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Michael Stearns — Planetary Unfolding
(Sonic Atmospheres SA107, 1981/1985, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2016-02-18

Planetary Unfolding Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

If Morning Jewel was about the slow album-side rise from silence to peak, Planetary Unfolding worked a similar magic with smaller compositions. Like a lot of his early albums, the move from the original LPs came with the loss of the great original covers, which is why the original is pictured here. Morning Jewel had an almost meditative concept to it with its tribute to the sunrise, while Planetary Unfolding, like his later release Encounter, had that interest in the great infinity of space and the unknown. Much of the synthesizer work for this was done on a Serge modular synth and just like Morning Jewel, this has to be one of the earliest works of ambient electronic music, its sound clouds shimmering with sequencers and effects from crystalline to foghorn. Unfolding is really a perfect description for its compositions, so much of the sounds spiraling up from the simple and the quiet to expand and unfold into huge breathtaking vistas.


Filed under: Reissues, 1985 releases, 1981 recordings

Related artist(s): Michael Stearns

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