Before migrating across the ECM continent, Stephan Micus outfitted some of his most formative expeditions in the territories of the JAPO sub-label. On these albums one hears Micus at his most elemental, turning every gesture into inter-spatial awareness. The album’s duration of 36 minutes only serves to deepen its intimacy as a space in which the listener might catch a cushion of meditation in a world of splinters. Micus’s practice has always been to render the stem before the flower, and in the album’s title track a table harp provides that very illustrative function. Its dulcimer-like heart beats a rhythm at once ancient and fresh, curling as the scriptural page, its edges darkened from constant contact with the hands. Those same hands cradle a method of speech so musical that its melody is discernible only in the freedom of solitude.
Don Henley took some time before completing his highly anticipated third album, The End of the Innocence. Although he manages to duplicate much of the magic of his previous album, Henley has backed off of the synthesizers and expanded his musical palette…
Recorded at his home studio in 1986, the double album No End illuminates hitherto undocumented aspects of Keith Jarrett's music. He is heard on electric guitars, electric bass, drums and percussion, overdubbing tribal dances of his own devising: "Somehow something happened during these days in the 80s that won't ever be repeated," he writes in his liner notes. "There was really, to my knowledge, no forethought or composition - in the typical sense - going on; just a feeling or a rhythmic idea or a bass line concept or melody. None of this was written down."
French project End of Orgy started out in the early 90's and dissolved quietly by the end of 20th century. One might notice that their tracks are included on Real Ibiza compilations. One can only wonder how it ended up being mixed with that, since they were not involved in production of mediocre dance music. Instead, they were playing soothing ambient with occasional wordless vocals. Mostly very melancholic, but also emotional and done very carefully. If you're a fan of cosmic ambient or any other form of ambient, pick up any of their albums and you won't be disappointed.
M.Ward's second solo enterprise verifies the artist as one of those few songwriters who stand between the cracks of time, where he spins a hallucinatory, new universe out of old-world roots. Indeed, there's a real down-home, unpolished luster to End of Amnesia, both in execution and in songwriting, that gives it a timeless, old-fashioned pallor. And yet there's also something just slightly off in the songs, a strange, disembodied quality that seems to come at least partly from an ulterior place, be it real or imagined. That attribute is precisely what gives the music such a singular, distinctive sound and vision. Ward comes off like a sort of one-man the Band with nothing but a beat-up guitar and his sepia croak of a voice.
The eighteenth century is probably the most extraordinary period of transformation Europe has known since antiquity. Political upheavals kept pace with the innumerable inventions and discoveries of the age; every sector of the arts and of intellectual and material life was turned upside down. Between the end of the reign of Louis XIV and the revolution of 1789, music in its turn underwent a radical mutation that struck at the very heart of a well-established musical language. In this domain too, we are all children of the Age of Enlightenment: our conception of music and the way we ‘consume’ it still follows in many respects the agenda set by the eighteenth century. And it is not entirely by chance that harmonia mundi has chosen to offer you in 2011 a survey of this musical revolution which, without claiming to be exhaustive, will enable you to grasp the principal outlines of musical creation between the twilight of the Baroque and the dawn of Romanticism.