Michael Stearns: The Storm

ste-ts.jpg (12k) Michael Stearns: The Storm
(Spotted Peccary - 2001)

I remember when cracking open a Spotted Peccary release meant an immersion into Native American-influenced relaxation... those days are only scarcely remembered when The Storm blows in... these assorted audio-snapshots from Michael Stearns are culled from various sources and offer various (often quite dark) perspectives on life and its many storms and calms.

Thunder, guitar strums and shapeless drifts hover through the opening title track, though not as amorphous as brief The Dream, a billowing tonal swelter which seems to hold unknown power. Far too frightening to be considered New Age, The Gathering churns with ominous intensity (not to mention cawing crows and spooky half-hear choruses amid a rumbling din).

More orchestral, but nonetheless apprehensive, Distant Train, Distant Thunder spreads itself in appeallingly dark layers of radiance and gloom; and that thunder seems pretty nearby. Some ethno-fluting and primitive percussive effects gives The Path Between a more-indigenous feeling, though the track is still steeped in a sense of foreboding.

Broodingly mystical, lovely Cenote drifts through a soft surreality of gong-born haze. Lighter moods (though still in somber shades) prevail as The Light in the Trees expands into a spacious realm of tone drones. Tastefully applied chants add vocal textures to the swaths of sound which flow through From the Cradle.

Sedate symphonics briefly stream on silky strings into Surrender (1:32). Sometimes underscored by the fluid bumping of waterdrums, the wafting glare of Eastern-flavored Bajan (7:09) is soon overpowered by warbly Oriental femme-vocals.

This audiometeorological journey is culled from assorted film soundtracks and other CD releases, and delivers an earworthy cross-section of Michael Stearns mood-evoking talents. Put the sonic formations of 8.8 The Storm into your forecast.

Spotted Peccary and www.michaelstearns.com can tell much more.

This review posted November 4, 2001

AmbiEntrance © 2001-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).