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WITHIN: The Nine Dimensions
by Michael Stearns
Earth Turtle Music, 1998
http://www.michaelstearns.com

	I don't know how I let this one get away for so long. This
gem of an album by spacemusic veteran Michael Stearns has been
offered by Backroads Music and others for three years now, and
somehow I never bought it. That means that I haven't gotten to
enjoy it until 2001! Well, I finally have it and what an album it is 
spacemusic at its richest.

	The original music was composed by Stearns for a
"channeled" workshop by mystical author Barbara Hand Clow, but
since I have no idea what the workshop was like, I just appreciate
the music for what it is. There are nine pieces, each supposed to
correspond to a "dimension," plus a final recapitulation and
summing-up piece. Stearns uses not only his array of synthesizers,
but a wide variety of percussion, toned bells, and sampled human
voices, including Gregorian chants, African tribal songs, and
Islamic recitations. There are also sounds of whales and other
animals. Each one of the nine pieces has quite a different mood,
from driving rhythms (track 1, "Double Helix") to spooky and dark
(track 2, "To the Center," or track 7, "Telluric Realms") to exalted
and reverent (track 3, "Seven") to hymnlike melody (track 6,
"Longing.")  The Nine Dimensions ranges from awed
whispering to a shimmering wall of sound, one of Stearns'
trademarks. No one does the Big Space Sound better than Michael
Stearns.

	The album cover and liners feature lots of whirling
psychedelic fractal computer art, appropriate for an album concept
which harks back to the inner explorations of the '60s but uses the
sound-technology of the '00's. Some things never go out of style.
Even if you have no Inner Contacts with Pleiadean Masters, this
album is full of sound that will transport you into an imaginal
adventure. So don't wait as long as I did, and listen now.

HMGS rating: Nine dimensions out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero 6/20/01


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