ECM: C/D, S&D

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Manfred Eicher's retirement home for clapped-out fusioneers, where ScandBland new-age is the only game in town and every bloody record somehow manages to sounds the same (whether its bandoneon, sax or 12-string acoustic) and every cover is an Athena knock-off.

Or a label with an admirably consistent aesthetic, constantly evolving and innovating, serenity served up in audiophilic nuggets, wrapped in beautiful sleeves.

Peaks? Troughs? Feel free to included ECM New Series and (if you're Mark S) tell us how ECM fell so far from favour with The Wire...

Judging by the listening list at the back of 'Nothing', Paul Morley's a bit of a fan.

Michael Jones, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I'm surprised they haven't signed Sigur Ros.

dave q, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

HUGE dud: Jan Garbarek (or "Janny G" as he's often nicknamed on the ECM list). Smooooth!

Classics: Jarrett's maniacal virtuoso piano-bashing, Charlie Haden (esp. the "Ornette's band without Ornette" Old and New Dreams), Puntin/Gunnarsdottir, Abercrombie (esp. Gateway), Rypdal, Surman. I can't say I have any ambition to investigate the whole catalogue (one Stephan Micus album is enough, thanks), but there's more to ECM than proto-new-age.

Andrew Norman, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

are you the same Andrew Norman that used to do reviews of Wurlitzer Jukebox 7"s?

gareth, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Taking sides - Keith Jarrett v. Keith Emerson

dave q, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Morley's always been a Jarrett fan. Search: my JanG wire review which kicked off w. a discussion of Noggin the Nog!!

Speaking as one who has now contributed for (tho not to) VERY NEARLY 200 ISSUES K- BLIMEY, I think Wire attitude to ECM has ALWAYS been very ambivalent. R.Cook was probably super-diplomatic — sometimes his genius, sometimes his crime — but the sense was that their success as a label actually somewhat occluded bettah-favoured Euro- indies like eg Black Saint or hat HUT...

mark s, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Just once I'd like to limit Eicher to using ONE ambient mic in the studio and see what would happen.

dave q, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I don't have that much on ECM. But the Keith Jarrett and Dave Holland albums I have are nice.

Josh, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

They put out Arvo Part recordings, that's good enough for me.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classics: The Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, and Art Ensemble of Chicago ('Nice Guys' especially, seems like a rather weird fit for ECM) records that they have put out. I wouldn't mind checking out some of their Jack deJohnette or old John Abercrombie stuff either.

Duds: Most of the mannered and Third Stream records that constitute the so-called "ECM sound" (not like I've listened extensively to them, though).

Jordan, Saturday, 25 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Conclusive case for the prosecution.

Compare and contrast "Song for Someone" by the Kenny Wheeler big band on Incus with "Music for Large and Small Ensembles" by more or less the same line-up on ECM. The latter sounds like all the life has been bled out of it.

Most atypical, and therefore best, ECM release: "Afternoon of a Georgia Fawn" by Marion Brown; the missing link between "Bitches Brew" and Braxton.

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 27 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Classic: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls

Rockist Scientist, Sunday, 12 January 2003 23:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Jack DeJohnette Special Edition with Blythe and Murray. Just listened to it a couple of days ago. Fantastic album.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Sunday, 12 January 2003 23:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

anyone heard julian priester's 'love, love'? saw it kicking about in a rec shop, know it has a reputation, imagine it is hideous

zemko (bob), Sunday, 12 January 2003 23:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(i like sextant obv)

zemko (bob), Sunday, 12 January 2003 23:27 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I just saw a Meredith Monk record ("Dolemn music"?) on ECM used for three bucks. Should I run back and get it?

