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CD ECM Records Stephan Micus: Snow

Cod produs: CD2063
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2008

Stephan Micus - Doussn' Gouni, Duduk, Maung, Gongs, Tibetan Cymbals, Bavarian Zither, Sinding, Steel-String Guitar, Hammered Dulcimer, Charango, Nay, Bass Duduk, Voice

'Snow' is the title Stephan Micus has given to his 18th album for ECM. It is the outcome of continuous work he has carried out on journeys and in the studio since the release of his 'On the Wing' in early spring 2006. 'To me, snow is one of the most beautiful of all natural phenomena', explains Micus, who has been living in Spain for many years. 'It’s closely associated with lasting impressions of my original home in Bavaria, especially the long moonlit walks I used to take when I lived in the Alpine foothills. I've always regarded snow as the essence of magic, even more so today now that there's so little of it and the glaciers are disappearing.' Micus's music has always drawn on impressions of nature and the countryside. The inspiration for his new album came largely from a long study tour through Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the mountains of the Caucasus. He travelled through these distant and extremely isolated regions partly by Jeep, partly on extended trips by foot. He met people from many walks of life and became acquainted with their living conditions and musical traditions.

Prezentare generala CD ECM Records Stephan Micus: Snow

2008

Stephan Micus - Doussn' Gouni, Duduk, Maung, Gongs, Tibetan Cymbals, Bavarian Zither, Sinding, Steel-String Guitar, Hammered Dulcimer, Charango, Nay, Bass Duduk, Voice

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German multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus (born 1953) with his 18th release for ECM: an eight-part suite, once again combining instruments from many different world regions. Micus’ approach to music-making originates in his extended travels through Asia, South America and Africa since 1972. He has never contented himself with learning the playing techniques of indigenous instruments but always seeks to remove them from their cultural contexts and to compose a new sound world for them. Employing multi-track recording, the opulent choirs and instrumental ensembles on “Snow” are all sung and played by Micus himself. There is an extended and particularly soulful duduk solo accompanied by Bavarian zither, there’s an improvisation on charango, the miniature guitar from the Andes and there is Micus’ own voice intoning songs of nature, wide open spaces and solitude…

'Snow' is the title Stephan Micus has given to his 18th album for ECM. It is the outcome of continuous work he has carried out on journeys and in the studio since the release of his 'On the Wing' in early spring 2006. 'To me, snow is one of the most beautiful of all natural phenomena', explains Micus, who has been living in Spain for many years. 'It’s closely associated with lasting impressions of my original home in Bavaria, especially the long moonlit walks I used to take when I lived in the Alpine foothills. I've always regarded snow as the essence of magic, even more so today now that there's so little of it and the glaciers are disappearing.' Micus's music has always drawn on impressions of nature and the countryside. The inspiration for his new album came largely from a long study tour through Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the mountains of the Caucasus. He travelled through these distant and extremely isolated regions partly by Jeep, partly on extended trips by foot. He met people from many walks of life and became acquainted with their living conditions and musical traditions.

As always, Micus travelled with one object in mind: to learn new instrumental or vocal techniques from traditional masters. In autumn 2006 he paid his second long visit to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, in order to study the duduk, an Armenian double-reed instrument made of apricot wood. The duduk, which figured prominently on his album 'Towards the Wind' in 2002 (ECM 1804), is known to have existed in pre-Christian times and is listed today on UNESCO's 'Masterworks of Mankind's Oral and Intangible Heritage'. 'Snow' presents it so to speak as the main protagonist of the musical activity, allowing it to appear in unprecedented combinations with African, Asian, South and North American and European instruments, including an especially expressive duet with the Bavarian zither.

In 'Snow', Micus usually presents the instruments he has gathered from all over the world in unorthodox contexts, altering their techniques and employing modified versions ordered from local instrument makers. For example the bass duduk, traditionally used only for drone accompaniments, is entrusted with broadly-arched melodic lines on an enlarged instrument with a lower range and darker sound. 'I've always tended to use instruments as large and low-pitched as possible', Micus explains. 'Every time I order one of these customised versions somewhere in the world, the craftsmen in the workshops raise their eyebrows. But usually their scepticism is followed by growing excitement once they hear the new instrument and recognise its expanded potential.'

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