ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) is a German record label founded in 1969 by Manfred Eicher. Spanning the gamut from jazz to classical and various hybrids thereof, ECM has since its inception been at the forefront of contemporary music and has been widely recognized for its meticulous recordings and distinctive cover art.
The purpose of between sound and space is to provide a subjective and open forum for all things ECM. In May of 2015, I achieved my goal of reviewing every album released on the ECM and ECM New Series imprints and will be using this blog primarily to keep step with the label as it continues to expand its catalogue. I will be proceeding as chronologically as I am able, though the order of reviews will also depend on what I am listening to at the time and on the trajectory of future releases.
All album covers and logos are the property of ECM.
112 thoughts on “About”
You have made a great start on a very ambitious project!
I will follow this blog with great interest.
– Paul Geffen
Great idea, and fantastic blog! ^^
Just wondering about updating some information about recent Meredith Monk releases, including “mercy” and “impermanence”. Also curious about posting one of her you tube videos- “Hocket” from “Facing North”:
Peter Sciscioli, Assistant Manager
Meredith Monk/The House Foundation for the Arts
Thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to post!
I actually just drafted a review of “Volcano Songs” yesterday, and will post it soon. I will be more than happy to do write-ups on “mercy” and “impermanence” as well. Keep an eye out for them this week.
And thank you for the YouTube suggestion. I have now added it to the videos page.
By the way, your blog is snowing to the core. Keep your words warm.
Great idea for your blog. I wish there were more individuals like you supporting valuable sources of music, of jazz, of art. Thank you.
And thank you for the heartening words. Calling this blog a labor of love would be an understatement, and I am humbled to know that others feel the same.
First visit and found much of interest. Passionate original writing, greatly to be commended. (Too many jazz blogs just cut and paste the Scott Yanow/ AllMusic review and think thats it.!) Adding a Youtube when you can find it adds an important dimension. Reading about music is good but its also nice to be able to hear what is being writing about. Keep up the god work. The world needs to hear more jazz to make it a better place.
Thank you for such kind sentiments, and also for the YouTube suggestion. In the future, I hope to post samples (with ECM’s permission) in each review, as YouTube links of this nature tend to be very unstable or are taken down due to copyright infringements. And I agree 100% with your last comment. I have only come to recognize the powerful uplift of jazz in the past few years, and ECM has been instrumental in this awakening.
Err … that should read “good work” not “god work”. Though come to think about it…
I have known your blog almost from the beginning but have only recently become more interactive in the blogging world! I realize how much I still have to discover about the music I love and will be catching up here and attempting to add a few thoughts when I feel able to contribute something verbal.
It is a privilege to be added to your ‘Other Sites of Interest’ list – thank you.
I am touched by your words and feel fortunate that anyone would have been following my thoughts for so long. If and when you ever feel compelled to chime in on any of the music I have reviewed, feel free to do so. The more opinions, the merrier!
Thanks for your wonderful blog. I recently got Spotify and read Geoff Dyer’s article on ECM (which I’ve been into since Crystal Silence). One thing led to another and I came upon and subscribed to your posts. Your reviews have led to much listening pleasure that I would otherwise have never come across. As others have said, I wish there were more people with your depth of knowledge who were willing to share it in this way. In the meantime, I’m extremely grateful that you are willing to do so.
I am humbled by your compliments, and further strengthened to know that this music matters far beyond the little circle I am drawing with my drop-in-the-bucket reviews. I would be the last, however, to profess any depth of knowledge, for I only know what I hear and what the music tells me to say.
I suspect you’re being a bit more humble than appropriate, but I understand the impulse behind your response. Your dedication is commendable and I among many others am enriched by it.
I can honestly say that the music on ECM changed/saved my life. After hearing Pat Metheney’s “Bright Size Life”, and subsequently Gary Burtons “Ring”, Keith Jarrett’s “My Song”, and albums by Ralph Towner, Jan Garbarek, Bill Connors, Bill Frisell, Egberto Gismonte, Eberhard Weber and many others, I unequivocally devoted my life to music. I was a depressed teenager with nowhere else to turn. I now play, record, and engineer (Live and Studio) music for a living. Manfred Eicher has done a great service to me, other musicians, and the world… Three cheers for ECM and Manfred Eicher!!!
