Here’s something to get lost in, the hypnotic world of British reedman John Surman, courtesy of his 1979 ECM effort, Upon Reflection. Recorded in Oslo, with production helmed by Manfred Eicher, the recording finds Surman in widescreen form experimenting with sequencers and synthesizers in addition to his duties working bass clarinet and baritone/soprano saxophone.
There’s a particular clarity made possible by the trio format, something guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade make clear on Angular Blues, Muthspiel’s fourth album as bandleader for the storied ECM label. This spacious arrangement makes for magnificent listening.
On the release of Carla Bley’s new album Life Goes On, Winston Cook-Wilson provides an overview of composer, bandleader, and pianist’s multifaceted career, from her pop and funk-inflected ’70s and ’80s work to her more recent “microcosms of a musical personality that is exceptionally difficult to distill.”
On Steve Tibbetts’ Life Of, the new age trappings are gone, the subtle accompaniment of piano, “gong cycles,” gamelan influences (based on his travels and study in Bali and Nepal), the still-in-there-someplace Midwestern Kottke vibes, all synthesized so exquisitely. The secret sauce in his playing is partly due to his instrument; an old Martin D-12-20 12-string with worn down frets and dead strings. He describes it as having a “peculiar internal resonance, as though it has a small concert hall inside of it.”
Welcome to the third installment of the Aquarium Drunkard Guide to ECM Records: The New Millenium. Writer James Jackson Toth (Wooden Wand) explores the label’s contemporary output, that of “a boutique label in the guise of a music industry behemoth.”
The Windham Hill sound was inviting and warm, but nonetheless idiosyncratic, a hallmark of a moment when mainstream commercial success and the lack of traditional pop forms didn’t negate each other.
Welcome to the second installment of the Aquarium Drunkard guide to ECM Records . Marked by an attention to sonic space and a distinct visual aesthetic, since 1969 ECM has released a […]
Happy Halloween and welcome to the October edition of the Transmissions podcast. Hope you enjoyed our bonus podcast episode, featuring AD’s Halloween mix. If you haven’t heard it, check your […]
In anticipation of the second installment of our Guide to ECM Records , join the Aquarium Drunkard crew and our friends Zach Cowie and Third Place this Sunday, October 28th, in Los Angeles at […]
Founded by Manfred Eicher in Germany in 1969, ECM Records (Editions of Contemporary Music) has spent nearly 50 years assembling one of the strongest catalogs in musical history. Marked by […]
Last year witnessed the opening of the hallowed digital vaults of the ECM label. Long a holdout from digital platforms, the Berlin based ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) was founded in […]