Exposé Online banner

Michael Stearns — Morning Jewel
(Groove Unlimited GR-039, 1980/2000, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-08-20

Morning Jewel Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

While ambient electronic music came to prominence starting in the mid 80s and came to something of a peak in the late 90s and early 00s, there were really only a handful of progenitors in the 70s. Michael Stearns was one of these pioneers, creating brilliant electronic soundscapes well before this kind of music was thrown in with the solo piano and solo guitar albums you'd see on Windham Hill and Narada in the 80s. While the label Hearts of Space would eventually pick him up, the man's early albums were produced independently, and several of them can still be found in used stores on LP. Morning Jewel (or Jewel when it was on Sonic Atmospheres) was Stearns' first major release with two side long tracks that were clinics on the waxing and waning of a slow peak. On the outside the whole thing was like a slowly building Om chant but at the cellular level there were all kinds of complex synthesizer work and vocal chorales that would make the drones themselves shimmer like the jewel the album was named for. Dozens of ambient albums followed in the wake of this 1979 classic, very, very few have surpassed it.


Filed under: Reissues, 2000 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Michael Stearns

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dashiell Hedayat - Obsolete – Aahhhh! Here's another Gong album no one seems to know about, as this is basically Gong plus poet/musician Dashiell Hedayat (otherwise known as Melmoth). Evidently the lyrical content (especially on...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues