Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Stephan Micus: You Are a Shining Spring
Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

In a previous profile of the German-born musician Stephan Micus (here), I noted that his musical journey has run parallel to a deeply spiritual one and this album -- his 20th for ECM, settings of six Byzantine Greek prayers alongside quietly moving instrumentals -- would seem the culmination of a particular voyage.

As always the multi-instrumentalist and singer reaches beyond perhaps the more literal interpretations and from the opener I Praise You Unfading Rose (the album's title refers to the Greek word for female goddess, sometimes the Virgin Mary) he sounds more like a Hindu monk chanting a slow prayer.

And You Are the Treasure of Life which follows uses temple bells and dilruba (an Indian bowed violin-type instrument) to take the mood down even further into a meditative state.

The Greek element is more apparent in pieces like I Praise You Lady of Passion (a piece for 22 voices) and I Praise You Sacred Mother (20 voices) but mostly this is world music of no fixed cultural abode (but emphatically not New Age), like the best of Micus' work.

For more on the fascinating background to this album you should go here, but in the absence of any information this quiet, philosophical and gently mesmerising album transcends musical and spiritual boundaries.

An acquired taste perhaps but one to really turn off your mind and drift downstream . . .

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Longtime followers of the ECM label will register that this one ticks any number of the right boxes: the line-up of pianist Elaine Elias, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Joey Baron (a working trio in... > Read more

Joe Lovano: Symphonica (EMI)

Joe Lovano: Symphonica (EMI)

Those who were witness to the outstanding Auckland concert fronted by saxophonist Lovano and guitarist John Scofield might be right now looking for Joe albums: if so this maybe ain't the one you... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Old and new, the same but different

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Old and new, the same but different

In Kuala Lumpur which offers a colourful multicultural tapestry of life, it was a small but significant image: just before the expensive frockshop in the up-market Starhill Gallery opened the... > Read more

THE CITY UNDER THE SKY (2017): Images of Oslo, Norway

THE CITY UNDER THE SKY (2017): Images of Oslo, Norway

Although Norway is rightly known for its fjords and towering landscapes, the capital city Oslo was established around flatter land. That means that when in the city itself or even at one of the... > Read more