Michael Garrison

Positive Reflective Glow, Vol. 1

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This is the first of a two-volume set recently released by well-known Oregon synthesist Michael Garrison. Aptly titled, the album is positive, lively and upbeat. It is a collection of high-energy songs spanning the years 1978 to 1992. The disk contains cuts selected from eight albums and a previously unreleased piece called "Upon Blue Heaven." Songs like "Escape" from the album In the Regions of Sunreturn, "Runaway" from Point of Impact and "Lansdowne Cruise" from the album An Earth Star Trilogy are fast-paced, driving pieces. The pulsating analog sequencer lines are complemented by energetic well-executed solos. The pieces also share a great selection of synth timbres and special effects programming. "Festival of the Earth-Star," from the album Earth Star Trilogy is a fast-paced piece similar in feel and texture to Tangerine Dream's "Firestarter" soundtrack. "Departure" from the album Eclipse has lots of mesmerizing layers of sequencer patterns with some really interesting stereo effects and panning of the lead parts. It's very reminiscent of Jarre's Oxygene album. There are also some excellent pieces from "Point of Impact," "Aurora Dawn" and "The Rhythm of Life." The previously unreleased cut "Upon Blue Heaven" opens with big expansive analog swirls of sound reminiscent of Steve Roach's Now/Traveler LP. There is a constant underlying sequencer riff which cycles throughout the song. The drum machine programming is very crisp and bubbly, like Jarre's percussion on "Rendezvous." The phrasing of the solos is very happy and upbeat. My favorite cut was "Distant Island Stars" from the album Images. It has an overall feel like TD's "Green Desert" album and Klaus Schulze's "Timewind." A single two-note arpeggio repeats endlessly here, along with a sustained lead which is sparse, yet expansive-sounding. There is a minimal use of different sounds and the effects are first rate. With eleven tracks in all, this well-selected collection will delight anyone who enjoys melodic powerful music which stirs the senses. Available from Windspell Music, 1293 NW Wall, Suite 1515, Bend, Oregon 97701.

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