An ethereal, primordial Experience. Implosions is a state of consciousness that wraps you in the arms of swirling air, transports you to ethnic lands, where spices catch your pallet. Where stories are swapped and legends of old are discovered again. Stephan Micus takes you down the river Ganges as he plays from the sitar, you are in a languished state of being. His ethnic chants suffocate you until you are spirit removed from flesh. The mist begins to fall and as the fog rolls in you are swept into the remotest parts of the world, where things thought to have been lost or abandoned have been uncovered. Caravans from the east are swept into a mirage in the horizon, while strange red stone pillars stab at the sky. Then you come across the foothills of machu picchu, incensed by its abandonment you climb to the summit there an elder of a race long since vanished gives you knowledge of the new world. You stumble back into reality, Unable to return.
Desert Poems both consolidates and expands Stephan Micus's solo quest to fashion a music of archetypal, world-ranging import: music–often modal in nature–which would be both as old as the proverbial hills, yet as fresh as tomorrow. If you've followed this multi-instrumentalist's musical odyssey of the past 30-or-so years (this is something like his 15th solo project) you probably won't need any encouragement to buy an album that finds Micus's mastery of such instruments as the sarangi, nay, shakahuchi, steel drum and humble flower pot enhanced by a range of solo and polyphonic vocals. His pan-global sources are filtered to create a somewhat sombre, strongly devotional sense of the deeper rhythms of life to which music may awaken us. Apart from the vocalising on pieces like "Contessa Entellina", standout tracks include the solo shakuhachi feature "First Snow" and an instrumental reworking of "Shen Khar Venakhi", a masterpiece of old Georgian polyphony.
German multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus was making his own rather idiosyncratic version of world music years before it became fashionable to do so. Micus specializes in taking ethnic instruments from all over the planet and using them, in ways that transcend their traditional contexts, to play his own moody and somewhat austere compositions. On Darkness and Light Micus makes extensive use of the dilruba, a four-stringed bowed Indian instrument that sounds somewhat like a nasal cello which has 24 sympathetic strings that set up a hypnotic drone effect behind the haunting melodies. Also featured are the classical Spanish guitar, the Balinese suling flute, an Irish tin whistle, the sho (a Japanese bamboo mouth-organ), the kortholt (a German renaissance reed instrument), various gongs, and the remarkable ki un ki, a six-foot-long Siberian cane trumpet (pictured on the cover), whose spirited blasts are created by inhaling rather than exhaling.
Before migrating across the ECM continent, Stephan Micus outfitted some of his most formative expeditions in the territories of the JAPO sub-label. On these albums one hears Micus at his most elemental, turning every gesture into inter-spatial awareness. The album’s duration of 36 minutes only serves to deepen its intimacy as a space in which the listener might catch a cushion of meditation in a world of splinters. Micus’s practice has always been to render the stem before the flower, and in the album’s title track a table harp provides that very illustrative function. Its dulcimer-like heart beats a rhythm at once ancient and fresh, curling as the scriptural page, its edges darkened from constant contact with the hands. Those same hands cradle a method of speech so musical that its melody is discernible only in the freedom of solitude.