself away and just clocking in hours after hours after hours… you hear a guitarist wood shedding for six years and then come out and, boom, there it is.
Tell me more about your early rig—other than the ARP and the Micromoog, what were some of the other first pieces of gear that you acquired?
The very first thing I ever put my hands on was the Roland SH-3A—at that point, Roland was just starting to import, they were one of the few games in town that were affordable. You could go to the local music store and just see it, dream about it, wish for it, and then get a 25% interest loan and then buy it, which is what I did as a working-class guy.
I also got a Vox Continental combo organ. I would get fishing weights and put them on the keys as a hold button to create drones. From there, I quickly just said, “I want the whole full package” which was the ARP2600, a sequencer, the MicroMoog and an ARP String Ensemble. I got another super high interest loan and got it all at once. And then that was it. I was in the center of the universe…
…cooking with gas.
Yeah. Just learning, teaching myself, listening to the music. What attracted me to Klaus Schulze’s is that he could be alone in a room and just create a universe of material. You’re not working with a band with all the personalities of that dynamic. Combine that with being an only child, it was easy for me to be alone and I craved it. Maybe some only children would want to be around people, but fortunately for me, I just wanted to be around the machines.
Was there a record that you heard that became a catalyst for you to park the bike, so to speak, and pursue synthesis as your preoccupation?
Timewind. That was two 30 minute sides squeezed onto an LP… it’s still timeless in terms of the interlacing of all these sequencer patterns and just the way it would create this very expanded state of awareness while letting you drift out. That was pivotal—I always referred to that as the album that turned all the lights on in the room: once they’re on, off you go. Many folks were of course doing acid at the time… I was doing a lot of Timewind!
What better gateway drug?
Yeah. That’s it. And we see where the gateway leads…
On the subject of side-length pieces, let’s get into Structures From Silence. In the original liner notes, you speak about the production of the title track as a process of living with the music, playing it on a loop through your daily life, adjusting it as you saw fit before cutting it to tape. I’d like you to describe, if you can, your studio space in LA at the time while this music was on constant repeat.
Here we fast forward maybe three or four years. At that point, I’ve become woven into the electronic music community in Los Angeles. They were all graduates from CalArts who had studied under Morton Subotnick, but there were also the people who started Synapse Magazine, one of the first electronic music magazines at the time. I met up with those guys and quickly became part of their tribe.
I was younger and didn’t come from an academic background, but they recognized my born-again synthesist glare in my eye. I just wanted to be around the gear. I was working at another record store, the Licorice Pizza across from Whiskey A Go Go.
Eventually I was able to move out of Hollywood and out into Culver City, which is still right in the hub but a little more quiet. I was in an area built originally for the film editors at the studios there at Hal Roach Studios, which became MGM. So I had this little bungalow, probably 600 square feet with little rooms—it was like a gingerbread house. In the main bedroom was my system from San Diego that came with me.
This was right at the beginning of Oberheim and I was meeting up with the guys that worked there. An OB-Xa was an immense amount of money, but somehow I got my hands on it—it was like getting the most incredible Stradivarius violin from Europe. I just lived for that sound.
There’s really nothing like it.
Yeah. I had the good fortune of being in that community—Tom Oberheim would come to the little concerts we would do. It’s like when you’re in a certain village, you’re going to want to eat the food that’s grown locally. It was a cool feeling that you’re playing a synth that was made like seven miles away. I was finally able to have this fully polyphonic instrument that you could program—unlike the ARP String Ensemble, which is beautiful but only has about five or six sounds.
With the Oberheim, I was really able to really tune into a timbral voice that I felt was mine and was playing with the harmonic structures I could pull out of it. I soon migrated from the OB-Xa to the OB-8 with the DSX eight-track sequencer, which you could record into non-quantized—that’s what I recorded Structureswith. You could just improvise and play, then loop it and have it play back at you. Then you could dial in the filters and change all the aspects of attack and delay… just build the sound to where it’s just completely dialed into this diaphanous, breathing, living space.
For a couple of months, the bedroom was filled with gear and I would sleep out in the living room on a rollaway while the thing was running all day at night. I’d wake up at 2AM and drop the tempo down like two or three points and just get even sweeter, then I’d live with that for a while.