Thank you, Omar, for sharing your love of ECM, which I can relate to wholeheartedly, for it changed me in much the same way. The music of ECM was a defining discovery of my teens that led me out of some very dark places. Being able to listen alone in my room, with headphones and portable CD player, comforted me in ways that nothing else ever did. Where for you it was the jazz greats you list (many of whom I only discovered later, as my introduction was through the New Series), it was the work of Arvo Pärt, Paul Giger, David Darling, and the Hilliard Ensemble that first smoothed out the creases of my emotional map. Now that I’ve opened myself through this review project to nooks of the catalogue I’d never explored (if you can believe it, I only heard The Köln Concert for the first time when I wrote my review for it two years ago!), ECM’s significance has only emboldened itself across the ever-changing landscape that is my life. And so, I gladly take up your call and add my voice to three cheers (and infinitely more) for Herr Eicher and his team.
Thank you Tyran for creating this blog. It’s funny, but I tell people about ECM all the time, and very few people have ever heard of it. Anyhow, it sounds like you and I had similar experiences, although I had a turntable and some killer Magnat speakers that I bought washing dishes in a restaurant that I would turn really loud. My friends were all listening to Pink Floyd and AC/DC and such and was listening to stuff like “Nude Ants” and “New Chataqua”.
p.s. I have loads of original music in the ECM style on my soundcloud page at http://soundcloud.com/tonefreak66 if you have time check out any of my stuff under the set called “Original Acoustic Guitar Music by Omar Rane”
Thanks again, Omar Rane.
I often get the same reaction from people about ECM. All the more reason to educate! By the way, your music is beautiful. I’m particularly fond of “Adios Amigo” and “So Long Old Friend.” Seems like I gravitate toward the farewells 🙂 Love “Billy Goat Gruff,” too. Can definitely hear the Metheny influence.
Thanks for listening Tyran, it really means a lot to me. Yes there is a Metheny influence, but also, I feel, Ralph Towner, Egberto Gismonte, and Bill Connors influenced me greatly. I want to be an ECM artist when I grow up…
PS, If you haven’t yet reviewed Ralph Towner and Gary Peacock’s ECM release “Oracle”, it’s awesome.
BTW, I have been writing some new music, I’ll keep you posted…
I can certainly see the other influences you list in your music, especially Connors. I have, in fact, reviewed Oracle (click here). Wonderful record!
actually I do not know where to post this comment. Maybe you already knew about this, but I have found an interesting interview with Manfred Eicher on FORA.tv:
It’s worth watching!
With best regards from Germany,
Dear Marty, Thanks so much for this. I’ll be sure to watch it whenever life allows me the time!
I have just find your blog. I’m a big fan of ECM and I’m glad I found a place to talk about it.
I do not like all ECM discography but all ECM phenomenon it’s fantastic. It’s a example of great professionalism.
Did you have any information about the ECM photographers ?
Regards from Romania,
Hello, Emilian. Thanks for stopping by the site. Your photography is stunning, and I could certainly imagine some of it on an ECM album cover. Unfortunately, I do not have any connections to ECM photographers. Best of luck in your work, Tyran
Thanks for visiting my website. Is an old dream of mine to give a photo on one of the ECM covers. I will definitely return to your blog.
Keep in touch,
Tyran — Consistent with others, I truly applaud your efforts. Your reviews truly reflect the deep appreciation you have (and I share) for the ECM label. I’d be interesting in knowing whether Steve Lake or others from ECM have contacted you to comment on your website. For me, as a long time enthusiast (since my vinyl purchase of Circle Paris Concert about thirty years ago), I continue to closely follow the ECM label, and your website serves as a principal part of my recreational web surfing. Thank you again for everything you’ve done for this wonderful artform.
I’m so grateful for your comments, which confirm that what I’m doing is meaningful at least to a subset of the listening public. This project has been the least I can do in return for all that ECM has given me. I have indeed been in contact with Steve Lake, about whom I’m sporadically working on a three-part interview and exploration of his contributions to the label as producer, so stay tuned for that in the coming months. I will also have something of a surprise piece early next year, which I hope my readers will appreciate.
Many thanks for your long list of exceptionally considered reviews of the ECM stable over 2012.
I have read each one with interest, and always look forward to the next.
You have now earned, and deserve, a nice long rest over the Christmas and New Year festive season – for a change I recommend a darkened room, a good hi-fi system, a glass of your favourite tipple and an above subliminal listening of Bang on a Can’s version of Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Airports’.
