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Friday, October 1, 2010

News from ECM - Stephan Micus' last effort


“The idea of sitting down at a table and making a composition on paper is totally foreign to me. To come up with a piece of music, I have to make the sound myself, have the instruments in my hands.”

Stephan Micus (b. 1953) has a special and intense relationship with the countless instruments he plays. Many of the instruments, a number of which come from Asia or Africa, represent age-old musical traditions, some of them dying out while others have congealed into the stuff of museum exhibits. But in Micus’ hands they come alive again.

He experiments with new sound possibilities and often plays the instruments in ways other than those he was taught by local masters during his distant travels. Improvising, he comes up with the most surprising combinations of instruments, whose melodic lines he plays separately into a multi-track recorder. The resulting polyphonic structures are staggeringly and mysteriously beautiful.

Micus’ three main sound protagonists in Bold As Light are the raj nplaim (a free-reed pipe made of bamboo) from Laos, the nohkan (a bamboo flute) from Japan, and the many male voices, which, of course, are all sung by Micus himself.

With this CD - the nineteenth for ECM - the impressive discography Stephan Micus has built up continues unabated, each time with new and unique music.

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