Eventually I had the opportunity to go into a recording studio. At that point I had a TEAC 3340 four-track recorder that I was recording onto, but a friend of mine was working at a studio in Santa Monica, and we went in after hours. It had a Lexicon 224, which was absolutely the godhead of reverbs at that point. I took the system in and I had Structures already basically recorded in a sequencer, so I took in a second OB-8 I borrowed from a friend and then layered it in just really subtly in there, which I haven’t really talked about much in interviews, but that was just something that as another very subtle layer of depth, I would bring it in maybe 15 minutes into the track.
Is that some of the higher-end stuff?
Well, it’s ghosting what was played on my original OB-8, but then I would bring that in and it would just be like another layer of the same patch, but it would just expand it out a bit. That’s when I discovered the subtlety once you’ve recorded the initial material—but it’s still live. You can manipulate everything while it’s recording and you orchestrate your own creation at that level. That method of doing things is part of my approach now.
The opening track, “Reflections In Suspension”, was recorded live onto Nakamichi cassette. Michael Stearns lived a couple miles away in Culver City and he had a Eventide H949 Harmonizer—we used that to get a little bit more stereo field on it, added a bit more verb on it, that sort of thing. Generally, I don’t really go in and start layering one track at a time—I like to do it all live. You get loops and sequences running and you’re interfacing it like a conductor.
t’s fascinating to hear you frame the production process this way, going back to this idea of living with the music. When it comes to the current discourse around ambient music, there’s often a lot of talk about how listeners utilize it as a sonic supplement to the workday or as “home listening”—but here you were, immersed in the same thing before it’s even cut to tape.
Yeah… in the early 2000s, I started this Immersion series—you hear the word “immersion” being thrown around a lot—but it came from the evolution of what we just talked about with Structures, but there’d be more layers: loopers on half-speed, analog synth stuff gurgling in there, unfolding and generating over days.
I’ve done a workshop piece about using immersive music to create a space. If you have it running in your home all the time and you come home from being outside and it’s there, it’s like a zen fountain that you can fine-tune to your own frequency. I’ve helped a lot of people fill a prescription for them in that sense, even environmental sounds or something to help create that sense of another space and time that’s really supportive in your living environment to help take away the noise. The intensity of noise and the noise pollution right now is just unbelievable… how loud the world is getting…
I agree. I’m also glad that you mentioned the more environmental aspect—because not long after Structures, you released Quiet Music, an environmental trilogy still used in the context of several wellness and healing practices. How was this series conceived, and could you describe how you might sonically distinguish each of the three releases from each other?
In LA at that time, “new age” as a term was just completely blowing up. Structures had just come out and became really co-opted by the new age crowd for the reasons of what the music held. We always wrestled with that term, but it wasn’t a problem to me—whatever people wanted to call it.
Quiet Music came originally from a man who wanted to create pieces for a wellness environment. He was already moving in that direction and I understood that immediately. He had video footage of the desert and blooming wildflowers and wanted me to create something for it… and then that segued into someone else wanting to commission music for yoga practices. At that time though, I was already not licensing Structures or letting it out into that world. I was very protective of it in that way and just did not want to take it to a place where it wasn’t intended to be. So creating new material for these situations seemed best. So the first disc grew out of that.
The second disc—those were more freestanding shorter pieces, like sonic paintings or photographs. The pieces started to inform each other and before long you realize they’re all connected. The third disc was moving towards creating music for meditation that grew out of those other inquiries—more importantly for me, creating an environment for sleep. I was already using it myself and saw the success of it.
I’ve met a lot of younger adults that have told me their parents put those records on when they were born, and at the same time I’ve met families who would play that for family members in their final days before they left the earth, that sort of thing. I’m grateful that those records can work for people on either side of life—even the middle.
In that context, it’s like a sonic heirloom.
Yeah, that’s beautiful.
The end of the 80s saw you shift focus from deep space to physical landscape with Dreamtime Return, a double album influenced by your travels to Australia, your immersion in aboriginal culture and the anthropological concept of the ‘dreamtime’. Listening to this record again while I was on the train on the way over here, it struck me as an abstract travelog in how you pair electronics with didjeridu and various percussion instruments that evoke the region. I’d love to touch on these travels briefly and then tie it back to the production process.
