For many years, the early recordings of Michael Stearns were very sought after. Now, in a fruitful collaboration with Groove Unlimited, the grand master of ambient and spacemusic offers a renewed "encounter" with his old days in a remastered form.|
- Morning [27:15]
- Jewel [23:08]
After "Ancient Leaves", "Floating Whispers", "Lyra" and "Plunge" this is the fifth remaster. The sixth is "MíOcean".
"Morning Jewel" is a recording from 1979. In this period, Michael created his first musical excursions on the impressive "Serge Modular Analogue Synthesizer", owned by his musical colleague and friend Kevin Braheny. In his later albums, the use of the "Mighty Serge" became somewhat of Michaelís trademark.
There are two pieces on the album. The opening track "Morning" was the first ever piece in which Michael used the Serge. Itís floating and sparkling sounds flow perfectly together with the ambient recordings Michael assembled in the desert around Tucson, Arizona (USA) and in the seaside jungle village of Yelapa, Jalisco (Mexico). During this time Michael also started his world travels, armed with a portable recorder.
On the second piece "Jewel" Michael used the "Eikosany", a set of micro tonally tuned bars. This, together with the beautiful vocals of Marsha Lee, leads to a very intense atmosphere.
Michael Stearns is one of the biggest names in contemporary electronic music. This early music already shows why.
2000. Press information
Morning Jewel is a Michael Stearns classic. The original album was recorded and released in 1979. He remastered and optimized it in the late '90s and released it on CD on his own Music label.
The set has two long-form compositions, and each stands on its own merit. "Morning" is 29 minutes of natural ambience from an Arizona desert and a Mexican jungle. Stearns builds a soundscape of drones.
This album (cassette) was my introduction to Michael Stearns' music. Imagine hearing the entirety of the tape in my car, on a road trip, for the first time.
When "Morning" reached its first crescendo, and later reached its ASTOUNDING crescendo, I must have said "Wow" about 20 times. I still have that cassette to this day (Dec. 2008) and thankfully have not yet worn it out due to repeated playing. I am glad that Michael is releasing all his early works in remastered form on CD, and for any fan of beautiful, timeless, pure electronic new age music, this one is definitely in the upper echelon. This is a good one to start with in exploring Michael's music...afterwards I would suggest checking out the crown jewel of all his releases, PLANETARY UNFOLDING, to be followed by the equally majestic recordings ENCOUNTER and the soundtrack to the film CHRONOS.
I cannot recommend these 4 recordings highly enough for all fans of electronic new age music, and for those who are looking to explore this genre of music for the first time. Come to this music with an open mind, and get ready to have it blown out of the water.
"Morning Jewel" is a digitally remastered and optimized re-release of Michaelís original 1979-album "Jewel".
Containing two extended ambient pieces of 27 and 23 minutes, its also Michael's first work on which he introduces the (Mighty) Serge synthesizer.
"Morning" kicks off with a smooth and gentle live ambience featuring a nice range of quiet ambient recordings mixed with the sounds of the Serge modular synthesizer (which he borrowed from Kevin Braheny) and acoustic/vocal sound pads. The slow moving drone tapestry has a hypnotizing effect as it washes over you.
For the second piece "Jewel", Stearns used the Eikosany, a set of micro tonally tuned, which led to a quiet ambient excursion with warm shimmering bell tones and a haunting chorus of womenís voices, creating a contemplative state with its lush, immerse but intense atmospheres.
All in all, these environmental paintings make a nice sonic backdrop.
Bert Strolenberg / Sonic Immersion