Music composed and produced by Michael Stearns, 1999 for a documentary called The Mystery of Chaco Canyon by Anna Sofaer.|
- Chaco Mystery [3:32]
- The Glyph [2:17]
- Patterns [1:26]
- Chaco Landlight [3:32]
- The Language of Architecture [0:56]
- Pots, Pilgrims, and the Kivas [4:09]
- Mystery of the Moon [2:02]
- Ruins [2:11]
- The Dark Rooms of Chetro Ketl [1:51]
- The Mound [2:38]
- Solar Time [1:16]
- Climbing Fajada [2:12]
- Point of Origin [2:16]
- Solar Alignments [2:45]
- North Road Mystery [1:17]
- Lunar Alignments [5:41]
- The Middle of Time [3:23]
- Sealing the Door [5:02]
Recorded mixed and mastered at Earth Turtle, Santa Fe.
Native American chants by Neshoba and Harold Littlebird.
Additional samples performed by Douglas Spotted Eagle from Q Up Arts & Native Restoration's Voices Of native America.
Additional percussion from Bashiri Johnson's Supreme Beats.
Wild flute from the Michael Stearns, Ron Sunsinger and Steve Roach Embudo Caverns session tapes.
This CD features Michael's score to Anna Sofaer's documentary "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon". Growing up in the southwestern United States, Michael has been fascinated with the mysterious ruins of the ancient Native American cultures that came before. He was first introduced to Pueblo Bonito and Chaco in a lucid dream in 1977. Over the years he has spent much time in Chaco and developed a special relationship to the place. While the film documents the recent discoveries that deepen the mystery of Chaco, the music speaks directly to those mysteries.
2000. Press Information
This superb ambient/space/tribal release from space music pioneer Michael Stearns is the soundtrack to what sounds like an exciting and thought-provoking film about the petroglyphs discovered at the ruins at Chaco Canyon in the US southwest. The liner notes go into detail about Michaelıs Premonitions about chaco canyon and his meeting with the researcher, anna sofaer, whose work is the focus of the film. The notes make for fascinating reading.
The music on The Middle of Time is an extrapolation (of sorts) of Stearnsı excellent work for the soundtrack to Baraka, as well as the addition of subtle Native American textures (courtesy of chanting, flute work, and percussion). In addition, there is much more mystery laced throughout this recording, courtesy of some of Stearnıs best space music in a long time. The two opening cuts are solid examples of what I mean.
Fans of Stearnsı space music should be forewarned, though, that some of The Middle of Time travels the same path of other Native American/space/ambient fusionists, such as the latest CD collaboration of Jonn Serrie and Gary Stoutsos, Hidden World. Where Serrie/Stroutsos and John Huling (as another fusionist) explore a more sedate and serene territory, Stearns takes the listener into a landscape of shadows and memories, both ancient and alien (the liner notes make this extrapolation abundantly clear).
Since this is a soundtrack, some listeners may be frustrated by the short duration of some cuts (some clock in at less than less than two minutes, while even the longest pieces are less than six minutes in length). But, there are, after all, eighteen songs! And personally, the flow between cuts is as seamless as is possible, given the differences in musical approaches song-to-song.
While not truly dark ambient as, for example, Robert Richıs Stalker is, The Middle of Time is a recording of so much power that it almost could be said to belong to the aforementioned o yuki conjugateıs domain. However, what Michael Stearns brings to this CD that is unique is a real spacy quality to even the most tribal songs, along with, of course, his trademark use of synthesizers which is completely his own. Some of the later cuts on the album are right up with there with the best space music being recorded today by artists like Meg Bowles, Steve Roach, and others.
The Middle of Time is a fantastic recording and marks a welcome return by an artist who once again shows why he is considered one of the preeminent musicians in the space music field. It gets my highest recommendation for all except die hard space music purists who may be put off by some of the overt tribal underpinnings. However, in this case, it will be their loss to ignore such a marvelous piece of work.
2000. © Bill Binkelman / WIND and WIRE
As "Spirits Of The Voyage", this is also music for a documentary, "The Mystery Of Chaco Canyon". It contains 18 rather short pieces. Again, Stearns proves his great ability as a composer for films and documentaries. Take, for instance, "The Glyph" and you ll know what I mean. This piece also sounds like his space-"tour the force" "Encounter". "Chaco Landlight" is also based on the earlier ideas of "Encounter" and "Sacred Site". Also, tribal elements are mixed into the music as in "Solar Time", "Point Of Origin" and "North Road Mystery". "Climbing Fajada" and "Solar Alignments" again are perfect examples how ambient-music should sound. "The Middle Of Time" at times is a little darker than "Spirits Of The Voyage" and "Within.
The Nine Dimensions", which he released simultaneous, but is certainly not less beautiful and intense.
2000. © Paul Rijkens
Michael Stearns created this beautifully inspiring music as the soundtrack to the documentary .The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, narrated by Robert Redford. The title of the CD reflects the fact that the ancient ruins sited on the location of the documentary, Pueblo Bonito, in New Mexico, had been built in a way that marked the noon sun and equinox,the marking of the middle of time.The eighteen pieces in the album reflect the ancient mystery of the ruins left by the native inhabitants in the distant past. Together with its subdued textures and soft rhythmic sounds, the melodies come and go like a sea of time patterns enveloping a mysterious land. Native American chants are masterfully interwoven in the music created by Stearns, thus picturing a creative, appalling soundscape that reaches into the imagination of the listener, awakening our sense of wonder and reverence for the roots of ancient peoples and the mystery of those distant times in the past. Once again, Stearns gives us an inspired work that shares a touch of World Music with the patterns of New Instrumental Music, a calming piece of listening to let our imagination relax and fly free to otherworldly soundscapes.
2000. © Montse Andreau-Marin / Amazing Sounds