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

IN THE REGIONS OF SUNRETURN

Michael Garrison

 

Progressive Electronic

2.68 | 6 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars For every big name in musical innovation there are always countless followers who ride the wake of the pioneers. Yes spawned the imitators Starcastle, bands like Genesis found an army of too close for comfort followers such as Babylon as well as an entire sub-genre called neo-prog. While many American bands were playing catch up with their European cousins some just sorta copied their style without bothering to try to add something unique to the mix and coming from the unlikely setting of Roseburg, Oregon was a dead ringer for Germany's Tangerine Dream and his name was MICHAEL GARRISON.

How this guy was inspired to create progressive electronic that sounds right out of the playbook of Edgar Froese mixed with Jean Michel Jarre after being raised by a banker and studying psychology at the University of Idaho is anyone's guess but not only did GARRISON nail down the sound of one of Germany's greatest musical exports but did it in such a way that it sounds like a long lost unreleased album that never made it out of the recording studio. GARRISON had a long run of albums throughout the 80s and 90s that all started in 1979 with his debut IN THE REGIONS OF SUNRETURN which was so convincing that it even ended up on the German label Ariola Records.

Think of the most melodic Tangerine Dream album or the crossover pop electronic sounds of Jean Michel Jarre and you already know what this debut album sounds like. This is a really convincing and well delivered piece of sequencer driven Berlin School electronica that'll take you out to space into the Oort cloud and beyond with all those familiar hypnotic pulses and accompanying squiggles that are topped off with a melodic atmospheric and even emphatic declaration of musicality. Only one problem with all this and that is this has all been done before and this particular style of Berlin School didn't necessarily need a revisit from some American artist who probably had no idea that pretzels were supposed to be soft or that pumpernickel is a bread and not the currency of prostitutes.

THE REGIONS OF SUNRETURN (later with the additional AND BEYOND) was based on the expeditions of Voyager 1 and 2 that found tripped out long sequences with treble rich soloing soaring high above. Add a few sci-fi sounds that simulate a space craft whizzing through the void of the vast distances above and this album is indeed the perfect soundtrack for the stars with all those Tangerine Dream cadences checked off to the T along with catchy hooks and well mixed effects. This is actually a very pleasant album to listen to and i've sat down and zoned out to it many times but in the end it is the epitome of a clone artist that fails to add a single iota of originality to the piece and pretends that this style of music is somehow new.

In the end MICHAEL GARRISON will continue to be one of those mere footnotes in a much deeper historical analysis of progressive electronic artists who rode the wake of the bigwigs of Europe but it must be noted that at least he crafted a compellingly beautiful example of copycat syndrome for sure. Had this come out ten years prior, it would've gone done as a classic but given that this dream is colored too much in the tangerine shades of the color spectrum, all i can say is good job but not good enough. While i would recommend this for those who just can't get enough melodic progressive electronic in the Berlin School camp, it seems futile to do so considering artists like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze alone have released dozens of excellent albums that are much more compelling. Nice try, man but Oregon School prog electronic just doesn't cut it despite this being a more than pleasant listening experience.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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