1. Sustaining Cylinders [30:43] MP3 soundclip of Sustaining cylinders [3:01]
  2. Sleeping Conches [30:27] MP3 soundclip of Sleeping conches [3:00]
Composed and performed by Michael Stearns and Gary David.
Eikosany a 20 tone set of vibes was created by Erv Wilson

Sustaining Cylinders and Sleeping Conches were two of my earliest pieces.They were not designed to play as music, to engage the mind and emotions, but rather as textural meditative backgrounds, as a sonic context for personal explorations.

Michael Stearns This music by ambient maestro Stearns dates back to 1977. Here, its 61 minutes are remastered and reissued on CD in 2001.
This experimental ambient music is delivered in a pair of tracks, each just over 30 minutes in length. The title track was generated on a 20-tone set of vibes (the Eikonsany), resulting in a languid flow of calming tonalities of ultimately relaxing quality.
The track "Sleeping Conches" was performed mainly on kitchen pots and pans, then processed electronically until the sounds deceptively mesh with the lazy crash of a Pacific surf. Expect no banging din here, for these kitchen instruments have been decelerated and transformed into extremely liquid bell tones.
Both pieces are designed to function as a sonic context for personal explorations. There is minimal melody, and the music is texturally atonal. Intended as soundscapes for meditation, both pieces are low and generally uneventful, maintaining just the proper level of sound required to stimulate subconscious hypnotic but not engage active thought or emotions.

Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity The music on "Sustaining Cylinders", originally released on the Continuum Montage label in 1978, belongs to the earliest recordings by ambient musician Michael Stearns. Its sonic content was not designed to play as music, to engage the mind and emotions, but rather as textural meditative backgrounds, as a sonic context for personal explorations.

The two lengthy 30-minute tracks, both composed in 1977, feature a minimal amount of melody while they smoothly evolve in a textural, hypnotic manner. The title track was created using Erv Wilson's Eikosany, a 20-tone instrument, while the second piece ("Sleeping Conches") offers a background of ocean surf sounds with heavily processed bells and conches.

All in all, this two-fold collage of sounds is a sure bet for any experienced listener of meditative ambient soundscapes.

2010. Bert Strolenberg