Okay. So from the whole infrastructure of how it came together, my friend David Stahl was a nature photographer, adventure photographer. He was driving from Florida to Mexico and he heard Structures on the radio. For him it was one of those moments of epiphany—”Oh my God, what’s this music?”
He was writing a script and preparing this documentary called Art of the Dreamtime. While he’s doing that, I’m in my studio in Culver City. This was really before the idea of going to Australia came in, but it was from just getting early seeds planted from Peter Weir’s film The Last Wave, that sort of thing. David contacted me and it was one of those synchronistic moments. He goes, “Well, do you want to go to Australia?” And I said, “When do we leave?”
David was being funded by Ball State University for this documentary on Aboriginal rock art. I got to go along as the composer and to be part of the actual journey—it was the first time I was out of the country. We flew into Northern Australia up in Cape York, and we were dropped off in Aboriginal sites that very few Western people had seen, places only the guys that had explored them and discovered them had been to. He took us there to film it for the first time, and I was documenting it with a high-end Sony Walkman—capturing bird sounds, playing rocks and against rocks, just gathering a sonic travelog of elemental sounds from that whole experience.
Did any of that stuff make the record?
It did. It’s in there, there’s textures woven in there. Before leaving to go there, the anticipation really accelerated again, like I was saying about transporting yourself into the cathedrals before the gigs. I was already there for six weeks in a sense before leaving.
The opening track “Towards The Dream” came before I left—we were on the little six seat plane flying into the Outback, I played that on headphones as we were coming in. I just started weeping—it was just so fulfilling, you’re really moving in time. You’ve already projected yourself there, but then you’re actually doing it and hearing it. The next thing you know I’m recording a swarm of bees inside of a eucalyptus tree.
Two weeks later, I met with David Hudson, one of the prime didgeridoo players in that region in Cairns, at one of his performances. I recorded him playing a couple days later for the album—I didn’t even know how I was going to use it at that point, but I had the little cassette Walkman, and we’re just there at his house. All of that added to the whole just unbelievable unfoldment of destiny. It just felt like it was bigger than I could ever conceive. After I gathered all of this inspiration that was stored inside of me, then I got back to California, and was like a madman with the canvas painting and recording. The whole album unfolded from there.
So upon arriving back, how did you go about depicting these sites sonically?
So I had those audio recordings that were like imprints, or triggers to put me into those spaces. I brought back dirt, and I brought back rocks, and I brought back textural stuff from those locations in order to take me back to the headspace of being there. I had photographs. I would have it all spread around the studio and then I’d have the stuff playing. So that’s where the creative process would just start to take off. At that point, I had an E-mu Emax II sampler, so I was sampling material into that guy and building chord structures off those.
It was like scoring a film that was running inside my head. They had filmed a documentary there, but I hadn’t seen any footage, and anyways I was much more inspired by what I was carrying with me. They had people on film being interviewed about this and that. That track “The Magnificent Gallery” for example, we were at a 200-foot rock wall. We walked down and saw hundreds and hundreds of years of Aboriginal rock paintings that continued to be painted over and over—layers of time and human presence, people that have come and gone—all that stuff came home with me and inexplicably got translated into music.
Around the millennium, your output takes a slight left turn, the sound becomes darker and thicker, arguably more digital, you start experimenting with further extremes in extended duration—I’m thinking of records like The Magnificent Void and Mystic Chords And Sacred Spaces. There’s an upgrade in detail and a wider range of sound sources in this era of your output. At this point, were there any fundamental changes to the rig?
At that point, you’re evolving and fine-tuning the studio and recording process—I am still 100% hardware, so I use the computer for recording but I do all my processing through boards. The fundamental pallette from the beginning for me has been Soundcraft boards from pretty much after I graduated from the early Tascam stuff. I started with a Soundcraft Series 200 and then used that all the way up to a Delta 8 and Series 6000. That was a very high-end board that I was able to get at an amazing price from a guy in Tucson.
