MUSIC FROM THE COLLECTIVE HUMAN SOUL
Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 04/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...and, actually, FOR the collective human soul, as well. The music created over the years by Stephan Micus speaks both 'of' and 'to' all of humanity -- and he does so with such an obvious love and respect of all cultures that his music truly tanscends boundaries like no other I've ever experienced.IMPLOSIONS, his second album, recorded in 1977, was his first work for JAPO/ECM Records -- and the start of a long, continuing, fruitful relationship. Manfred Eicher has a long-standing reputation for allowing the artists he produces to enjoy complete freedom of expression and creativity, as well as recording quality that is crystalline and matchless -- I can think of no other organization with whom Micus' art would be more at home.The instruments used on this recording are varied, coming from areas of Europe and Asia. On the lengthy opening track, 'As I crossed a bridge of dreams', Micus employs 3 sitars, an acoustic guitar, and his incredible voice. This piece was the first recording he made using his voice -- he sings in no language, but so expressively, so in-tune with the spirit of the music, that the listener can easily imagine that the words have deep meaning and carry strong emotion. The piece moves through several mood changes -- but never becomes 'noisy' or discordant. There is a pervasive sense of peace in his music -- even in the more rhythmically rapid pieces.The next piece, 'Borkenkind', uses 3 Bavarian zithers, as well as Stephan's voice. The instruments swirl and meld behind the voice, creating another beautiful mood. The third track, 'Amarchaj', is more meditative, created on 4 shakuhachi (the Japanese bamboo flute used by Zen monks for meditation) -- and it's incredibly beautiful. The fourth track, 'For the "Beautiful changing child"', uses a little-known instrument from Japan, the sho (actually, 3 of them). The sho is a type of mouth organ with 17 reed pipes -- the wind from the player enters through a mouthpiece on the wooden base in which the pipes are mounted. Micus states in his notes that because of the materials used in this instrument, dampness in any amount can disturb the sound, therefore making it probably the only instrument in the world which has to be heated before playing. He combines the 3 sho on this piece with a single Thai flute. The final track on the recording is 'For M'schr and Djingin Khan' -- played on a single rabab (a type of lute from Afghanistan) and accompanied, again, by Micus' voice. The effect of this piece is stunning -- I can close my eyes when listening to it and easily imagine myself sitting on a windy steppe, under a full moon, hearing tales spun from the music.The music of Stephan Micus is one of the greatest treasures I have discovered in the 40+ years I've been seriously exploring the musical world. He has released 16 recordings since his first in 1974 -- not the most prolific artist out there, but, with the quality that he has come to exemplify, one of the most productive. If you have never experienced the work of this amazing artist, you should try one of his cds -- this one, IMPLOSIONS, would be a great place to start...and I say 'start' with the confidence that many of those who give him a listen will want to keep exploring his work. It's a thing of rare and precious beauty -- and something that can bind different cultures together, rather than push them apart. We could use that now, more than ever..."
Wonderfull, brightens up your day
Larry L. Looney | 11/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderfull record. I actually got it on a sell out for very little money and didn't expect much, but it's one of the highlights of my CD collection."