“Dust to Dust” is a 61-minute trip into sonic desert terrain, a concept album about people who decided to go west, travel though the vast and remorseless desert and the mythology of the the west both now and a hundred years ago.
It sees Steve Roach collaborate with Roger King, the guy who did all the mastering of his releases until then, while it also fulfilled one of Steve longtime wishes: working with a guitarist whose sound was more acoustic while staying true to the pure sound of the instrument. No trace of any didgeridoo on this more song-structured, Western soundtrack-infused recording, which Steve replaced for a harmonica (an instrument he played quite often in the years before he was infected by synths).
Roger’s impetus as a guitarist is immediately felt on the first few pieces before shifting into the lush, repetitive form and patterns on “Ribbon Rails of Promise”. Later on, “Lost and forgotten” captures the uncanny sphere of a Western ghost city. Despite drifting ambient atmospherics showing up all over the album, the narrative and at times drama-kindred music of “Dust to Dust” remains quirky, strange and unusual for a Roach-release.
To appreciate it, one should like a good dose of twangy guitar while also being able to tune into a unique western tonality.
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