Ever since the release of his debut album (“In the Regions of Sunreturn”) in 1979, Michael Garrison has earned himself a place of respect and international renown as one of America’s pioneer electronic musicians. That his music evoked beauty and majesty certainly didn’t hurt that reputation.
Garrison passed away in March 2004, and he will be sadly missed by anyone who was familiar with his vibrant compositions. His music is remembered fondly by many...and several of them contributed to the following release to commemorate his shining existence.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: To the Sky and Beyond the Stars--a Tribute to Michael Garrison (double CD on Quantum Records) (USA inquiries should be directed to Mike Valiant)
This release from 2004 features 156 minutes of electronic music from all corners of the globe, paying sonic homage to the late Michael Garrison. Rather than do cover versions of Garrison’s music, though, these musicians provided tracks of their own, many of them previously unreleased.
This collection features contributions by:
Redshift (Mark Shreeve, James Goddard, and Julian Shreeve): a haunting tune that progresses into vibrant rhythmics propelling an engaging melody that evokes heavenly realms of seething power.
Erik Wollo: Arctic airs coalesce to generate a composition of melancholy tenderness.
John Serrie: Garrison spent a lot of his music stargazing, and here Serrie follows suit for a flute-laden voyage into the sky.
Axess (Alex Stupplich): densely layered harmonics part to reveal a garden of soaring sequencers.
Venj@ (Johan Geens): e-perc threads liven this dreamy excursion into astral terrain.
Callisto (David Wright and David Massey): crystalline chords and pleasant rhythms conspire to produce an endearing passage from deep space back to Earth.
Gert Emmes: a very delicate track that combines soporific harmonics with meditative introspection.
Craig Padilla: extremely peaceful track that excellently captures Garrison’s beautiful style of EM. (Coincidentally, this track was produced using analog equipment from Garrison’s studio.)
Paul Lawler (aka Arcane): a classically tinged piece that shares bereavement with the audience.
Thought Guild (Christopher Cameron and Gregory Kyryluk--aka Alpha Wave Movement): fancilful riffs manage to communicate grief with a touch of optimistic hope.
Something Completely Different (Boele Gerkes): a specific tribute to Garrison that combines cosmically ascending sentiments with inspirational pep.
Schönwälder/Keller/Broekhuis: atmospheric electronics blend with sedate percussives to generate a palpable tranquillity.
Dom F. Scab: a slow-building piece that achieves stellar altitude with nimble-fingered electronics.
Wave World (Gert van Santen, Harry Kessels, and Rolf van Slooten): a lighthearted track that utilizes jocular riffs and snappy percussion with entertaining results,
Numina (Jesse Sola): introspection on a molecular level is explored in this ambient composition.
Rein van den Oever: a sad track that fondly remembers Garrison’s more serene compositions.
Sayer: the energy steps up with this track, as lilting electronics cavort with understated rhythms.
Binar (Paul Nagle and Andy Pickford): conquering emotional loss with an expansive sonic panorama can be quite healing--and enjoyable, as this soaring composition reveals.
Rudy Adrian: surging sequencers pierce astral clouds to reach breathtaking heights of rapture.
Remy: a swaying piece that reveals how synthesizers breathe.
Rogue Element (Brendan Pollard and Jerome Ramsey): dynamics unfurl in this composition, revealing a sky of a different color.
Jeffrey Koepper: snappy e-perc intertwines with whirling electronics for a sonic “adieu.”
Akikaze (Pepijn Courant): whimsy infects this uptempo track with an endearing disposition spiced with a touch of drama.
Fred Becker: solemn sentiments blend with an energized ambience.
Stephen Parsick: contemporary electronics collides with synth pop.
Cosmic Hoffmann (Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock): a sobering requiem that is rich with heartfelt sorrow. (Note: this piece was recorded in 1976 and is the first time Hoffmann used a mellotron M400.)
Overall, this release serves an ample dose of reverence that is also highly entertaining on its own, and should provide newcomers with a glimpse at the sonic stylings of numerous contemporary electronic musicians.
For information on Garrison’s catalog of releases, visit his website.
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