Early on, I was recording with Tascam reel-to-reels and eight-tracks up through the very early ’90s and then migrated to the gold standard ADATs, two of those linked up together and suffered through that whole deal, though they did sound great. I remember having them staged out for The Dream Circle where one would tell the other one to start at the end of 45 minutes—could record a 70-minute atmosphere without having to glue it together somehow in the B.C. era before a computer.
As a child of the ’90s, I have no frame of reference.
Lucky you! Through needing to create these long form pieces in a multi-track situation, you could imagine you’ve got eight tracks on one ADAT and eight tracks on another, and then somewhere down in the middle there they meet. You’re doing this lugubrious sinking of these two worlds, tracking that eventually. Then, when you finally are looking at a computer screen and then you can see hours of stuff. The technology was certainly helping to evolve the sonic impact with the upgraded technology, with the effects processors of Eventide and Lexicon as a foundation.
I was also starting to shift towards having my own label with Timeroom Editions. I’ve honestly never created any album where I felt like I turned it into a record company and I had to wait for approval. I’ve always approached it as doing what I’m doing—if you like this, you can put it out at that point.
Before having my own label, right when the internet was starting to empower artists and remove the predatorial labels from the picture, you had this incredible explosion of pure expression that tore the rearview mirror off. I was supported and grateful for the record deals along the way that helped me get to that point, but also could feel like Gulliver being tied down. And so I cut all that. And then once that was cut, there was this ability to naturally let all of this stuff start flowing out. Self-releasing helps you build this agility to work between all these different worlds without being concerned about self-judgment—that in itself is the motivator.
Let’s push closer to the present: in the past decade, I’m told that you began building an extensive modular synth and sequencer system. You’ve also been prolifically active on Bandcamp, putting out work where you’re revisiting your Berlin School roots. What was the impetus for this construction process, and what’s it been like to return to that said sound as a more seasoned synthesist?
I was exploring Eurorack in the late ’90s and really the only game in town was this guy Douglas Wagner somewhere in the Midwest who was importing Doepfer hardware. He was eager to get people to try it out, he’d send it to you in a rack to try it out without buying it—I first bought an MAQ 16/3 sequencer from him, and he was the only guy in the US really bringing in stuff in.
I wasn’t completely taken over by Eurorack at first. I had a two-rack system, but I was still so drawn into the big collection of modules, I still had the Oberheim pieces, the Xpanders, all of that. Eventually the Eurorack started to evolve and that drew me in. In the early 2000s, I started building a Eurorack system, and by about 2006, there were still maybe half a dozen manufacturers at that time. It wasn’t anywhere near what we’re looking at now, which is just unbelievable.
I could have probably paid a house off by this time—and that’s why we call it “eurocrack”. But I love Eurorack, it’s more surgical and delicate. It can do more sequencer type stuff, but it’s different than the dotcom format. People refer to the difference in sound coming from the power supplies being more robust. When you hear the raging bass coming out of that stuff on a big system…
Again, there’s nothing like it.
Nothing like it. When Roger Arrick came out with the Synthesizer.com format in the late ’90s, modeled after the Moog Modular—he made it so affordable and so elegant. If you took the size of a three-voice dotcom versus Eurorack, you could carry it on the plane, but with the other system you’re going to need your small SUV or something to move it along.
When I came back around to the Dotcom format, a friend of mine had that format and I saw what was involved there. I started seeing more modules coming in from Moon Modular out of Germany and the evolution of sequencers was coming in big time. Around 2012, I could see that for an affordable system I could build up without compromise and finally have this system that I was inspired by from the early Berlin School days. It really empowered me to build the ultimate dream system—and it’s very different from Eurorack. The performance aspect of the Dotcom stuff allows me to build some deep patches and weave your way through a set.
Having worked with sequencer music for 40 years—to have that in my hands now was a major paradigm shift—Skeleton Keys is the album that just blew the door open on that, and from there came the whole range of albums that for me really transcended Berlin School. That term is a reference point for so many folks who draw the sequencer music, but as an art form, that’s why I chose this “Skeleton Keys” term.
Sequencers themselves create so many options through their limitations—it creates music that you can’t arrive at any other way; it’s the key that opens that door, exploring the labyrinth of complex patterns. The fact that the old has become new again, new and stable, and affordable was really the big piece there—it’s great to see it getting more and more popular. Early on it came out, many people looked at it as something for guys that grew up with Keith Emerson or an older approach, but it’s beyond that.