That should re-set you for another big year of Rypdal, Towner, Garbarek and the rest of the ECM ‘noise’.
Happy Christmas and, again, many thanks,
Wanted to do this myself but time and finances would never allow. I have to pick my ecm records carefully. Thank you so much for sharing!
What a treat for a Monday morning to find you had posted a piece with a link to my London Jazz Festival Nordic review, and a lovely mention of my art work. Thanks for the compliment from a non music professional! Best wishes, Diana
This blog is a treasure chest which makes me lose track of time.
Thank you for sharing.
Regrads from Sounth Korea.
Thank you so very much. I am fulfilled to know that it can be of such meaning.
Yesterday I received the new ECM catalogue 2013 which is offered through their website. I was intrigued to read about a 6 CD box “Selected Signs III – VIII” which had been released to go with the exhibition in Munich. Beautiful packaged with pergament paper and a stellar compilation as far as I am concerned by only glancing at the featured musicians….. Amazingly, the box set isn’t listed at amazon.com, I only found it here –> http://www.shirokko-online.de/ECM-Selected-Signs-Box
not really ‘reviews’ are they!? more like ‘attempts at creatrive writing inspired by music’ – what are we meant to do with stuff like ‘The cup has tipped, its contents spreading in a partially eclipsed circle. In this pool where broken mirrors float, we see the multiplicity of our genetic code’s sonority. Harmonics are the edges of fingernails on glass, and further the edge of that glass on
sky. Resonant beauty briefly surfaces—a dolphin’s back—before plunging into the brine of
discovery.’ ( Maneri ‘Angles of repose’) ?! -Such ‘reviews’ aren’t much help to me…
I apologize, Howard: some of my writings are more impressionistic than others, some more like listening diaries than standard reviews. With such unique music as that created on Angles of Repose, I am attempting to give those who haven’t heard it an idea of what it feels like. I’m afraid that my language makes more sense to me than to anyone else. Perhaps a translation of my description of “Number Six” that you quote will suffice:
“The cup has tipped, its contents spreading in a partially eclipsed circle” refers to the fact that “Number Six” is the tipping point into the album’s second half (hence, “partially eclipsed,” as the album is not yet finished). “In this pool where broken mirrors float, we see the multiplicity of our genetic code’s sonority” is just my way of saying that, while the music possesses an overall coherence, said coherence emerges at the coming together of many fragments (“broken mirrors”). Those fragments are mirrors because they take on whatever they reflect. In other words, this music is what we make of it. “Harmonics are the edges of fingernails on glass, and further the edge of that glass on sky” refers to the subtle yet piercing quality of Mat Maneri and Barre Phillips’s flurry of bowed harmonics at around the seven-minute mark. And finally, “Resonant beauty briefly surfaces—a dolphin’s back—before plunging into the brine of discovery” refers to the brief consonance achieved thereafter, which stands out (in my mind, at least) like the glistening back of a dolphin, before returning to the magnetic swirl of dissonance that is the trio’s default. And by “discovery” I mean the fresh paths of improvisation these three musicians tread, filled with the same sense of wonder as the listener at what transpires.
Perhaps none of this makes it any clearer, but I can only hope that my less straightforward reviews are of use to someone. Either way, I thank you for the comments, for I always strive to please as many readers as possible. In light of that, I will be happy to write a companion review of this album that is more user-friendly in hopes that it will guide others into this fascinating music rather than turn them away.
As for Howard James critism: I do not agree with him. I prefer the pictures Tyran paints with his writing about the music as they create images in my head while I read his blog entries.
i don’t deny that they are ‘pictures painted with writing’- that’s just my point – i.e.e they aren’t ‘reviews’! if you find them useful to create images while listening, then i guess they serve a purpose. too often though, for me at least, they become parodies of themselves – rather like alot of ecm releases these days. i loved the label’s output in the ’70’s, but now, i find less and less to interest me…and those terrible cd covers!- interchangable blurred black-and-white photos of nothing in particular!
Oh Howard. You’ve become a grumpy, old man. Relax.
Lovely website. Lovely reviews. Lovely label. ECM and its musicians have given my life much. You come so close to articulating the ineffable in the experience of this music, Tyran. Thank you.