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 13 January 2003 03:54 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yes you should.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 13 January 2003 04:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

C: Marion Brown 'Afternoon of a Georgia Faun', Philipp Wachsmann/Paul Lytton 'Some Other Season', both Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble dics, and Robin Williamson's 'The Seed-at-Zero'.

the first two are as beautiful as abstract music ever gets. the Parker discs are remarkable examples of e-a improv, provided that you can get past Eicher's inappropriately spacious production. and Williamson's tribute to Dylan Thomas is rather atypical, both for the musician and for ECM, with nary a hint of ISB's psychotropic excess (or Eicher's cathedral-ceiling echo) to be heard in its solemn, skeletal settings of Thomas' poems.

summerslastsound (summerslastsound), Monday, 13 January 2003 14:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Both Love, Love and Dolmen Music are urgent and key. Also the Paris Concert by Circle (Braxton, Corea, Holland, Altschul). And of course ECM distribute WattWorks in Europe, i.e. all the Carla Bley/Michael Mantler stuff.

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 13 January 2003 14:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'd like to pick up a copy of Doleman Music myself. That sounds like a good buy. (I forgot that was on ECM.) There's also some Steve Reich on ECM, but some of it might be superseded by more current recordings. (I still haven't heard the new recording of Tehilim.

Rockist Scientist, Monday, 13 January 2003 16:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

the legendary "first 30" releases (cat. nos. 1001-1030) which some jazzheads pontificated about on rec.music.jazz years ago. the aforementioned "georgia faun" by marion brown is part of this group, and there are some surprisingly dense, iconoclast euro-free titles by artists who later used ECM as a nice soft pillow to lay down upon.

the hal russell NRG ensemble "the hal russell story".

there are a few others but it's too early and I haven't cared enough about jazz lately to remember.

mosurock (mosurock), Monday, 13 January 2003 16:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

have always been into keith jarrett "standards vol 1" (awsome cover of "god bless the child") and "koln concert".

other good stuff includes gateway, feat. john abercrombie (sp?) who is somewhat similar to bill frisell's at points. also the early, pre-lame, pre-midi pat metheney.

marcg (marcg), Monday, 13 January 2003 17:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've enjoyed: Circle, Paris-Concert; Metheny, Bright Size Life and Watercolors; Dave Holland, Conference of the Birds and Extensions; Chick Corea and Gary Burton, Crystal Silence; Eberhard Weber, Silent Feet, Little Movements, Yellow Fields, and The Colours of Chloe; Art Ensemble of Chicago, Urban Bushmen; Carla Bley, Night-Glo; the Gateway album; Marc Johnson, Bass Desires; and lots of other stuff. I've been disappointed by: Dave Holland, Life Cycle; Carla Bley, Heavy Heart; Eberhard Weber, Fluid Rustle; most of Jan Garbarek's stuff, especially that wildly misconceived album with the Hilliard Ensemble.

Phil (phil), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

One of these days I'll figure out why my line breaks keep disappearing.

Phil (phil), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I stopped buying Garbarek albums about ten years ago. But the late released live Personal Mountain with Keith Jarrett is a keeper. Nude Ants from the same time is another must. His tenor sax sound is something special. Very clear and fjordian. But thee ECM release to own is Keith Jarrett's Sun Bear Concerts. The summit of Jarrett's solo improvisations. Lots of ecstatic moaning, lots of free jazz, lots of climaxes, lots of incredible beauty. Ten records.

alex in mainhattan (alex63), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry, Personal Mountains was the name of the Jarrett/Garbarek album.

alex in mainhattan (alex63), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...
Revive, if you please.

ECM: Found huddled outside a Starbucks beneath the much-maligned umbrella of "NPR Music," or a still-relevant home to transcendent, spacious music with a minimum of fuss? Are they only as good as their classic back-catalogue? Does the New Series wave of innocuous and "tasteful" artistry leave a bad taste in your mouth (or no taste whatsoever)?

IMHO, their Steve Reich issues are some of the finest Reich extant, including the definitive renditions of Music for 18 Musicians, Violin Phase, Octet, etc. I love Anouar Brahem, enjoy Tomasz Stanko, and admire their volume of Silvestrov/Shevchenko's Silent Songs.

