MICHAEL GARRISON: Tranquility Cove (1992)
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
“A very nice compilation which makes us hear another musical aspect of Garrison”
1 Infinity Dream (From The Rhythm of Life) 11:30
2 Under the Orangish Sky (From Images) 4:04
3 Invisible Sun (Previously unreleased) 6:09
4 The Nebula Dream (From Images) 5:27
5 Beyond The Cosmic Horizon (From The Rhythm of Life) 6:15
6 The Distance From Here (From In the Regions of Sun Return) 6:16
7 Visions of the Aquasun (From Images) 9:01
8 Moonrise (From Eclipse) 5:03
Windspell Music - TC 1128CD
(CD 53:51) (V.F.)
(Ambient Music, Pacific School)
We noticed that Michael Garrison's universe could contain some rhythms per square-inch in A Positive Reflecting Glow. TRANQUILITY COVE offers us his more ambient side with a collection of 8 tracks, one being an unreleased piece of music, taken from only 5 of the 8 albums of the California-based musician-synthesist. Ambient music! Not so fast. Even if this is the idea behind this second compilation of the Windspell Music label, Garrison's music has a different perception of the so-called meditative ambient music.
Well! True, Infinity Dream plunges us into a deep voluntary coma with waves of water enveloping us with little synth cries. These waves continue to roll and surround us while letting filter a reverberating shade where this very beautiful synthesized song comes from the weak laments of the opening. Oceanic or cosmic, the ambience is to make us dream with the eyes fixed to what our ears are hearing. One could sleep there! It is winds that drive the introduction of Under the Orangish Sky which is a magnificent electronic rumba inspired by Jean-Michel Jarre's. It's a very good mid-tempo with these effects of crotales which breathe under singing layers having this tone of old organ à la Adelbert von Deyen. One does not sleep any more here, one listens to this fabulous dance which also has a beautiful Arabic texture in the melodious movement of its layers. Visions of the Aquasun, which comes from the same album, Images, also proposes a bouncing ambient rhythm in some unctuous misty layers and others having this melodious Middle-East texture. Both tracks have an inspired cosmic essence. The other track from the Images album, The Nebula Dream, invites us to a spiritual encounter woven on an anemic and continuous pulse where layers of voices and their seraphic orations hummed by Shari Barna are grafted. Three tracks from the same album that are meditative but also hypnotically catchy? I can't wait to discover it. Invisible Sun is the unreleased track from TRANQUILITY COVE. This is meditative ambient music with beautiful synth layers blurred between a bright vision and a darker one that is related to the humming drones that move in a big sound mass. The synth vocals and the subtle modulations in the hazy texture sound at times like Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. A very good track! And what about the very celestial Beyond The Cosmic Horizon? A good track which also comes from The Rhythm of Life, like Infinity Dream. The texture is fragile with pious bells tinkling in the comfort of layers wrapped in heavenly voices. One feels the presence of a ghostly rhythmic structure that helps the ascent of this track made to comfort a restless sleep. We are almost at the limits of the New Age with these last two titles. This changes with the arrival of the very cosmic and dark The Distance From Here and its distant industrial hum that stimulates the flight of hollow winds and breezes. Moonrise from the Eclipse album ends this compilation of Michael Garrison's ambient-meditative music with a synth song that continues with an echoing effect in addition to modulatory waves that get reflected with subtle changes in intonation. It reminds me of the throat singing blown through huge horns as seen in some documentaries about Mongolia.
A compilation that blows hot and cold, TRANQUILITY COVE reflects wonderfully the other face of Michael Garrison. Indeed, some tracks could lead us without problems to our beds. On the other hand, there are titles which could raise our eyelids and ignite the curiosity of our ears. But in the end, it remains a very nice compilation which makes us hear another musical aspect of the American musician-synthesist.
Sylvain Lupari (January 30th, 2022) ****½*
Available at Groove nl