Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Stephan Micus - The Garden Of Mirrors

No long ago I bought a CD by Stephan Micus called "On The Wing", for the simple reason that it looked interesting and that it was on the European Jazz label ECM, a label that specialises in very distinctive and eye-catching artwork. In recent times I have been listening to some of the more left-of-centre ánd "world music" orientated artists on the label especially Dino Saluzzi , Anouar Brahem and Kayhan Kalhor. However on listening to "On The Wing" for the first time I was very disappointed, despite having some very good tracks such as "Gazelle", some tracks rendered the album as a whole almost unlistenable for reasons that would be apparent should you choose to listen to the album in question (The track "Morning Star" being a good example).

The thing about Stephan Micus is that not only does he compose all the tracks on his albums, he also plays every instrument as well, and that could be anything from a 14-string guitar, a sitar to a ney and even his own "voice". You get the picture. German born Micus takes his influences globally. I knew from the moment I became aware of what Stephan Micus was about I had to venture further, and so I did (It took me long enough. His first album was released in 1976!). This led me to "The Garden Of Mirrors" (1997), a very satisfying set indeed. Nine extremely atmospheric pieces with "Gates Of Fire" and "Words Of Truth" being choice tracks which features the likes of steel drums, bowed sinding, tin whistle and a shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute). With a back catalogue of 20 or so albums under his belt, I will no doubt be venturing further into the world of this very unique artist.

You can hear clips from this album here.

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