And thank you, Jacob, for the lovely words in turn. I don’t think I’ll ever come close to articulating the importance of ECM and its music in my life, but this site is my best effort. Glad to know you feel the same.
I imagine that your listening is not taken lightly. I would love to know how your listening time is structured, how you listen.
You imagine correctly, Jacob. One of the reasons I began this website, along with the challenge of familiarizing myself with every album of my favorite record label, was to discipline myself to really listen to music again on its own terms. As a busy graduate student, now with an almost year-old son on the verge of becoming mobile, it was important for me to relieve music from the role it had taken in my life as background to my academic activities (while writing papers, researching, etc.). This reviews project has not only given me the pleasure (not to mention the privilege) of knowing the necessity of music in our lives, but also a deeper knowledge of the many artists and idioms ECM represents. That being said, because I do live a busy lifestyle, much of my listening takes place on headphones as I am walking to and from campus and between classes. By this method I am able to listen to sometimes two albums a day. I dictate my reviews into a digital voice recorder as I listen, so that I can get my most immediate thoughts out. I then transcribe them at home and edit them as I listen to the album again. Lately I’ve taken to listening to albums late at night when my wife and son are asleep, and writing reviews as I go in a drowsy haze.
Does this mean that you buy one or two albums daily?
I’ve been collecting ECM since I was a teenager, so I’ve amassed quite a bit of the catalogue myself over the years. As for the rest: some I’ve borrowed from friends who’ve lent me chunks of their collection (one of my readers, for example, has about half of the JAPO releases on tape and kindly lent me all of them for review), some from my university library, and more recently I’ve had the privilege of receiving promo copies of newer releases for review, which helps keep costs down and allows me to give my readers an early, informed glimpse of what’s on the horizon. Since I’ve become more visible as a reviewer with eclectic tastes, I’ve also received review copies of independent artists’ material from other labels and have discovered some marvelous music in the process.
Hahaha, and I though *I* was the biggest fan with the biggest collection! 🙂
I just discovered this peculiar project, and am astonished.
Yet, the purpose is still escaping me.
As ECM catalogue took monumental dimensions, I slightly miss the point of young person running to catch all the past and present releases of the label.
But nevertheless, i appreciate the idea, and the work you are putting in. Since early internet times, reviews of ECM titles become helpful to many of us, trying to peek inside the cd’s content before buying. So this blog will surely help in that quest.
I can’t really imagine but maybe a few persons in this world, who invested some 25,000 dollars to collect the *whole* catalogue. If anyone happens to hear about them, please inform the rest of us. 🙂
It is also very nice that Steve Lake expressed support for this project, I like that.
As a seasoned listener, or another guy who had ECM music as a background to a life since early youth, what I would suggest is – slower listening. I think many of ECM (and especially New Series) wasn’t created for fast digestion. In fact, I strongly believe it was created for *enjoyment*, a quiet one maybe. A special kind of ear’s and mind’s feast.
And should be listened as such. But we know that already.
What strikes me from the visitors comments, and in fact I noticed that over past 10-15 years or so, is that ECM is being listened by YOUNG people, too. That fascinates me. Maybe there is a hope for this world, after all.
Have a good time with all those upcoming cd’s, and drop a line if you need a help sometimes! 🙂
Hi, Greg! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you will find something of interest as you pore through the backlog 😉 I understand your confusion about the purpose of my project, and all I can say is that it is for me a very personal one. As I’m sure I’ve expressed countlessly throughout this site, ECM has been a major part of my life, and so much of its music has come to define me as a person, as a listener, and (in more recent years) as a writer. It is precisely because I am of a younger generation and discovered ECM later in the game, as it were, that I felt compelled to start from the beginning, that I might trace the label’s evolution to the present. It has fulfilled other purposes along the way (teaching me more about jazz, for instance, because I first came to ECM as a classical listener through its New Series) and in the process has become what I hope will always be a unique and helpful resource about one of the world’s most important recording establishments.