That said, I'm not sold on 100% (or even 75%) of what I hear on ECM, but it's one of the few labels that I routinely give the benefit of the doubt if I'm on the fence about wasting $20 from time to time. I'm entirely in favor of their leanings towards artsy European starkness, but I wish Manfred Eicher would learn to get by on less reverb.

Myke. (Myke Weiskopf), Wednesday, 15 March 2006 06:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

wow, i've never seen an ecm record for more than 8$

team jaxon (jaxon), Wednesday, 15 March 2006 07:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I've been really liking the four Gary Burton ECM albums that I have picked up in the past few months: "Passengers", "Dreams So Real", "The New Quartet" and "Ring".

I have also been suprised how much parts of Eberhardt Weber albums from the 70s sound like Tortoise.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Wednesday, 15 March 2006 09:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Speaking as one who has now contributed for (tho not to) VERY NEARLY 200 ISSUES K- BLIMEY, I think Wire attitude to ECM has ALWAYS been very ambivalent. R.Cook was probably super-diplomatic — sometimes his genius, sometimes his crime — but the sense was that their success as a label actually somewhat occluded bettah-favoured Euro- indies like eg Black Saint or hat HUT...

I think that ECM's huge advertising budget may have been a contributory factor to that particular "ambivalence."

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Wednesday, 15 March 2006 10:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

The NY Times and a Seattle paper love the new ECM label album Arco Iris from Moroccan vocalist Amina Alaoui who performs old Andalusian compositions here. I haven't heard it but I am intrigued. Ilxer Sanpaku liked the Jon Balke & Amina Alaoui album Siwan that came out on ECM a year or 2 back.

I also just mentioned it here:
Arabic music (not elsewhere classified)

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 July 2011 14:51 (seven years ago) Permalink

the other ECM thread

ECM s/d.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 July 2011 14:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

Posted this on the Arabic music thread but its an ECM label album

Some of the Amina Alaoui album is a little too samey--melancholy nearly fado-like vocals and minimalist flamenco guitar strumming, but on other cuts her voice is exquisite and the instrumental work just lively enough.

― curmudgeon, Thursday, July 14, 2011 1:12 PM

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 July 2011 16:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

Is there a comprehensive digital repository for 70s ECM gubbins? Preferably not streaming.

The label has a page on Bandcamp but it's barely a handful of relatively recent releases so far, AFAICT.

Noel Emits, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 15:10 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Boringly I think iTunes/Amazon are the most reliable. Qobuz have some lossless stuff but it gets pretty pricey: http://www.qobuz.com/gb-en/search?q=ecm&i=boutique&f%5Blabel%5D=ECM+Records#results

ECM stuff rarely turns up on streaming services anyway, the old album shows up for a short while on Apple Music and then disappears again.

I'd definitely pay for some sort of digital ECM subscription, either via Bandcamp or Drip or something - all new releases + curated back catalogue selections.

bamboohouses, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 16:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink

there's tons that never made it to digital in the first place, right?

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 7 November 2017 16:28 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Pandora, oddly enough, has a decent ECM catalog.

Eazy, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 18:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

So ECM appears to have popped up on Spotify. So that's nice. Can't find Julian Priester, but Benny Maupin is there, and AEOC.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 10 November 2017 16:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Only one AEOC album so far - Tribute To Lester. None of their 80s stuff yet.

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 10 November 2017 17:03 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Urban Bushmen is there, too.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 10 November 2017 17:30 (eleven months ago) Permalink

And Full Force!

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 10 November 2017 17:32 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Not in the US, at least not yet.

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 10 November 2017 17:33 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Well whaddya know, loads of ECM stuff on Apple Music in the UK now too. Hooray!

bamboohouses, Friday, 10 November 2017 17:48 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I said preferably NOT streaming damnit, Manfred.

Noel Emits, Friday, 10 November 2017 18:04 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I wish someone would do an exploratory ECM back catalog blog like the Kranky one a from few years back.

