roche Stillhope (12", £10.95)label: 100% Silk
San Fran synth sensei Ben Winans, a.k.a. Roche, ventures further into his arcane hardware labyrinths on Stillhope, his second slab of mind-wired Pacific house for 100% Silk. As always, there’s a great sense of spaciousness and flow, coastal fog billowing around Alcatraz and over Land’s End, invisible currents taking control. “Stillhope” and “The Medicine” skew more toward the hazed and zen, cliffside smoke seances rendered through samplers and circuitry, percussion patterns ghosting under hidden lunar cycles, while “Change” brings back the bass, riding an acid-funked electric slide into a chorus of street soul chanting. Closer “Theme for Ikaros” leaves the Bay (and Earth) behind, a techno spy theme for hijacking a distant moon base, filtered arpeggios ramping the suspense against a steady stalker’s pulse until it all dissolves in dubby echoes, a stark clap and a sample whispering about “the essence of life.” Even in deepest space, there’s Stillhope.
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