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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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

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

Taking sides - Keith Jarrett v. Keith Emerson

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

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

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

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

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

(i like sextant obv)

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

Yes you should.

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

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

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

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

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

the other ECM thread

ECM s/d.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 July 2011 14:53 (six 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 (six 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 (one week 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 (one week 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 (one week ago) Permalink

Pandora, oddly enough, has a decent ECM catalog.

Eazy, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 18:59 (one week 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 (one week 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 (one week ago) Permalink

Urban Bushmen is there, too.

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

And Full Force!

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

Not in the US, at least not yet.

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 10 November 2017 17:33 (one week 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 (one week ago) Permalink

I said preferably NOT streaming damnit, Manfred.

Noel Emits, Friday, 10 November 2017 18:04 (one week 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 (six days 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 (six days ago) Permalink


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