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mandrill

Your 10 (or 5, or 3) favorite ECM albums

118 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, David Ayers said:

Yes I find some surprisingly muddy - not muddy muddy but not really clear. Examples are John Surman, Adventure Playground and Charles Lloyd, All My Relations. This isn’t a systematic observation as I’m barely a dabbler in ECM. 

Well, it's all drenched in reverb and sure, muddy it is (at least the Eicher productions are - not so for other producers, like Steve Lake or Sun Chung, whose works are exemplary from the sound standpoint).    

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4 hours ago, Pim said:

I do like some of the ECM stuff, also some of the crossovers with European folk music, Arab or other eastern Folk music and neo classical stuff. That kind of music has never been popular on this board. Jazz does not always have to bop for me and being more slow or detailed does not have to make it boring. There’s a lot of creative stuff on this label. Funny to see most posters still go for the American artists that are more in the American (free)jazz tradition.

I agree. I like the ECM sound too, (as I like RVG sound), and I do like even the mumbling of Jarrett. Now you may stone me.

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Pim said:

I do like some of the ECM stuff, also some of the crossovers with European folk music, Arab or other eastern Folk music and neo classical stuff. That kind of music has never been popular on this board. Jazz does not always have to bop for me and being more slow or detailed does not have to make it boring. There’s a lot of creative stuff on this label. Funny to see most posters still go for the American artists that are more in the American (free)jazz tradition. 

If I had to take nine;

Eleni Karaindrou - The Weeping Meadow (beautiful melancholic Greek score music)

Yeah, a good illustration of nauseating ECM blandness, this one. It is very cute, let's call it that. Calling it creative would be a very liberal stretch of a definition, IMHO. But ECM New Series actually does have some interesting releases (among the tepidness of endless Pärts and Kanchelis and Silvestrovs), such as this one, for example:

R-11078736-1509459980-9418.jpeg.jpg   

Edited by Д.Д.

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2 hours ago, porcy62 said:

I agree. I like the ECM sound too, (as I like RVG sound), and I do like even the mumbling of Jarrett. Now you may stone me.

But I Would Not Feel So All Alone Everybody Must Get Stoned ...

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1 hour ago, felser said:

But I Would Not Feel So All Alone Everybody Must Get Stoned ...

:D

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Mal Waldron "Free At Last"

David Holland + Barre Phillips "Music From Two Basses"

David Holland Quartet "Conference Of The Birds"

Ralph Towner +Eddie Gomez + Jack DeJohnette "Batik"

Paul Motian Trio "Le Voyage"

Jack DeJohnette "Special Edition"

Don Cherry + Dewey Redman + Charlie Haden + Ed Blackwell "Old And New Dreams"

Dewey Redman Quartet "The Struggle Continues"

Werner Pirchner + Harry Pepl + Jack DeJohnette "Werner Pirchner / Harry Pepl / Jack DeJohnette"

Denny Zeitlin + Charlie Haden "Time Remembers One Time Once"

 

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6 hours ago, Д.Д. said:

Yeah, a good illustration of nauseating ECM blandness, this one. It is very cute, let's call it that. Calling it creative would be a very liberal stretch of a definition, IMHO.

  

Nah let’s not. Let’s call it beautiful music. You talk like you are talking facts and your not. Also there’s not a really hard definition of creativity so yeah you can stretch that a lot.
 

Ah and what if she’s not creative? Is still don’t give a damn. I still enjoy it, because to me it’s still beautiful music. To met it’s dark, atmospheric and melancholic and I like it a lot. 

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I haven't heard enough ECM albums to put a top 10 out, but what I've heard I like - some Charles Lloyd, Frisell, Hal Russel, Stanko, Abercrombie & Stenson among others. Stanko's Soul of Things was a bit dense at first listen but has since opened up for me a little. 

Really enjoy some of the earlier Steve Tibbetts records - Yr., Safe Journey & Big Map Idea.

Only one that didn't wow me so far Jarrett's At the Deer Head Inn which, at least at first listen came across as kind of bland.

Someone mentioned Trio Beyond's Saudades up thread and have to say Larry Goldings is amazing on that record. 

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11 hours ago, Д.Д. said:

Well, it's all drenched in reverb and sure, muddy it is (at least the Eicher productions are - not so for other producers, like Steve Lake or Sun Chung, whose works are exemplary from the sound standpoint).    

More than that for their early digital I thought. The LPs I had found magically clear - yes, with lots of reverb, but vivid and present.  The CDs not so. I don’t know if it’s a question of my setup at the time. 

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When I think "muddy" my mind references tracks like some of those from Sun Ra and some early digital transfers of Lester Young and other artists of that era. I've never heard an ECM CD sound anything like that. Reverb is definitely used but like most I wouldn't equate that to muddy sound. 

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Pim said:
9 hours ago, Д.Д. said:

Yeah, a good illustration of nauseating ECM blandness, this one. It is very cute, let's call it that. Calling it creative would be a very liberal stretch of a definition, IMHO. 

Nah let’s not. Let’s call it beautiful music. You talk like you are talking facts and your not. Also there’s not a really hard definition of creativity so yeah you can stretch that a lot.

Ah and what if she’s not creative? Is still don’t give a damn. I still enjoy it, because to me it’s still beautiful music. To met it’s dark, atmospheric and melancholic and I like it a lot. 

