Various Artists
Album: To the Sky and Beyond the Stars

Released: 20 December 2004
Label: Quantum Records

To the Sky and Beyond the Stars
Titled In the Regions of Sunreturn, Michael Garrison's first album paved the way for future generations of electronic musicians. Musically, it was among the first re-interpretations of the classic Berlin-school of spacemusic. Culturally, his work marked America's entrance into a genre dominated by Europe. Commercially, this album helped inspire the formation of an independent spacemusic scene, as it was one of the first (then unheard of) self-released LPs. The world lost Michael Garrison at age 47 on 24 March 2004. To the Sky and Beyond the Stars is a sonic memorial to his memory.

26 noted musicians from the international Electronic Music scene have each contributed a track to this tribute CD. All involved have either personally known Garrison or somehow been affected by his musical presence in the world. The music contained on this 2 disc anthology is quite diverse and while it is a befitting remembrance of Garrison, To the Sky and Beyond the Stars is also one of the greatest collections of contemporary EM ever compiled. Some donors have chosen to create music that is an original, impressionistic personal statement while others have incorporated, almost verbatim, Garrison's signature musical characteristics. Among the later group would be the fantastic opening piece by Redshift. "Crystalline 94" (6'50") builds, on a foundation of bass heavy synthesizer tones, into an up-tempo bouncing jaunt. With a mellow melodic line and soft electronic percussion, "Parallels" (7'20") by Craig Padilla is equally emulative as it sets course for a more mild tone. Rein van der Oever captures an optimistic mood and lively spirit with the dancing octaves and winding synth melodies of his track "Bon Voyage" (5'05"). Among the more introspective works is "The Flight" (5'07"), the delicate, sensitive and at times somber work by Erik Wollo. Jonn Serrie's "The Star Road" (7'09") prowls the cosmos in its seductive and gentle astral voyage. The closing track, "Requiem" (6'47") by Cosmic Hoffman is elegiac and powerful. The shifting harmonies and expansive space of its mellotron strings follows an unusual contour and provides an unsettling mood in the enigmatic conclusion to this collection.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   10 February 2005

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