yet not very often, it is possible to refresh music by the utilisation
of a new instrument and Paul Michich's band is characterized by his
use of the EVI electric horn (invented by Nyle Steiner, ex-trumpetist
with the Salt Lake Symphony), which is played like a horn by blowing
into it, and fingered a lot like a trumpet. Paul employs hand vibrato
both like a horn or a violin, but the sounds resulting are all electronic,
therefore it's a hybrid instrument, exploiting the possibilities of
a wind instrument and the shapes only a synthesizer may offer. The EVI
can consequently imitate the sound of a baroque violin, clarinet, wooden
flute or harmonica. There're just another two people currently using
that and I believe one day the EVI might even be turned to sound like
It is plain that so eclectic an instrument allows to explore several
different music territories, and that's why we have to describe the
quartet as a world music combo, focusing on improvisation and unique
sessions where the reciprocal empathy has a fundamental role to the
different instrument entwining.
"Black Earth Islands" is a cradling Reggae song based
on soft percussions; it has nice EVI solos and an electric guitar one;
besides that the bass is gently skimmed by a guitar stroke till we get
to the finalé, rife with pathos. On the contrary, in the long
and Celtic "The Green" the EVI is more present but
in the way of accompanying rather than soloing; here the percussions
are more rhythmed and the acoustic guitar stands out with a solo and
several important interventions. Worth citing the central percussion
Even if "Wood Dance" is an Afro fusion track, it reminds
me of Carlos Santana and a few things from Dire Straits' "Communique".
Tribal percussions and few drums along with light synthesized keyboards
touches and the frame is complete.
Two cover versions follow: the former is "Jesu, Joy of Man's
Desiring", originally composed by J.S. Bach; I dare say World
Port deliver such a rustic rendering, so that if I hadn't known who
wrote it I'd've thought about a Vivaldi aria, since the EVI here sounds
like a cheerful violin; furthermore we find another remarkable end,
quite penetrating. As to the latter, "Country" by Keith
Jarrett, it is nothing but a jazzy romantic interpretation, whereas
the atmosphere abruptly changes when the first notes of "RFD"
get over the threshold of my ears; this danceable and lively composition,
as Texas swing requires, includes a bass solo and then another as memorable
as that by skinbeater Rob Messer.
afterwards "Stacking Stones"
follows; this track is the more particular of the set, for it's an Eastern
march, becoming a tad melancholic in the anticlimax; fancy a mix between
Pat Metheny and Tibetan music; only when the EVI enters the scene it
turns to a Celtic song, but later the two styles smoothly blend. A real
highlight of this totally instrumental CD!
Psychedelia and Jazz have an incest in the Afro Fusion of "Hand
Talk", in which the EVI reminds of a wooden flute very much.
The 4-piece is of course an ace during the songwriting phase and that's
why only a witty mind could choose a 3/4 drum break to leave a mark
on a song not in order to show how geniously intricated it may get to,
but to assure himself that the piece is really unique thanks to his
Finally, "Silk", a Spanish, Cuban or Mexican-rooted
track in the vein of nuevo Flamenco with an inevitable double solo (acoustic
guitar and then castanets), but most of all with AMAZING sounds from
the electric horn. If you're a decent dancer and wanna conquer a Latin
chick, you know what song to choose.
"Stories without Words" undeniably appeals to sophisticated
audiences or simply somebody in search for relax, harmony and superbly
played variety at the same time.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th Sep 2005