As for your suggestion to take things more slowly, I am total agreement. Thankfully, I was very familiar with about half of ECM’s catalogue before I began the project, so reviewing that much of it was more intuitive. Looking back at the earliest releases and at the fascinating JAPO titles has yielded handfuls of discoveries as well as insights into established artists. As for those albums I am encountering for the first time, I will typically have heard them at least two or three times before posting a final review, so I do give myself some time to digest. Also, I do go back and edit, expand, and occasionally even rewrite older reviews as I go back to certain albums with newer understandings and associations. In fact, once I have caught up with ECM, I plan on doing an ongoing series of “second take” reviews on albums that I believe deserve deeper attention in this regard. I am comfortable with my process at it stands now insofar as it allows me to get in touch with my gut reactions to new music, which I believe are valuable and are too often edited out by overthinking. As a graduate student, I tend to feel bogged down by over-intellectualizing, and this project allows me to indulge in a more immediate, and honest, form of expression. Of course, all of this music will be with me my entire life, and it will continue to grow accordingly. And if, as you so kindly suggest, my reviews can help others make decisions about which music they wish to include in their own lives, then I can feel content in knowing that none of this was in vain.
actually, i have the whole catalogue, either on lp or cd.
Very nice job at portraying those great ECMs ; there are so many fine releases by this unique record label, my favourite along with BIS and EMI Classics. Interesting, and illuminating, articles and comments. Some great web pages to which I refer to time and again.
I just discovered this resource, I’ve been a long time fan of ECM, I think I started listening to them around 1975… although, to be honest, I was about 18 back then, and some music was beyond my comprehension… Some of it hit me right away – I remember listening to Garbarek’s Eventyr, or Rypdal’s Descendre back in those years… Some of it required a few years in the shelves to be rediscovered 10, 20 years later… Anyway, ECM became a brand, I would just buy every LP/CD I could even if I had no idea about the artist or their work… Always to be rewarded with something amazing… I imagine I will now start spending hours (days? months?) reading your work…
Thanks, and don’t stop writing!
anyone else disappointed that the ‘old masters’ (?) sets eg Codona don’t have the origial album art work? i sent mine back after purchasing the set…
What a great resource. Thank you for all the work. I’ll be telling other people about this site. And I have a request that might seem a little frivolous. Sometimes I’m trying to decide between buying an ECM album on disk vs mp3, and one of the deciding factors is whether I want the liner notes or not. If it’s just personnel and not much more, I’ll buy mp3. But if, for instance, there are lyrics, and they’re printed in the cd material, I’ll buy the cd. Or if there’s a lot of info about the artist(s), etc. So, if you could briefly describe the liner note contents, that would be great.
(p.s. email address given here is bogus–long story but my real addresses are linked to accounts on WordPress that don’t belong to me, and I haven’t been able to get them back. But I am a real person. :-))
Thanks for writing, Maclin, and for your kind comments! I always try to quote from liner notes in my reviews, whenever appropriate, but I can certainly try to give a more descriptive gist in that regard in the future.
Tyran you’ve taken on an epic project. I’ll enjoy revisiting old favourites and those I’ve overlooked or never heard! Regards from Thom at the immortal,jukebox (plugged in now).
Dear Tyran. Many thanks for a superb blog! I have been viewing it off and on for a few years now and it has been a fount of knowledge! Best wishes. Jim
Thanks so much for reading, James!
Where has Tyran gone?
I have an inquiry:
I’m sure you’re aware of the perceived split between European jazz and American jazz. Do you believe that this division is purely stylistic or that their is some greater underlying methodological or conceptual distinction between the Americans and Europeans (especially ECMers)? Perhaps you argue that this split is, in fact, nonexistent?
I think your blog is one of the few things that justify the existence of the Internet.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and recommendations with us!
Thank you so much, Ivan! Well, ECM is one of the few things that justify the existence of the record industry, so it’s the least I can do 😉
Do you know when The Pat Metheny Group CD (1114/825 593-2) was first released?. I can’t find this information anywhere. Thanks!.
The word from ECM is that this album was released on March 1, 1978.
Yes, I knew that. But I’m inquiring about the CD (1114/825 593-2) which was released after 1978.
Sorry about the misunderstanding, Barry. Yes, confirmed Jowi’s information with ECM: released on June 4, 1985.
CD ECM 825 593-2 / EAN 0042282559326
only just found this wonderful blog on WordPress.
i’m so excited.
Thank you, and welcome 🙂 Love your photography!
Hello Tyran, I’ve been reading this blog for long time now without even knowing there was a single person behind the excellent reviews I appreciated.
Now my friend Juan Hitters tells me bout you and it is a pleasure to add a person and a name on top of these articles. God job here really,
Nice to met you then. Stay in touch by PM, it’ll be my pleasure.
