"Stephan Micus may not be extremely prolific -- he has released approximately 18 albums over the last 25 years -- but the quality of his recordings and the care with which he assembles them, coupled with his amazing ability to convey a strong sense of place, makes each one of them memorable in its own unique way.On this outing, he takes as his inspiration a visit he made to the mountain Athos, on a Greek peninsula jutting into the Aegian Sea. Long considered by practitioners of the Greek Orthodox faith to be a holy place, a place of pilgrimage, his visit there obviously affected Micus very deeply -- the music on this disc is some of his most soulful and heartfelt yet.Carefull constructed in 'day' and 'night' sections, the music transports the listener -- when I sit in the dark and allow myself to become absorbed in this recording, I can almost feel the fresh sea breezes, the cool, damp solitude of the monasteries, the pervading depth of spirit in the very atmosphere.Micus seems to have the inate ability to play any instrument he runs across in his travels, bringing the spirit of its culture along with it into new realms, combining instruments from one culture with the traditions and soul of another -- always with respect, and always to great effect. His vocals, when he chooses to utilize them, have the same effect -- they are generally sung in words of his own invention, words not from any known language. There aren't many artists who could pull this off without seeming pretentious -- when Micus does it, it's as natural as it could be. Every single one of his releases displays this incredible talent. If you've not yet experienced the magic and spirit that is the soul of his music, you owe it to yourself to explore it. Most of his recordings are released through the long-respected German label ECM -- the recordings are excellent, the packages pleasing to the eye and informative -- and as such, are widely available. A few of the best are available through amazon.com --make use of the opportunity to listen to selections on line, but remember they sound much fuller and clearer direct."
Larry L. Looney | 07/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Such feeling and depth is a gift. The music touched my soul. This is comparable to earlier work, yet it is taken to a new level."
Hit or miss
C. H Smith | Bowling Green, Kentucky United States | 12/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my least favorite Micus albums (all of which I own), largely because I can't quite get into the multi-tracked chants that are the highlight of the cd. From time to time Micus puts out a real gem in the vocal category (and it must be remembered that his approach to musical vocals is very experimental to begin with, including the use of artificial words), but this is not because he has anything beyond a barely professional-level singing voice. In short, I just don't think his attempts at chant sound that good. "Athos" is built around a visit he apparently made at a monastery in Greece; the music is duly reverential and mostly sombre, and features more vocal material than on any of his other albums. But, like all Micus albums, it is characterized by honesty and character, not to mention humility, and given these qualities (and his always fresh instrumental arrangements) I think it deserves a '4'--even if I don't play it very often."
Best for me, but may be not for you...
ONUR EVREN | ANKARA Turkey | 11/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have this CD for 5 years now. I think this the best spiritual outcome of Micus. You can listen to this as a drug for yourself, or a thriller for your family or friends. It depends on what you are after. Onur Evren
Wyote | Seoul | 11/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this disk mostly on the strength of the ECM label, not being familiar with Micus' work. I am a fairly big fan of Byzantine chant - the kind of chant you would often hear on Mt. Athos. My favorite recording in that line is Chant Byzantin. You will never hear more beautiful music than that (though of course you won't hear Marie Keyrouz on Athos - women aren't allowed!)
I found the idea of some jazz-like work with Greek chant very intriguing; sadly, this is not that. This is new age / world music inspired by the chant Micus heard and the experiences he had on Athos. It is somewhat more interesting that most new age music; had I expected ordinary new age / world music along the lines of Loreena McKennit I would have been pleasantly surprised! (Fans of David Lanz for instance would be in for a very healthy, badly needed shock.)
For me, this disk is another example of the superiority of the Nonesuch label to ECM. If you are someone who finds these statements ridiculous, you'll probably love this music. But my verdict is: if you are considering buying other CDs, you probably should give them a shot. This is pretty music and somewhat curious, but it almost certainly isn't going to rock your world the way a lot of music out there will. Get some of that and enjoy it. However, if you know what you're in for and you still think you really want it, by all means go ahead.
It will certainly help you relax after a stressful day under artificial lighting, and that seems to be the point. "