Dreamtime Return

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Dreamtime Return
Dreamtime Return original.jpg
Studio album by Steve Roach
Released 1988
Recorded 1987-88 at The Timeroom
Genre Ambient
Length 130:23
Label Fortuna Records
Producer Steve Roach
Steve Roach chronology
Quiet Music
(1988)Quiet Music1988
Dreamtime Return
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press favorable [2]
John Diliberto favorable [3]
Hearts of Space favorable [4]
Linda Kohanov favorable [5]

Dreamtime Return (1988) is a double album, based on Australian Aboriginal culture and the concept of the Dreamtime, by the American ambient musician Steve Roach. Roach had already begun composing this album when by chance he received a letter from writer/photographer David Stahl. Stahl had heard Steve Roach’s third album, Structures from Silence, on the radio while driving through the desert towards Mexico. He informed Steve Roach of his current documentary film project Art of the Dreamtime. Several months later Roach and Stahl traveled to Northern Australia to visit that region's ancient Aboriginal sites.


This album is Steve Roach’s first true tribal album, as well as being the first of his many double album projects. The music consists of slow haunting electronic textures, sometimes featuring various ethnic percussion instruments and traditional Aboriginal chants and voices. The track “Truth in Passing” features atmospheric piano work rare in Steve Roach’s music.

The earliest recorded track on the album is “The Other Side”. This piece was recorded live, with Kevin Braheny playing a Steiner EWI (Electronic Woodwind Instrument). This piece was broadcast on the National Public Radio program Music from the Hearts of Space in 1986. This particular edition of the program, titled Starflight 1, was so popular that later that year it was released as an album, consequently “The Other Side” was released two years before the rest of Dreamtime Return.

After this album was released, Steve Roach embarked on a second trip to Australia.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Steve Roach except where noted

2-Disc CD Release[edit]

Disc one[edit]

  1. ”Towards the Dream” – 7:08
  2. ”The Continent” – 4:49
  3. ”Songline” (Robert Rich, Roach) – 3:10
  4. ”Airtribe Meets the Dream Ghost” (Rich, Roach) – 7:00
  5. ”A Circular Ceremony” – 11:18
  6. ”The Other Side” (Kevin Braheny, Roach) – 13:14
  7. ”Magnificent Gallery” – 6:07
  8. ”Truth in Passing” – 8:41
  9. ”Australian Dawn-The Quiet Earth Cries Inside” – 6:18

Disc two[edit]

  1. ”Looking for Safety” – 31:21
  2. ”Through a Strong Eye” – 6:50
  3. ”The Ancient Day” – 6:06
  4. ”Red Twilight with the Old Ones” – 9:48
  5. ”The Return” – 8:33

1988 Fortuna Records 2-LP release[edit]

The 1988 2-LP release lacks the songs "Truth in Passing" and "Through a Strong Eye." It also has shorter edits of several other pieces, including a version of "Looking for Safety" that is 20 minutes shorter than the CD version.

Side 1[edit]

  1. ”Towards the Dream” – 7:08
  2. ”The Continent” – 4:48
  3. ”Songline” – 3:11
  4. ”Airtribe Meets the Dream Ghost” – 6:59

Side 2[edit]

  1. ”A Circular Ceremony” – 9:35
  2. ”The Other Side” – 13:13

Side 3[edit]

  1. ”Magnificent Gallery” – 5:03
  2. ”Australian Dawn-The Quiet Earth Cries Inside” – 5:11
  3. ”Looking for Safety” – 10:03

Side 4[edit]

  1. ”The Ancient Day” – 6:06
  2. ”Red Twilight with the Old Ones” – 9:48
  3. ”The Return” – 8:33


See also[edit]