Hey – never quite sure where to leave general comments. Forgive if I have used the wrong section! I noticed you reviewed a Sheila Jordan live concert above which prompted me to ask post this question/comment
I spend spend too much time reading your reviews! I know I must be wrong but I can’t find your review of Playground by Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn. I have been playing it a lot in the car and find it gorgeous to listen to if I’m driving From work to home! I feel a bit ashamed that I play Gentle Thoughts so much. I realise the album might be seen as unsophisticated and a processed and popular but I would like to read your thoughts.
No problem, and thanks for the kind words! Playground was re-released as part of the Life’s Backward Glances boxed set. You can read my review of it here.
Hello, I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I enjoy your site and reviews. I often marvel at your command over the language and love reading your reviews as much for the writing as for getting to know a particular ECM album. Beautiful work and very much appreciated by me and a host of others I am sure.
Thank you so much, Gopal! I’m so glad you like the writing style, too 🙂
Does anyone know what the names of the Renaissance pieces are on Ketil Bjørnstad’s THE RIVER? I’d be curious to hear the originals of the pieces by William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons.
Hi, Jeffrey! I know that the Byrd piece is based on his “Qui passe,” but am not sure about the Gibbons (although I imagine it might be one of his fantasias). Really, though, Bjørnstad and Darling used these pieces as harmonic frameworks for deeper improvisations, so the music became something all its own in the recording process.
Thanks so much!
It’s quite rare to read music reviews that are so astute and so perceptive. Clearly written with passion and a sense of discovery….a superb website. Bravo!
Thank you so much, Guy! I’m honored 🙂
Thank you so very much, Guy! I try to be as true to the music as possible, and can only hope that comes across.
First I wanna thank you for your unique and wonderful website. I love your reviews so very much. I have a disease of ECM lable too. When I read one of your ECM reviews, it makes me very happy and enjoyed and pushes me to listen one other time that album. Sorry for my poor Eng language but my reading is so much better than writing.
I am almost an old ECM lover from Iran since 90’s. I have listened most of the ECM releases but it makes me so much honored to know what is the REAL top 10 (or better 25) of ECM releases for dear Tyran. You know, It is so much to me.
Thanks a lot dear one…
I am honored by your generous words, Amir! This blog is a labor of love, so I am glad to know others share that love for ECM worldwide. As for top 10, that’s a very difficult question, but I would point you to my ECM radio shows (click on the “Radio” category on the right side of the main page) for my favorite tracks 🙂
Dear Tyran. Thank you so much for your replay. I couldn’t agree more when you said This blog is a labor of Love. beyond any doubt this kind of effort and self obligation couldn’t take place without Love. Thank you again brother.
After you said, Quickly I visited the Radio category and it was so interesting that some of those tracks or albums were my favorites too! Thank you for that…
Beside, choosing Icarus track from Towner by you, made me the idea that, did you heard “Paul Winter Consort: Icarus (1972)”? If you did not, dear Tyran, then if you’re drinking, put the glass down and go for it, Really! This album should be in ECM!!! Credits are: Paul Winter, David Darling, Paul McCandless, Ralph Towner, Herb Bushler and Collin Walcott.
With most excitement I and a lot of people are waiting for your new reviews for newer gems.
Good luck and Go ahead, brother…
but what about the David Byrne record?
I will soon start reviewing all of the ECM rarities, and will include the David Byrne record in that category.
excellent, even if I’d call it an oddity rather than a rarity
Hello Tyran, I appreciate very much your undying efforts and love for the ECM sound. I to have been a devoted listener since the days of the original Return to Forever album in 1972, would love to get a copy of your recent book, how to do so? I tried doing this on the website in Colombia but had no way to understand how to do it. Hoping this will release in North America or UK soon so I can somehow get one? Thanks so much for your devotion to this gem of music.
