Having been a lover of astronomy, science fiction, and all things dealing with the cosmos since I was but a wee lad, and also having always been a lover of music, my musical life has been a never-ending search for the so-called "perfect space album." What is a "space album"" Why, it is a work of art that captures the essence of space, but just what is the essence of space" Space is infinite. Endless. Sprawling. Suffocating. Humbling. Moving. The list goes on, and as such, it is hard to find albums that meet the criteria. Throughout the decades as a fan of ambient, electronic, and progressive music that boldly attempts to channel the nature of the cosmos, there are only a few albums that I find suitable for what I call my hallucinogenic space voyages. Every so often I will trip alone and meditate to an album that channels the essence of space while I sit underneath my sunroof and observe the great unknown. The Magnificent Void
is one of the albums that makes the cut for this ritual.
Steve Roach has always been one of the ambient overlords - someone who never fails to channel the intricacies of what makes life on this planet so wonderful, for that is what so-called "new age" music is about. It is life affirming, but Roach's career up to this point had been stationed on the ground, so to speak. Uplifting, moving, delightful, but he had not tackled the cosmos in the haunting manner in which Tangerine Dream had, or Ridley Scott when he made Alien
. On The Magnificent Void
Roach lives up the title by capturing the suffocating darkness of space on one disc.
I must stress that this is dark
ambient. Although it is sheer bliss to listen to with great headphones in the dark on acid or mushrooms (or sober), it is the only album in the world besides Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother
which I permit to be played before using DMT. Music can be more than background music for jogging - it is the essence of humanity expressed in the most universal way possible, and sometimes this beauty can be used as an aid for getting a glimpse deep within one's inner psyche. Ignore Tyson - rationality is no religion. Embrace it, but learn when to trust your feelings, and accept that there are times when only love can steer you right.
This album has taught me a great deal, and it could not have been difficult to make - Roach seems to effortlessly let loose these life-altering sonic soundscapes as if it were nobody's business! This is inspiring. Although I am moved by the odd time signatures and dazzling solos unleashed by your Zappas and your Fripps and your McLaughlins, I shed more than a tear or two when I peak on psychedelics and the simplistic beauty of a piece like "Altus" or the title track simply washes over me, encompassing my entire body like swimming in a comfortable river as a pot brownie kicks in - you all know the feeling I describe. It can feel like I am wearing Roach's The Magnificent Void
as if it were the warmest and most comfortable blanket - a sonic snuggie, if you will.