Bold as Light
The Bavarian multi-instrumentalist experiments with new sound possibilities and often plays the instruments in ways other than those he was taught by local players 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 on this new recording are the raj nplaim (a free-reed pipe made of bamboo) from Laos, the nohkan (a Japanese bamboo flute), and the many male voices, which are all sung by Micus himself. He drew inspiration for the multipart vocals from the intriguing polyphonic singing of Georgia and Bulgaria, which since the early Middle Ages has shaped the style of everyday singing as well as the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. On the very last track, the interwoven vocals make way for the Japanese sho (mouth organ), thus joining different aural worlds in a total sound whose divergent timbres have surprisingly much in common.
Each instrument, of course, represents a culture, an aesthetic and (religious) world of thought. The knowledge of this not only adds an extra dimension to the music but also at times helps clarify the mutual relationships in sound.
Personnel: Stephan Micus (raj nplaim, bass zither, chord zither, bavarian zither, nohkan, shô, voice, kalimba, shakuhachi, sinding)
- Part 1 - Rain: 6 raj nplaim
- Part 2 - Spring Dance: bass zither, chord zither, bavarian zither, nohkan
- Part 3 - Flying Swans: sho, 17 voices
- Part 4 - Wide River: 4 raj nplaim
- Part 5 - Autumn Dance: nohkan solo
- Part 6 - Golden Ginkgo Tree: kalimba, shakuhachi
- Part 7 - The Shrine: 6 raj nplaim, 15 voices
- Part 8 - Winter Dance: bass zither, chord zither, bavarian zither, nohkan
- Part 9 - The Child: 8 raj nplaim, sinding
- Part 10 - Seven Roses: sho, 19 voices, raj nplaim
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