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Micus, Stephan: Bold As Light

"Every story that people hear in my music is valid."
Stephan Micus

It is a beautiful story indeed. Stephan Micus is a German musician/composer who has just released his 19th release for ECM Records entitled Bold As Light, an immense body of work to be sure. On his latest album Micus uses age-old African and Asian instruments to make what is a stirring and at times beautiful release. The main instruments of choice are the raj nplaim (a Chinese free reed pipe made of bamboo), the nohkan (a bamboo flute from Japan) and his voice which is multi-tracked on three tunes and is used in the Gregorian chant style. He also includes the sho (Japanese wind instrument) and the kalimba (an African percussion instrument). On each track he uses one or two instruments and the sound is rich and full. The different flutes add a definite exotic/Eastern sound to the mix and give the recording a traditional ethnic feel.

The album's first track is the exotic sounding "Rain" where the raj nplaim is multi-tracked 6 times making for a richly layered sound. With just a single instrument Micus is able to reach into his musical pallet and paint different hues with the gentlest of brush strokes taking the song on a serene journey from beginning to end. With "Spring Dance" Micus breaks out the zither and nohkan giving this track some lovely flute sounds which can also be quite intense. The zither adds fullness to the sound, sounding a little like an acoustic guitar. "Flying Swans" features the sho and sounds almost like an organ and melds well with his voice, multi-tracked 17 times. His Gregorian style vocals can be absolutely memorizing. "Golden Ginko Tree" is one of the more exotic songs and features kalimba and shakuhachi, a Japanese flute. The kalimba offers spacious percussive sounds while the flute fills in the gaps rather nicely.

Those who appreciate gentle music with exotic flavours will be well served by Bold As Light. Rich in timbre and sonically diverse, Micus has produced a very nice album that exudes quality, a perfect fit for ECM Records.

Track Listing:
1. Rain
2. Spring Dance
3. Flying Swans
4. Wide River
5. Autumn Dance
6. Golden Ginko Tree
7. The Shrine
8. Winter Dance
9. The Child
10. Seven Roses

Added: January 16th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1434
Language: english

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