Thank you so much, Dennis! The plan is to have copies of the book available internationally in January. Will keep everyone posted 🙂
Dear Mr. Grillo, After all these years as an ECM-aholic, who started listening and got “hooked” from the mid’ 70’s, I just this weekend discovered your incredible, painstakingly-compiled blog. This is an astonishing project that I will revisit often. I appreciate your exquisite writing, the detail, the passion and thoroughness. I purchased a copy of your book today. In my collection, I own copies of both “Sleeves of Desire” and “Windfall Light,” plus “Horizons Touched” and “ECM A Cultural Archaeology.” I never forget on my first trip to Europe in August 1979, I stopped into Talent Studio in Oslo. Manfred Eicher and Jan Eric Kongshaug invited us inside, we observed a little bit of the recording session with the guitarist Bill Connors. When the record was released, I realized we had dropped in on the making of “Swimming with a Hole in My Body.” Also today, I stated reading your blog posts of Watt Records. Also on the 1979 European trip, we bought tickets to the Berlin Jazz Festival where I heard the Carla Bley band for the first time. I’ve been an avid follower ever since and have explored the entire Watt catalog, so these new blogs also resonated with me. Please keep up the great work.
Thank you deeply for the kind words, Charlie, and for the wonderful stories. What I do here at Between Sound and Space is a labor of love, but I also know it’s a love shared by ECM fans worldwide. I only wish I could have experienced some of the musicians you did in person, at the times that you did. I hope you will enjoy the book 🙂
Tyran, Great blog…been listening to ecm since 1977, started off with Metheny and Rypdal, onto Jarrett and then from there all and sundry..still treasure my ecm vinyl..
Saw Jarrett in Paris a few years ago. Very disappointing as he stoke off stage due to coughing com audience. Saw Metheny a few times. Ronin live excellent. Stenson too.
Thank you so much, Mark! I had the pleasure of seeing Jarrett once and had no issues 🙂 Have seen Ronin a few times, and they are always a deep experience. Would love to see Metheny and Stenson!
Here’s something I was wondering – do you have a photo of all your ECM albums? Would love to see the full collection, even just shelved!
Hi, Ross! You might be disappointed to know that I have no physical collection. For a variety of reasons, I had to sell off my entire CD/vinyl collection (ECM and otherwise) years ago and have since kept things only digitally.
I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful collection of reviews you have made available on this site.
The first EMC album I heard and purchased was Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert (triggered by a review in a rock music weekly newspaper of all places). Starting with other recordings by Keith Jarrett, as the trail spread out across the ECM landscape I gradually listened to other artists on the label. Eventually, I became aware of the label itself and of the common elements across all of the releases – from recording quality to the physical presentation of the album sleeves. Since then I have purchased and listened to a few hundred ECM releases of all genres.
Several years ago I first came across your reviews and have greatly enjoyed reading them and using them as sign posts to new releases. This year, from a combination of the restrictions brought about by Covid-19 and the subscription to a music streaming service, I’ve set about listening to all of the ECM releases I’ve never heard. Your reviews make a great accompaniment to this activity and really enhance the listening experience. I’m a few hundred releases along the road but still have some way to go. I’ve also gained a sense of the stamina you had to undertake your task of not only listening to but also reviewing all of the ECM releases.
So thanks again for the contribution you have made to my enjoyment of music in general and the ECM releases in particular. I look forward to further reviews of new releases as they emerge.
Thank you so much for the kind words, and for sharing your formative ECM experiences 🙂 I am deeply honored to have played at least a small part in opening up the catalog’s many wonders on your journey!
Are you familiar with a cassette only sampler that was issued as a way of enticing alternative music fans to enjoy ECM in the early 90s?. If I recall correctly, it was available through the ECM website and all you had to do was provide your address and they would ship it to you for free. The cassette came in a thin sleeve. The only track that I definitely recall being on it was Terje Rypdal’s Dancing without Reindeer. The tape itself was thin and I played it a lot so I don’t believe my copy is in very good shape but I do think it still lives somewhere in my parent’s basement.