MaresNest, Sunday, 12 November 2017 15:12 (eleven months ago) Permalink

US Spotify now has Nice Guys, Urban Bushmen, and The Third Decade up, as well as Lester Bowie's All The Magic!/The One and Only and Works, and Roscoe Mitchell's Nine to Get Ready, Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 & 3, Far Side and Bells For the South Side.

grawlix (unperson), Sunday, 12 November 2017 15:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

God dammit, Eberhard Weber's early records are so beautiful, I've had a couple kicking around for years but never afforded them the proper attention, what a fool.

The Colours Of Chloë might just be the most ECM-y record of all.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 23:37 (ten months ago) Permalink

good call, I was just thinking of something to stream right now.

calzino, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 23:45 (ten months ago) Permalink

I wonder if Joni was paying attention, some of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is very reminiscent of Weber's music.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 23:49 (ten months ago) Permalink

I started this rather unsuccessful topic some while back.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Wednesday, 29 November 2017 00:18 (ten months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Nik Bärtsch's RONIN have a new album out.

calzino, Monday, 2 April 2018 19:31 (six months ago) Permalink

What is his best album?

calstars, Monday, 2 April 2018 20:46 (six months ago) Permalink

I'm undecided on that but I loved his last one Continuum, and I think both Stoa and Holon are A+. I haven't listened to his band for a while tbh. Luckily ECM are streaming now so it's easy to access his music. Although he looks disturbingly like a shaved barl-head Tony Blair - I don't judge ppl on looks!

calzino, Monday, 2 April 2018 20:57 (six months ago) Permalink

He also looks disconcertingly like the singer form Disturbed

Continuum is amazing and I'll probably buy this new one

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 2 April 2018 21:25 (six months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

^^^ This album is Awase Amaze.

Tim F, Friday, 13 July 2018 08:58 (three months ago) Permalink

yep!

calzino, Friday, 13 July 2018 09:53 (three months ago) Permalink

this band/composer are so consistently good, they've never put out anything less than A+ imo.

calzino, Friday, 13 July 2018 09:55 (three months ago) Permalink

Listened to Albanian jazz vocalise Elina Duni last weekend, really good. First vocalist on ECM or am I missing any?

... (Eazy), Friday, 13 July 2018 15:02 (three months ago) Permalink

Anettete Peacock, Meredith Monk just off the top of my head

Ward Fowler, Friday, 13 July 2018 15:05 (three months ago) Permalink

lol Annette

Ward Fowler, Friday, 13 July 2018 15:05 (three months ago) Permalink

June Tabor released at least one album on ECM!

omar little, Friday, 13 July 2018 15:26 (three months ago) Permalink

oh, there are literally loads of vocal albums.

calzino, Friday, 13 July 2018 15:32 (three months ago) Permalink

Thanks - I've missed these!

... (Eazy), Friday, 13 July 2018 15:32 (three months ago) Permalink

SEARCH - Eberhard Weber Later That Evening 1982

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:03 (two months ago) Permalink

SEARCH — Eberhard Weber all

(V) (°,,,,°) (V) (Austin), Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:17 (two months ago) Permalink

searching that rn sounds great!

niels, Friday, 27 July 2018 07:25 (two months ago) Permalink

As mentioned by others, Elina Duni is not the first vocalist on ECM by a long shot, though she is certainly a fine one. But one ECM vocalist I feel has been overlooked, and could have been a breakout star like Duni, is Cymin Samawatie. She and her band Cyminology have recorded three fine albums on ECM, but they do not seem to have gotten much attention beyond Germany.

Melomane, Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:37 (two months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

really feeling new Tord Gustavsen album tonight, sort of textbook downbeat, bluesy ECM piano trio classicism, but quite powerful and moving stuff.

calzino, Monday, 20 August 2018 19:19 (two months ago) Permalink

thanks for the recommendation, sounds very good indeed

niels, Tuesday, 21 August 2018 08:32 (two months ago) Permalink

Happy he's returned to the trio format. Did not enjoy What Was Said at all.

