Steve Roach is the Captain Nemo of space music, exploring the depths of electronic design, probing in those dark, submerged areas where few composers navigate.

Steve Roach is the Captain Nemo of space music, exploring the depths of electronic design, probing in those dark, submerged areas where few composers navigate. On this second collaboration with Chicago-based ambient composer Vir Unis (aka John Strate-Hootman), the duo follows up the trance grooves of its 1999 disc, Body Electric. Together, Roach and Unis are more rhythmic than when separated, but these aren't your standard electronica/drum'n'bass/trip-hop/jungle templates. This is more akin to a virtual African drum choir mutated into digital chips, locked in syncopated, polyrhythmic designs. Instead of setting toes tapping and heads nodding, such soundscapes seem tailor-made for outer-body experiences, especially with a mix tuned for headphone listening. The imagery of Blood Machine can be curdling, but the music may leave you levitating.—JD

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