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Stephan Micus - Desert Poems (2001)
FLAC (image+cue), Lossless | Label: ECM Records | New Age, Ethnic Fusion, World, Neo-Classical | 0:47:23 | 263 Mb

01. The Horses of Nizami
02. Adela
03. Night
04. Mikhail's Dream
05. First Snow
06. Thirteen Eagles
07. Contessa Entellina
08. Shen Khar Venakhi
09. For Yuko
Austere and ecstatic, multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus's 15th album is a meditation on both the topography and idea of the desert. Unobstructed, ancient, and open, the compositions evoke a harshly beautiful state of being that exists outside of human perceptions of time. Micus attempts to touch this deeper reality by combining an arsenal of instruments and musical styles ranging from the Asian steppes to the Sahara and the mountains of the Republic of Georgia. A quiet restlessness unites the performances. "Adela" overdubs 22 dilruba Indian string instruments in a piece that strangely suggests modern chamber music. "Shar Khar Venakhi" transposes a 13th-century polyphonic choral piece from the Caucasus to massed Indian and Turkman strings with windblown, forlorn effect. Every instrument on this impressive disc is played by Majorcan resident Micus, who also sings with monastic sobriety on "Contessa Entellina" and in Japanese Noh theater style on "For Yuko" accompanied by clay flowerpots and shakuhachi. Many artists attempt to fuse vernacular instruments of the world with a sense of the distant past, but few strike the chilling note of solitude that pervades this clear-headed work. --Bob Tarte
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