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 21 August 2018 13:09 (two months ago) Permalink

Been listening to Rainer Bruninghaus' 'Continuum' from 1984 while working this week, it's a nimble and kinda spindly, looking out the window with nothing to do on a rainy day, sounding record.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ooEv70T0oY

MaresNest, Tuesday, 21 August 2018 18:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Eicher put together this tribute to Tomasz Stanko:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOJ4KJz97xo

grawlix (unperson), Tuesday, 21 August 2018 18:39 (two months ago) Permalink

Wonderful album, thanks for the recommendation. Unobtrusive, subtle music to daydream and look out of the window to. I think it would also be great to write existential love letters to.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 21 August 2018 19:00 (two months ago) Permalink

I meant the Brüninghaus album...

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 21 August 2018 19:00 (two months ago) Permalink

Listening to the Brüninghaus album right now. It's absolutely gorgeous.

I've only dipped a couple of toes into EM, but this is my favourite era - whether the tonal palette started to get fleshed out a little with synths and digital reverb units.

Has this ever been discussed? Total banger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6-pNcJqko

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 11:48 (two months ago) Permalink

* dipped a couple of toes into ECM, obviously.

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 11:49 (two months ago) Permalink

That's great, Isham only made one record for ECM?

I feel a bit of an early/mid-eighties rabbit hole coming on, see if I can find some more records with that integrated synth feel.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 12:00 (two months ago) Permalink

He played on a few other records, but this is his only album as a leader.
https://www.ecmrecords.com/artists/1435045855/mark-isham

Would love some recommendations of other synthy titles.

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 12:36 (two months ago) Permalink

I will report back on my findings, I'm kinda intrigued by 'Ecotopia' by Orgeon based on the Allmusic review quoted in it's Wikipedia entry.

"there is no excuse for this waste of studio time and Manfred Eicher's energy. It is no wonder that he began the ECM New Series a few years before, given the junk churned out by some of label's stable between 1983 and 1988, and this record is a stellar example. Simply put, this is a trite, new age piece of dreck slopped out by a group of musicians whose combined creativity should always take them to stellar heights. There are no redeeming tracks on this disc, and few redeeming moments "

MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 13:59 (two months ago) Permalink

That sounds exactly like my kind of thing.

Looks like Ralph Towner's on that one - his Blue Sun has loads of synth all over it.

It's interesting to hear synths used in this context, rather than 'pure' electronic music which tends to put a premium on sound design over playing chops. It's sometimes quite jarring to hear a DX7 on one of these records, played virtuosically but using some hoary old presets.

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 14:03 (two months ago) Permalink

This might be a good jumping off point.

https://thevinylfactory.com/features/vf-mix-ecm-by-arp/

MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 14:21 (two months ago) Permalink

Brilliant - yes, that looks like a great place to start!

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 14:23 (two months ago) Permalink

Surman & DeJohnette's Adventures of Simon Simon would fit

doug watson, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 14:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Another Brüninghaus from an earlier record released in '80, this has an almost John Carpenter-y looping synth/electric piano line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg2214arX04

MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 15:00 (two months ago) Permalink

Ecotopia is pretty bland for Oregon, not sure if there is nothing to keep but they have done much better.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 20:05 (two months ago) Permalink

Surman & DeJohnette's Adventures of Simon Simon would fit

yeah i really like Surman's use of synth vs sax overdubs, really unique - withholding pattern and upon reflection are my favourites in this vein

big fan of that isham album too

i had somehow missed that Tomasz Stanko died - seeing him play with his Polish quartet is a top 10 show for me

umsworth (emsworth), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 23:02 (two months ago) Permalink

That Brüninghaus album is so great, thanks for the rec.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:40 (one month ago) Permalink

The new album "Helsinki Songs" by Norwegian sax player Trygve Seim and his quartet is grand cru. Kristjan Randalu's subtle piano play is wonderful.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Wednesday, 5 September 2018 15:51 (one month ago) Permalink

oh hell yeah

so much good scandi jazz

niels, Thursday, 6 September 2018 08:44 (one month ago) Permalink


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