Yeah, I think that stereotype has melted away by now. Tell us more about the work you’ll be presenting tomorrow. You had said over email you’re working with a more travel-friendly rig—how do you approach live performance and structuring a set?
It’s pretty much remained the same through the years—mapping a dynamic journey, kind of like this interview. To let the audience move through a collective living dream space… that’s what I’ve always aspired to do live. To do that in a live set that’s a big challenge—you could come out and play two 45-minute drone pieces and that could be cool, but I’m driven to create this journey through these landscapes. There’s a kind of spontaneity—that’s the excitement of playing live, it’s not bound into any timeline.
The main core of the system… that’s what was challenging about flying with the way the world is right now. I used to fly twelve road cases to Europe—just pull up at the airport in Tucson, tip the guy off 200 bucks and he would show up on Dusseldorf with two Mackie 1604s built into one big case, an MPC 60, a Korg M1, Oberheim Xpander, just a full array of all that gear. I flew out here with eight cases flown in this week, but it’s not as intense now.
Steve Roach’s Live Rig
Steve Roach provided Reverb with the below list of synthesizers and hardware—his “portable rig”—that was used during his premiere performance in NYC at Church Of The Heavenly Rest on June 4th, 2022.
- Oberheim Xpander
- Korg Wavestation EX
- Emu E 5000 Ultra with Alesis controller
- Nord Lead 2X
- Nord Lead 3
- Nord Lead 4R
- Doepfer MAQ 16/3 Sequencer
- Korg Electribe ER-1
- Korg Electribe EA-1
- JSI Progue desktop module
- Eventide Space Reverb
- Eventide Timefactor Delay
- Lexicon PCM 70
- Line 6 Echo Pro
- Two 1010music Blackbox Compact Sampling Studios
I love the old stuff. If you put it in a new box and put a new name on it, they’d be selling out tomorrow. This is why Reverb is so cool—it keeps the stuff that we want there available.
You mentioned in our emails being an avid user of the site. Are there any particular standout purchases that have come to mind?
Man, well, I’d have to have the laptop here to look at the history. I usually buy and rebuy—I’ve never sold anything there yet. The Dave Smith Poly Evolver and the Mono Evolver—I did a lot of great work with those. Sometimes with the gear I’d buy, I’d hold onto it for a while then sell them to friends, so we’d keep it in a circle there. I recently picked up Gibson Echoplex, I do a lot with that style of looping. There’s just a long list of modular stuff coming in, one off modules, that kind of thing. Eurorack stuff, especially.
The thing about Reverb is so cool is that the community—many times there’s interaction with sellers. Whether they recognize my name or not, it makes no difference, but there’s just this quality of community and excitement about the gear. Sellers are friendly and supportive, and I haven’t had bad experiences and it doesn’t feel like there’s anything going on in the background.
You feel supported by Reverb itself in terms of how they support sales—you’re not going to be left out in the eBay wasteland of some deal that just went south. It came out at just the right time, especially with the modular world turning into something like baseball card trading.
Quite the endorsement! One last question to end on: as one of the progenitors of ambient or texture-based electronic music, I would love for you to riff on how you feel the genre and its listenership has evolved. Would you have advice for the current generation of music-makers immersed in this idiom as it reaches a new renaissance?
What better moment in time is there to be if you’re drawn towards sound as a living, breathing art form. This is an amazing moment that we’ll be looking back on like no other time I feel. The tools we have in our hands, the affordability of it, and then the challenge of what you’re going to do with it—the community that inspires worldwide between people…
I’m just out to feel that same feeling I had in 1977 when I heard Klaus—to have it bloom out to now and just feel like you can almost practically go to the corner market and get a new filter or a new module or somewhere. To honor it and to just create endlessly day and night, just immerse yourself in it, just do not draw a circle around what you think is going to be cool or not. Just completely unleash yourself into all of the potential that there is with all of this stuff. You do not have to satisfy anybody beyond your own aesthetic and your tribe when you’re empowering each other that way. How lucky are we?
How lucky are we—I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you so much, Steve.