I am not aware of that one, but please let me know if you manage to dig it up! Would love to review it for my “Rarities” category 🙂
Yes I did dig it up. Here’s the title and track listing:
ECM: AN ORIGINAL VIEW OF INFINITY
“NYEMMA” Steve Tibbetts (from The Fall of Us All)
“THE SEA X” Ketil Bjornstad (from The Sea)
“SVEN I ROSENGÅRD” Lena Willemark / Ale Möller (from Nordan)
“RAMY” Jan Garbarek / Anouar Brahem: (from Madar)
“DANCING WITHOUT REINDEERS” Terje Rypdal (from If Mountains Could Sing)
“SANCTUS” Estonian Phil. Chamber Choir / Tallinn Chamber Orchestra: Sanctus (from Arvo Pärt: Te Deum)
“FULL HOUSE II” Wolfgang Puschnig (from Then Comes the White Tiger)
“BEATA VISCERA” Jan Garbarek/Hilliard Ensemble (from Officium)
“CORBÙ” Italian Instabile Orchestra (from Skies of Europe)
“KHOMSA” Anouar Brahem (from Khomsa)
“OTHER WORLDS REVEALED” Meredith Monk (from Atlas)
“GONE TO THE DOGS” John Surman (from Nordic Quartet)
“RAGING THIRST” Kakatau (from Matinale)
I took pictures and created a playlist on Spoitfy: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6PpPJgwt0ougFPq3WKD54e
I’ll probably make an entry for it on Discogs.com.
And here is the Discogs entry I made: https://www.discogs.com/release/19224355. Entries have been made for a CD version.
Dear Tyran, I am writing a thesis about ECM for the final essay of my bachelor degree in jazz singing. I quoted you and put the credits for you blog in the bibliography. Just wanted to thank you for your great work about ECM, it was very useful to me and also a big pleasure to read your reviews.
Daphne Nisi, singer from Rome 🙂
I am honored, Daphne! I would love to read your essay, if you are willing to share it with me 🙂
Hello Tyran – where can I purchase your book in the UK? Love your work
The book is currently only available directly from the publisher by clicking the PayPal link on the book’s official page: http://www.reynaranjo.net/soundandspace/
Hello Tyran, unfortunately I have had a really difficult time with the publisher of your book and am reaching out to you in the hope you might be able to help. I purchased a copy of your book through the publisher website about 2 weeks ago, using PayPal. A few days later I received a strange looking legalistic email from the publisher asking me to either accept or decline a document, and asking for further payment of $85,000. The email was all in Spanish, which I do not speak. I tried using google translate, but I do not understand the email at all. I have tried to contact the publisher and ask for clarity on this but they have not replied. I’ve paid them $40USD for the book and shipping to the UK, and apart from the email asking for further payment I have not heard a thing. At this stage I would just like a full refund and will wait for your book to be published somewhere in Europe. Would you be able to reach out to the publisher and please ask them to issue a refund? Sorry to drag you into this, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. Many thanks, Josh
The amount in that email is in Colombian pesos (the publisher is based in Bogotá), so have no fear about its veracity. Rest assured they will get your book to you (they are, however, often slow to respond to emails). If you would still like a refund, let me know and I will see whether I can get in touch with them. I wish I had more control over such things! Do accept my apologies for the confusion nonetheless.
Thanks for getting back to me. That’s a relief about the currency. This does mean that they are asking for a further $20USD on top of the $15USD I paid for shipping at the point of purchase. On top of the $25USD for the book itself, this is getting too expensive for me unfortunately. If you could get in touch and ask them to issue me a refund that would be appreciated. Thank you for your help.
I have reached out to them directly and hope they will resolve the issue soon. Please let me know if you don’t hear from them in the coming week.
Hello Tyran, what a nice discovery, I just start reading and I’m sure to come back here again and again as there is still so much to discover. I may not be an ECM-aholic but the label surely occupies a unique position in the musical landscape that I would sorely miss if it’d ever disappear. Good to know there is a one-stop point to look for in-depth reviews. – Mark van Tongeren
Thank you for honoring my site with your presence, Mark! It’s been a genuine pleasure reading through your book again 🙂
Hello Tyran, I visit your ECM reviews site whenever I venture back into the catalog, which is often — there are so many facets to explore and I’ve been listening for over 50 years. Today, I was listening to Charles Lloyd and the Athen’s Concert, something I had missed, and I noticed a comment about how influential Manferd Eicher it was upon Lloyd. Which got me to thinking have you written specifically about Eicher — to crystalize his impact on contemporary music, jazz, folk of all types, ethnic and his influence on musicians? You’ve reviewed every album, the musicians and the music, with commentary throughout about Eicher’s touch. Maybe I’ve missed it, but a chapter from your perspective about his focus, his process and his instincts would be a great read.
Hello, Charlie, and do accept my apologies for the late reply, as I was taking a hiatus from reviewing for a while. I have yet to write such an article, and it is something I’ve thought about from time to time. Perhaps I will do this someday!