Michael Stearns: Morning Jewel (2024 remaster) (CD/Digital)

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Product Description

1. Morning
2. Jewel

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Limited edition of 300. First 50 copies signed by Michael.
CD in 4-panel digipak with credit insert card.

It’s been forty-five years since Michael Stearns released his third cassette, Morning Jewel. Quickly embraced in 1979 by the burgeoning New Age and meditative music market, the album stands as a classic from the early era of Californian ambient artists. It’s a sublime sonic monument with two long-form pieces integrating natural sounds and minimal electronics in long quiet movements.

Stearns says, “The creation of this album came about from my curiosity and exploration of recording organic sounds in nature as well as an interest in microtonal tunings. Capturing the environmental sounds became a meditation and inspiration. Intertwining those sources with my music contributed a literal ‘organic’ quality to ‘Morning.’ Working with a microtonal scale and instrument brought the mathematics inherent in the natural world to ‘Jewel,’ lending it a more ‘organic’ feeling.”

With the sounds of desert sunrise birds opening the album, soft electronic layers slowly emerge, later placed within village and jungle sounds, complemented by gentle wordless vocals from Marsha Lee and Stearns. On “Jewel,” Stearns plays muted bell tones. The two profound deep ambient movements reflect the art of building music as much meditative as melodious.

Stearns says, “Reworking the masters with today’s amazing advanced digital audio technology, both in my studio here in Santa Fe and with the help of mastering engineer Bob Ohlsson in Nashville, created this new incarnation of Morning Jewel. The original recording and mix took on an exciting new life through this process.”

Review @ All Music Guide
Morning Jewel is a Michael Stearns classic. The original album was recorded and released in 1979. The set has two long-form compositions, and each stands on its own merit. “Morning” is 26 minutes of natural ambience from an Arizona desert and a Mexican jungle. Stearns builds a soundscape of drones and melodic synths around the natural sounds. He tops it with acoustic music and wordless vocals. It is pure minimalism and natural relaxation music. “Jewel” is 22 minutes of warm bell tones created on Ervin Wilson’s Eikosany with a chorus of female voices. Stearns’ unique recording and processing techniques give the piece an electronic synthesizer sound. It is gentle, elegant, and mystically haunting. This music was completely unique in 1979. Modern minimalists like Klaus Wiese and Mathias Grassow create similar music in the new millennium. This is an essential CD.

“As I revisit this album in 2024,” Stearns reflects, “I am struck by how the orchestration of natural sound, vocals and synthesis still strikes a profound chord within me. It lends a deeper appreciation for the entire process of how organic and microtonal sound has informed my music. As I listen with ears fine-tuned by forty-five years of experience, my perspective is enlarged as the innate organic wisdom I am able to hear in Morning Jewel still rings true to make this my favorite album in my catalogue.”

Projekt release: May 24 2024
Original Release: 1979

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Weight .3 lbs



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  1. Reviews Editor

    From Star’s End

    The work of Michael Stearns always manages to take us out of ourselves and into somewhere wondrous. It has its own order, its own unity, and declaration of hope. His perfectly ethereal, utterly auraculous Morning Jewel (47:46) hovers sacredly in the stillness between night and day. Originally issued by Continuum Montage on audio cassette in 1979 (and then on Compact Disc by Sonic Atmospheres in 1985 and Groove Unlimited in 2000) this beloved work is again in a new conversation with listeners attuned to the righteous and majestic.

    For the 2024 remaster on Projekt Records, reworking the decades old recording with the audio technology of today bestowed an exciting new life on this elevated classic of New Age minimalism. Each generating a distinctive meditative gentleness the mood of the two tracks moves from the microscopic to the monumental. In scenes longer and looser, Morning Jewel is dependent on a sense of prolonged duration, so that we may feel the musician’s fascination with the beliefs he wishes to convey. The murmuring of softer synthesizers sends forth sublime sounds and sweet airs. The skill with which Stearns modulates light and dark, Earth and sky, ornamentation and starkness follows a rare beauty of form, harmonic drama, melodious accord and expressive depth – a perfectly undisturbed transformation of this most hopeful part of the day into a music quite profound. Blending together field recordings of natural sounds and a chorus of fragile, wordless vocals with early modular synth drones and tones Morning Jewel reduces the randomly fluctuating particles of the human condition with the certainty that dawn invariably follows night with the promise of a new day – Stearns’ elegant resolution of the eastern glow. -Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Solenopole

    Forty-five years after its first release, Michael Stearns’ Morning Jewel returns in a remastered version, bringing a classic of ambient and new age music back to life. Originally released in 1979, this album is a sonic exploration that harmoniously combines natural sounds and electronic elements. Projekt, the label responsible for this reissue, offers us the opportunity to rediscover this masterful work in a new light, thanks to technological advances in mastering. Ambient music pioneer Michael Stearns conceived Morning Jewel as an ode to nature and simplicity.

    The album consists of two long pieces, “Morning” and “Jewel”, which immerse the listener in soothing and evocative soundscapes. “Morning” opens with birdsong, an invitation to an introspective journey through the sounds of Arizona and the jungles of Mexico. The electronic layers are delicately superimposed on natural noises, creating a meditative and captivating atmosphere. Stearns explains that the creation of this album was the result of his curiosity and exploration of organic sounds and microtonal tunings. Recording environmental sounds became a meditation and a source of inspiration for him. This approach is clearly reflected in Morning Jewel, where each sound is carefully integrated to create a cohesive and immersive listening experience.

    The second piece, the 22-minute “Jewel”, is a composition that uses bell sounds created on Ervin Wilson’s Eikosany, enriched by the ethereal vocals of Marsha Lee and Stearns himself. This piece is a perfect example of minimalism and mystical beauty, with recording and processing techniques that lend a unique and timeless character to the music. Female vocals, enveloped in soft electronic sounds, add an extra dimension of serenity and depth.

    The 2024 remastering of Morning Jewel brings new clarity and depth to the original recordings. Stearns, with the help of mastering engineer Bob Ohlsson, was able to use modern audio technologies to breathe new life into this album. The remastering process has revealed sonic nuances that make this reissue particularly valuable.

    Revisiting Morning Jewel, Michael Stearns highlights how the combination of natural sound, vocals and synthesis remains deeply touching and relevant. This album, with its thoughtful compositions and innovative use of sounds, continues to resonate with organic wisdom and timeless beauty. For ambient music fans and new listeners, Morning Jewel is a must-see work that speaks to Stearns’ extraordinary talent and commitment to music as an art form and meditation.

    Morning Jewel is a sensory experience that transports the listener to a world of calm and reflection. This remastered reissue is a perfect opportunity to rediscover a work that has marked the history of ambient music and which continues to inspire and comfort. A timeless masterpiece which, forty-five years later, has lost none of its magic and its capacity to move.

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