Search - Stephan Micus :: Desert Poems

Desert Poems
Stephan Micus
Desert Poems
Genres: Dance & Electronic, International Music, Jazz, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Austere and ecstatic, multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus's 15th album is a meditation on both the topography and idea of the desert. Unobstructed, ancient, and open, the compositions evoke a harshly beautiful state of bei...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: Stephan Micus
Title: Desert Poems
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ecm Import
Release Date: 2/27/2001
Album Type: Import
Genres: Dance & Electronic, International Music, Jazz, New Age, Pop
Styles: Techno, Jazz Fusion, Meditation
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 601215973921, 0601215973921, 2605000030132

Austere and ecstatic, multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus's 15th album is a meditation on both the topography and idea of the desert. Unobstructed, ancient, and open, the compositions evoke a harshly beautiful state of being that exists outside of human perceptions of time. Micus attempts to touch this deeper reality by combining an arsenal of instruments and musical styles ranging from the Asian steppes to the Sahara and the mountains of the Republic of Georgia. A quiet restlessness unites the performances. "Adela" overdubs 22 dilruba Indian string instruments in a piece that strangely suggests modern chamber music. "Shar Khar Venakhi" transposes a 13th-century polyphonic choral piece from the Caucasus to massed Indian and Turkman strings with windblown, forlorn effect. Every instrument on this impressive disc is played by Majorcan resident Micus, who also sings with monastic sobriety on "Contessa Entellina" and in Japanese Noh theater style on "For Yuko" accompanied by clay flowerpots and shakuhachi. Many artists attempt to fuse vernacular instruments of the world with a sense of the distant past, but few strike the chilling note of solitude that pervades this clear-headed work. --Bob Tarte

CD Reviews

Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 10/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Stephan Micus' latest offering is indeed, as one reviewer has stated, 'more of the same' -- but in Micus' case, that's not such a bad thing. Over the past 25 years, he has recorded 16 albums -- amazing, beautiful examples of the path he has chosen to honor the earth and its diversity of cultures. Just inside the booklet that accompanies this release, Micus has placed a quotation from Rumi (c.1270) -- it is a very telling choice: 'There are ten thousand ways to bow and kiss the earth'.The pieces on this disc are absolutely beautiful -- Stephan Micus makes some of the most evocative music I have ever heard. I have been a staunch fan since the release of his first album, 'Archaic concerts', in 1976 -- his only release not available on cd. He has never made any claim to be classically schooled in the various traditions from which he draws his inspiration and sounds -- but his respect for them, his empathy for the cultures, beliefs and values they represent, could not be more apparent.There are instruments on this disc from places as far-ranging as India, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, the West Indies, Japan, Egypt and China. The vocals -- in Micus' trademark style using sounds without the constraints of language, include also a traditional Georgian chant from a.d.1250. Rather than seem out of place (or time), it fits seamlessly into his music.I have always found the work of Stephan Micus to be both stimulating and relaxing -- a way of travelling by sound that honors our planet's diversity without pretending to replicate its traditions note-for-note. There is a gentle, meditative spirit present in his recordings.In today's troubled times, I think it could even bring us a little closer to understanding and appreciating the differences that make this planet a wonderful place, instead of being frightened by them."
Timeless, and a Quantum Leap for Micus
Stephen Silberman | SF, CA USA | 05/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I wish I liked Micus' other albums as much as "Desert Poems." It's an exquisite record, informed by a very mature kind of sadness coupled with a devotion that is akin to ecstasy -- the ecstasy of Rumi or Kabir.Micus has been brewing up world-music stews for years -- mixing Japanese shakuhachis with Indian dilrubas, chanting in syllables that sound like fragments of some lost sacred language. "Desert Poems," however, is the first album of Micus' that doesn't feel rather precious and slight. This is eremitic music that can stand alongside the great musical testaments to spiritual insight in any era, from Hildegard of Bingen to the lyrics of William Blake.I imagine that Micus (or at least ECM) is frustrated that his albums are tossed into the New Age section at the record store alongside outright dreck like Enya and Yanni; Micus is likewise shut out of the jazz buying guides, and doesn't appear in the world music guides either. "Desert Music" should earn Micus a place in both. This is intense, passionate, profound, "earthly" music."
The Subtle Same, Thank God
Paul Galioni | Susanville/Nevada City, CA, USofA | 10/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I consider Micus to be one of the preeminent composers of our time, Genius in its truest and brightest meaning. I live at the western edge of the High Desert of the Basins and Ranges and have come to love the desert more than I had ever imagined possible. Capturing the stark beauty of stark places is one of the most difficult things which can be done - one must turn inward to see outward, the further inward you are able to see, the greater the panorama of your outer vision. While others have commented that this is 'more of the same' and that this is 'not a bad thing' - I have to disagree - in the stark places of the world, just as in the stark places of the Soul - the beauty, the Mystery, lies in the subtle differences. I own all albums and while I may find some more favorite than others, each has it's own subtle beauty. I would rank this album within the top five, and possibly the top three of my favorite Micus albums. The Subtle Beauty, just as the subtle difference, is there if you have the ear to hear. A very good album from an exceptional creator."