Jardin Des √Čtoiles

Blue Glass

Independent release, 2021


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The recording alias for Seattle resident Michael Shunk (formerly of Transient Songs), Blue Glass brings plenty of synth exploration to this instrumental listen. Shunk penned and performed every song here, and though his earlier work also embraced guitars, here he's armed with just keyboards and a significant imagination.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The very curious albums leads with the soft and hypnotic ebbs of “Jardin des Étoiles I,” which flows like a dream in a sci-fi flick under Shunk's precise texturing. “Jardin des Étoiles II” then follows and presents us with a chilling, moody display of stirring introspection.

The middle tracks, “Jardin des Étoiles III” and “Jardin des Étoiles IV,” follow a similar exploration; the former shimmers with a brighter appeal of mesmerizing song craft that's ambient in a very emotive sort of way, while the latter then glides ever so gently in a very minimal but powerful fashion, showing beautiful restraint.

The final two tracks, “Jardin des Étoiles VI” and “Jardin des Étoiles VII,” are among the best, and again illustrate the depth of Shunk's boundless creativity. “VI” resides in a bare, spacey sort of territory that's sonically sparse but also rich in its unique way, and “VII” exits with an unusual, ominous droning that flirts with post-punk.

Similarities to Brian Eno, David Bowie, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, The Church or the 4AD Label won't go unnoticed, and, interestingly enough, the album was inspired by Shunk's son's fascination with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

With no track under 6 minutes in length, Jardin des Étoiles allows Shunk to really navigate his way in and out of an ethereal formula that's familiar with New Wave, post-punk, psyche-rock and experimental forms of indie-rock that you could never categorize but certainly can appreciate.

Rating: B

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