After six years without any new recordings, pioneering ambient artist Michael Stearns has unleashed a torrent of music with three releases and this CD with Ron Sunsinger. In a way, Sorcerer is an extension of their 1994 album, Singing Stones, but Sorcerer is an even more abstract and experimental work. Inspired by the spiritual writings of Carlos Castaneda, Stearns and Sunsinger create a dark and perilous world.
On an album that's more sound design than music, they mix electric and acoustic sounds from prepared guitar to bowed metal with environmental recordings. Electronically processed, reversed, and otherwise distorted, they emerge with a surrealism that makes Dali seem like a hardcore realist painter. There are no rhythms to grab onto and no melodies to speak of until the very last track, when Peruvian shaman Don Augustine Rivas sings an Ayahuasca Icarro song. Until that respite, it's a tableau of demonic groans, shuddering metal on metal, and turbulent free falls, all orchestrated into a shifting, enveloping, and precarious soundscape.
- John Diliberto,