Steve Roach - Dreamtime Return (1988)
A timeless masterpiece. When I first listened to it for the first time like 5 years ago or so, I thought it was just fine, but now I was astonished at how much I loved this record this time around, one of my all-time favorites for sure. I thoroughly cherished the analog texture in its full glory and the sophistication of the instrumentation which dexterously blends tribal elements with classical 1980s ambient. The Berlin school influences, which sometimes manifest themselves in an excessively heavy-handed manner on his first two albums, are still apparent here and there, but they never overwhelm the overall ambient flavor of this record which is absolutely languorous, sensuous and truly beautiful. I still adore Structures from Silence for its minimal simplicity as well as its luscious sound (it might be the warmest, most analog album I’ve ever listened to - a pure earcandy, kind of makes you feel as though you were wearing a comfy sweater), but in terms of pure variety, Dreamtime Return is a way more sophisticated and expansive release. Heck, the mere fact that this ambient album keeps your attention for 2 effing hours is truly astonishing and a real testament to Roach’s capabilities as a musician and a composer.