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Album Review

Stephan Micus: Inland Sea

Read "Inland Sea" reviewed by Geno Thackara


Like an actual inland sea, the Stephan Micus catalogue stands as a unique entity distinct from all its surroundings. Always too restless to rely on familiar sounds, he travels to find little-known instruments in far corners of the world and take time getting to know each one's voice. His 22nd ECM recording is centered mostly around the texture of the nyckelharpa--a Swedish fiddle with built-in sympathetic strings. In supporting roles here (as it were) are the genbri, a Moroccan stringed ...

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Extended Analysis

Stephan Micus: Nomad Songs

Read "Stephan Micus: Nomad Songs" reviewed by John Kelman


For his 21st ECM recording (his first six originally released on the label's sister imprint Japo but subsequently reissued on ECM), multi-instrumentalist and intrepid musical explorer Stephan Micus simplifies...well, relatively speaking...to the sparer instrumental settings of earlier recordings like The Music of Stones (1989), East of the Night (1985) and Till the End of Time (1978). That's not to say that Micus--who's recorded all his music in his own MCM Studio since 1992's To the Evening Child--has deserted his usual ...

7

Album Review

Stephan Micus: Nomad Songs

Read "Nomad Songs" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus has lived in a sound world of his own for many years. World Music usually means borrowing from disparate musical cultures and combining them. But Micus creates World Music for a world of his own creation. He adopts traditional instruments from all over the planet, then combines them in original compositions without referencing their original styles. As he says, “It makes little sense for a German to interpret Asian or African traditional music in public. This is ...

5

Album Review

Stephan Micus: Panagia

Read "Panagia" reviewed by John Kelman


Almost like clockwork since 1983 (though he began his association with the label, on its subsidiary JAPO label, in 1977 with Implosions), multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus has been delivering albums to ECM every one-to-three years. His modus operandi is largely the same: continue to scour the world for rarely exposed ethnic instruments and use them in contexts different than those for which, perhaps, they were originally intended and, over the course of decades, create a body of work as profound in ...

210

Album Review

Stephan Micus: Bold as Light

Read "Bold as Light" reviewed by John Kelman


At a time when, at least for First World residents, there seems no respite from the relentless, rapid pace of life, artists like Stephan Micus provide welcome clarity; proof that there are alternatives. Difficult though it may seem, when immersed in all the push-and-pull of day-to-day distractions, there is another way; it's just not necessarily an easy one. For nearly four decades, Micus has traveled the world, a student of culture and society...and the music that naturally evolves from the ...

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Album Review

Stephan Micus: On the Wing

Read "On the Wing" reviewed by Erik R. Quick


Stephan Micus is a German-born multi-instrumentalist and inveterate ethnic musicologist. He currently resides in Majorca where, aside from the splendid climate, the airport is well-equipped and prepared to take the adventuresome traveler almost anywhere at any time. Micus utilizes the latter frequently in planning his musical landscapes.

Micus has traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe and, in doing so, has accumulated an arsenal of exotic instruments. He does not, however, seek to replicate the literal music tradition of a particular ...

245

Album Review

Stephan Micus: On the Wing

Read "On the Wing" reviewed by John Kelman


Stephan Micus' last album, Life (ECM, 2004), represented the multi-instrumentalist's most ambitious vocal album to date, layering as many as 14 voices at once. On the Wing represents a complete departure, his first entirely instrumental album in 17 years.

The painstaking piecing together of many layers of multiple instruments (with Micus performing every part, creating solo recordings in the truest sense of the word) might seem the antithesis of improvisation, but a 2004 interview reveals otherwise.

“I compose through many ...


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