While Michael Stearns had recorded music "in the flavor of (outer) space" for years, Encounter: A Journey in the Key of Space is his first album with space as its theme. It is an ambient classic. The atmospheres don't just sound like outer space, they are outer space. The individual tracks are vignettes that deal with events in outer space. Stearns' light touch is perfect for his minimalist symphonic style. With that style, he combines the individual atmospheres into one spacescape. The CD becomes a symphony in the hands of this master. Each movement has its own character and personality. Those personalities form the id, the ego, and the superego of the symphony. This is a defining benchmark in ambient space music. This CD, like Stearns, stands on a level sought by many and reached by few.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Brenholts