Michael Stearns – Planetary Unfolding, 1981

A cosmic touchstone. Highly influential and ahead of its time. For the unfamiliar, Michael Stearns’s work was regularly featured on the Hearts of Space radio show, and his large catalogue of output includes scores for movies like Chronos and Samsara. In terms of purity of spaciousness, I can’t help but think of Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence (and unsurprisingly, the two went on to collaborate on several projects), but this is much denser and more detailed, filling in the gaps between broad instrumental strokes with many smaller layered sounds. It’s gorgeous stuff, and having realized that it’s been awhile since I posted anything in this wheelhouse, I think this is the most polished return to form I can think of. Try it in headphones!

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