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Michael Stearns

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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.

Customer Reviews

This is very calming, in a sci-fi sorta way

I like this album, its very cool. just sit out side one cool night and play this whole album! lol Encounter- 5/5 Craft- 4/5 The beacon- 3/5 On the Way- 4/5 Dimensional Shift- 5/5 Within- 5/5 Distant Thunder- 4/5 Alien Shore- 5/5 Procession- 4/5 Star Dreams- 5/5 this album is totally worth it.

A classic ambient masterpiece!!

This album easily achieves "classic" electronica status, it's that good! Michael Stearns, like his peers: Meg Bowles, and Jonn Serrie approaches his compositions from a musical frame of reference. He differs, from artists like Steve Roach, who seem to identify with the "coldness of the machine"; by offering manufactured sounds, that have limited entertainment/attentive value. In spite of this, Roach has produced many interesting efforts throughout the years. Most of the perveyors of "space-music" have an innate ability to compose like "celestial Bachs". Constance Demby, Kevin Kendle, and Spacecraft would definitely fall under this yardstick too. Any sci-fi album; first and foremost, must demonstrate a theme through it's own musicality. This CD succeeds on all these levels and more. Highly recommended.

Great to sleep to

I discovered this album on Hearts of Space. Even though they don't play the entire album. So I checked out each simpled clip and loved it. It makes me imagine as I fall asleep experiencing the encounter. In space or in the mountains in the middle of the night with no one around and no sounds, except the craft.


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...
Full Bio
Encounter, Michael Stearns
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Customer Ratings