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Album Review

While Michael Stearns had recorded music "in the flavor of (outer) space" for years, Encounter: A Journey in the Key of Space is his first album with space as its theme. It is an ambient classic. The atmospheres don't just sound like outer space, they are outer space. The individual tracks are vignettes that deal with events in outer space. Stearns' light touch is perfect for his minimalist symphonic style. With that style, he combines the individual atmospheres into one spacescape. The CD becomes a symphony in the hands of this master. Each movement has its own character and personality. Those personalities form the id, the ego, and the superego of the symphony. This is a defining benchmark in ambient space music. This CD, like Stearns, stands on a level sought by many and reached by few.


Born: Tucson, AZ

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Composer/sound sculptor Michael Stearns was born and raised in Tucson, AZ, taking up classical guitar as a teen; in time he moved on to rock and jazz, and by the age of 16 was regularly backing top pop acts including the Lovin' Spoonful and Paul Revere & the Raiders. While a student at the University of the Pacific he turned to electronic music, completing his first musique concrète piece in 1968; four years later, Stearns returned to Tucson to open his own recording studio, subsequently producing...
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Encounter, Michael Stearns
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