Well, I would not have put "IMHO" if I thought I was stating a fact. I was just referring to your use of the word "creative" to describe ECM. As far as I am concerned (IMHO, you see), most of ECMs are the exact opposite of creative. This is formulaic recessed background music with the remaining faint signs of life sucked out of it by horrible post-production. I am actually quite comfortable making such a generalization because most of the ECM productions sound very uniform. There are a few exceptions, of course.

There is a lot of more "creative" (and yes, there is actually a definition for every English word, the simple Google one "relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something" is just fine) - and better sounding - music released by other, much less known, labels (this is not a fact, this is IMHO as well). In somewhat similar aesthetic, there is nuscope label, for example: 

 

 

 

Edited by Д.Д.

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17 hours ago, David Ayers said:

What would happen if we rephrased the question: How many of your ten favorite albums are on ECM?

There are a lot of awesome ECM records but also a lot that I don't really care that much about. Life goes on. I agree that the German vinyl pressings do sound better than a lot of their CD releases from the first half of the '90s. I would assume that they sound better now, though I've only heard a smattering of newer ECM titles (  < 20) to judge from. To me they are just another player in the landscape of contemporary music imprints and I don't feel like they need to be offered "cult status" or anything, but here we are. 

Most of the ECM records I like are earlier rather than recent. 

I suppose if I were to list ten today it would be the Mal Waldron, Afric Pepperbird, Just Music, Conference of the Birds, Steve Reich "Music for 18 Musicians," Barre Phillips "Mountainscapes," Gateway 1, Music Improvisation Company, and Divine Love. Tomorrow it might include the Bleys, Michael Naura's "Vanessa," the John Clark LP, and the new Barre Phillips solo. 

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Posted (edited)

Is there another label that creates so much debate ( and no little hot air) as ECM?

I certainly seems to divide opinion

It must be ten years ago I started a thread specifically to allow such "debate" and deflect it from discussion of the actual music but sadly that's lost to the mysteries of the search function.

 

Edited by mjazzg

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10 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

Is there another label that creates so much debate ( and no little hot air) as ECM?

I certainly seems to divide opinion

It must be ten years ago I started a thread specifically to allow such "debate" and deflect it from discussion of the actual music but sadly that's lost to the mysteries of the search function.

 

Chuckling at the thought of "hot air" and ECM in the same sentence.

I'm guessing Manfred Eicher would regard the controversy positively, as amplifying the label's "brand"

17 hours ago, David Ayers said:

What would happen if we rephrased the question: How many of your ten favorite albums are on ECM?

I'd say 1-4 depending on the day.  There's a lot of music on the label that I really love.  I also think criticism of the label is often on the mark, and it's probably overrated relative to its peer.

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Would the world be better or nicer without ECM and Manfred Eicher?

Or would it be just the same?

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1 hour ago, porcy62 said:

Would the world be better or nicer without ECM and Manfred Eicher?

Or would it be just the same?

I'm glad Eicher's done what he's done.  He's facilitated the recording of a lot of wonderful music.  The same could be said about all of the important producers in jazz!  Especially the ones who run their own imprints and have a unique vision.

Of course, we wouldn't be anywhere without the musicians.  But the producers are like "midwives"; they're important too.

 

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Any takers for Tim Berne on ECM? Some musical ingenuity at work there and they have some snap and crackle. 

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

I agree that the German vinyl pressings do sound better than a lot of their CD releases from the first half of the '90s.

I am not alone in the universe!

 

 

Edited by David Ayers

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1 hour ago, David Ayers said:

I am not alone in the universe!

 

 

Absolutely! I fight alongside you.

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41 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

Absolutely! I fight alongside you.

Don’t ruin my image! 😉

 

2i6jspt.jpg

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Bells-for-the-South-Side.jpg

Jack-DeJohnette-Made-In-Chicago-Final-Co

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49 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Bells-for-the-South-Side.jpg

Jack-DeJohnette-Made-In-Chicago-Final-Co

I found the former more ‘interesting’, the latter I blow hot and cold on. BUT. Regardless, mentioning these is a reminder that a good few things fall outside the ‘ECM sound’ category and that they have supported artists who have a good press on this board. 

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They're on ECM, that by definition makes them "ECM albums". And they're all within the last 5 or so years. I get how they (ECM) seem to have slipped into a "lull" for a good while, but I seem to have been buying more of their new releases over the last few years than I have in a loooooong time - and those Charles Lloyd records with Billy Higgins are great!

There are a lot of records on ECM. Including this one, which I find interesting, at the very least.

14307337355141.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

They're on ECM, that by definition makes them "ECM albums". And they're all within the last 5 or so years. I get how they (ECM) seem to have slipped into a "lull" for a good while, but I seem to have been buying more of their new releases over the last few years than I have in a loooooong time - and those Charles Lloyd records with Billy Higgins are great!

There are a lot of records on ECM. Including this one, which I find interesting, at the very least.

14307337355141.jpg

 

Hmmm...

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I'm glad the ECM "sound" and esthetic is around, as a choice among many.  The above album covers are, I think, good examples of what might appeal to some but not others.  Some will be drawn in by the paintings, but others would much prefer a more in-your-face Reid Miles cover.

10 ECMs that I like:

John Abercrombie - Tactics

Keith Jarrett - Koln Concert, Sleeper, Nude Ants

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians

Art Ensemble of Chicago - Urban Bushmen

Ralph Towner - Solo Concert

Jan Garbarek + Hilliard Ensemble - Officium

The Paul Bley Quartet

Gary Burton - Passengers

 

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Re. Abercrombie: fine gig here, not to all tastes, I guess...

 

 

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