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Michael Garrison - In The Regions Of Sunreturn CD (album) cover


Michael Garrison


Progressive Electronic

2.68 | 6 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Michael Garrison was an Oregon based electronic musician who emerged at the end of the 1970's, initially making a splash with his debut album `In the Regions of Sunreturn'' in 1979. Mr. Garrison operated at the more melodic end of electronic music, often along the lines of Jean Michel Jarre or an even lighter version of the 80's Tangerine Dream albums, with a focus on pleasing instrumental melodies and tranquil atmospheres. Fortunately the album has just enough to align it with the proper space music albums of the Seventies, and the artist thankfully got in just before the endless faceless glut of soft electronic and New Age albums enjoyed a burst of popularity in the Eighties. His debut may not be particularly complex or challenging, but it also doesn't deserve to be thrown in with those vapid kind of albums.

The opener `To The Other Side of the Sky' sets a template that much of the album follows - soft pulsing beats over placid washes of ambient synths and easy on the ear instrumental synth melodies, often with swirling effects. `Escape' drifts the closest to synth-pop with a catchy upfront lead theme and skittering beats. `Dreams' is soothing, `Twilights Return' even has a whimsical, almost rollicking quality in it's step. A pretty and delicate drift opens `Theme To Onday', but the piece quickly bursts forth with classical flourishes, Garrison soloing wildly with restrained pomp and fire. Despite the clicking sequencer throughout, the same goes for `The Voyage', which is almost a victorious fanfare, confident and purposeful, dramatic and symphonic, rather dazzling in it's own way.

The most interesting moment on the album is `The Distance From Here', certainly the most ambitious piece. Completely devoid of percussive elements, there's a quietly contemplative and almost mournful loneliness to it's glacial drones of sweeping synth winds and expansive aural landscapes. Garrison shows a great deal of restraint here, hinting at a mostly unexplored depth. More thoughtful pieces like this would have made the album something really special.

Michael Garrison went on to release another 8 studio albums and two live compilations up until 1998, but the artist sadly passed away aged just 47 years in March 2004. His seemed to be a life plagued by mental illness and depression, but his music was a constant source of hope and inspiration, not only to listeners, but seemingly to himself. Lightweight but lovely, `In the Regions of Sunreturn' is an undemanding and comforting electronic release to help you unwind and refocus. There may be endlessly more exciting and important albums in the progressive electronic field, but there's still nice little works and artists like this worth discovering.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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