Earth: Part One was originally released on cassette in 1990. The pieces of music presented on the disc were recorded more as images in the form of sound than as music. They were recorded with primitive recording equipment, and that means the sound quality is not up to current standards. The disc, along with the second part, was originally released in 1990 as a double cassette tape album and was meant to showcase the dangers presented by destruction of the environment.
When it was first released on CD (the disc has been out of print since the fall of 2011), Scott Montgomery said this at Music Street Journal, Part 1 is broken up into 15 short Impressions, ranging from 1:03 to 5:14. The pieces are entirely played by Gary Hill predominantly on keyboard with sequenced electronic beats and some occasional guitar. The pace tends toward slow, almost meditative space music. But if it is meditative, it is a desolate, discomforting meditation. Not for relaxation, Earth Part 1 forces a more existential meditation upon the immediacy of socio-ecological action. On the whole, Earth Part 1 is more akin to electronic soundscape experiments than it is to a more traditionally composed song cycle. It sounds very much like the soundtrack to a film and more of a Sci-Fi than terrestrially-centered epic. There is a sparse, minimal quality to the composing that would seem to work best as an accompanying audio compliment to a visual presentation such as film or dance. It seems intended to evoke imagery as might be the case with experimental multi-media installations.
There is a primitive, unpolished, quality, but there is a certain charm to this homespun feel, particularly in this era of over-produced, sterile post-New Age soundscapes. The rough edges of Earth make it feel a little more in line with some of the very early electronic experimentations of the earliest Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh, when these groups were very much focused on the effect of pure electronic sound. This is not exactly Musique Concrète, but it does have a sense of electronic found-sound. In this, it has equal affinity with avant-garde leanings than with the typically soft palette of most New Age music. It is not sit back and relax background music, but challenges one to sit up, listen, and try to visualize the unfolding tale of ecological peril.
This was originally released (both the cassette version and the first CD release) under the name Gary Hill. Since then Hill has started using the name G. W. Hill for all his professional work.G. W. Hill began playing music at age 15, starting on bass guitar. In addition to performing music, Hill is a published author (The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writing of H. P. Lovecraft and Strange Realities: The Collected Short Stories of Gary Hill) and a music journalist.
Earth: Part One s is currently available exclusively at www.createspace.com/2058247, but will be available at Amazon.com within the next week or so.