Michael Stearns "The Soft Touch Of Morning Light" CDr
Iconic master of cinematic ambience Michael Stearns has returned after long silence with a brand-new release "The Soft Touch Of Morning Light". Yeah, in the meantime there was breathtakingly transporting "Samsara" score released in 2012, but as far I remember, Michael's last CD "The Storm" on Spotted Peccary is dated back to 2001. To be honest, I have been always dreaming of reviewing Michael Stearns, now I have finally this opportunity. And on the top of all this, during 2018, I was a truly fortunate to visit one of my true heroes of ambient at his own studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and several months later experienced his unforgettable live show at B-Wave festival in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Both these events still deeply resonate, so the more I am fascinated by all audible insignias of this ingenious artist. "The Soft Touch Of Morning Light" CDr is out since October 15th, 2015, on Earth Turtle Music and is available through Michael Stearns website as a CDr release, manufactured on demand by TrepStar.
The album is comprised of three archival pieces from 1979 recorded on three different Serge Modulars. On the opening 14-minute track "Dark Passage In The Night" Michael Stearns performs on Kevin Braheny's Serge Modular as well as on his unique instrument called The Beam, which later played important role on score to the IMAX film "Chronos". It was recorded at Emilie Conrad's Continuum studio in Los Angeles. The composition floats and traverses serenely through various, shimmeringly immersing undulations and dramatically infused vistas, which later became true signature sounds of Michael Stearns. Spectacularly nuanced with monumental grace, glorious piquancy and narrative profoundness. What a beauty, pure magic fully reveals here! "The Soft Touch Of Morning Light", the title piece clocking just over 20 and a half minutes, masterfully displays its name, where calmer breezy horizons keep on rising and ebbing and perpetually commingle with gently meandering and persistently illuminating traceries. Performed on Michael's own Serge Modular at his and Susan Harper's Continuum Montage studio. Continuum Montage was also a record label, which produced Michael's early music, it stared with "Ancient Leaves" in 1977, continued through with groundbreaking "Planetary Unfolding" in 1981 and later completed with "Lyra Sound Constellation" in 1983. "Space Travel On The Wings Of Breath", 14 minutes long track closes this unique compilation with meticulously droning splendor, where nebulously gliding stratums exquisitely interact with unfathomably engulfing realms and mind-bending transcendental vertexes. A pure eargasm is delivered here, welcome to the Drone Pantheon, this must be the place where it all originated!!! Recorded on Craig Huxley's Serge Modular at his The Enterprise studio. By the way, Craig Huxley was also the founder of Sonic Atmospheres label, where Michael released several of his albums between the years 1983 and 1987.
"The Soft Touch Of Morning Light" is a very strong bundle of three hidden gems, some of them a truly visionary. Obviously a must-have album by one of the true pioneers of the genre, indeed, a sonic phenomenon!!! I really hope this collection will be reissued one day on a proper glass mastered format, a genius explorer like Michael Stearns certainly would deserve this. And most recently, Michael's debut "Ancient Leaves", as mentioned above, originally released on LP and cassette through Continuum Montage in 1977 and later remastered and reissued via Groove Unlimited in 1999, is scheduled on Infinite Fog Productions, July 10th, as a limited digipak and 12" vinyl or as a collector's wooden/metal box with LP, CD and cassette. This one is limited to 20 copies.
Richard Gürtler (Jun 27, 2019, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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