The ECM Sound -- Discussion in two Parts

Sun_FortuneSun_Fortune 1,374 Posts
edited April 2005 in Music Talk
1. I was talking to my Pops yesterday about the Keith Jarret box set on ECM that I finally picked up, and his comments were that "ECM had the best sound recording and engineering. I'd never heard recorded sound like that before ECM." Personally, I 've always found the ECM sound to be harsh and too treblelly (too much treble.) Even all those records that are supposed to be warm, leave me cold. Thoughts, coments??2. After a next level lesson by the one who goes by Hc***k who doesn't buy ECM because he is a "jazz snob," I've been rethinking my stance on ECM's catalogue. It's easy to assume they are on some next level shit based on their far out desings, Terje Rypdal, various memebers of the Bitches Brew gang, solo concept albums etc. But, was ECM faking the funk? Was their music high-end/avante jazz or just high-end/avante NewAge? Or something different altogether. (Please omit Stanely Cowell from this discussion, unless you wanna take a shot at him.) Thoughts, comments??
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  • The_NonThe_Non 5,686 Posts
    But, was ECM faking the funk?



    ECM and this concept do not mix.



    I have grown weary of a gong, pan pipe, harp and soprano sax quartet.



    Just say no to ECM!

  • KineticKinetic 3,738 Posts

    I have grown weary of a gong, pan pipe, harp and soprano sax quartet.

    Just say no to ECM!
    Classic

    Yeah, seriously, ECM ain't funky, but I like a few rekkids on the label. 'Like' is the operrative word though - it's a label that could not exist and also not adversely effect my existence, if you know what i mean.

  • The_Hook_UpThe_Hook_Up 8,183 Posts
    the ECM sound=



  • Umm,

    I like alot of ECM records, though I've yet to find a particularly funky one. Some of the Jan Garbarek stuff is nice and deep, and I have alot of time for keith jarrett (bar the whining)

    On the recording tip, I heard that Manfred Eicher (or whatever the label owner guy is called) always puts a couple of seconds of silence at the start of each ecm cd to mimic the vinyl experience. Could be bullshit though

    ~J

  • AaronAaron 977 Posts
    I've been thrown into the precarious position of being the ECM expert because I dared to defend some of their so-called beat-head records, as well as trying to find the next label to rep. Of course, the label is packed with vast garbage, but even a junkyard dog finds a t-bone every now and then, or something.

  • ECM is a totally valid label. They were the only ones doing anything in jazz in the late 70's and early 80's beside CTI. Compare conceptually what they were all about to labels like PAUSA, Muse, Inner City. 90% of the titles on these other labels were tired be bop and standards. ECM did not push a dead art. They made original shit.

    Pat Metheney New Chataqua
    Keeny Wheeler Gnu High
    Eberhard Webber Silent Feet
    Pat Metheney Album
    Keith Jarrett Koln Concert
    Keith Jarrett Facing You
    Chick Corea Return to Forever ( and incredible album )!

    No there is no funk on ECM. Who cares. I am not saying it is the greatest label ever and the sound quality is designed for a modern era. it is tin if you do not flatten out the bass and treb.

    i like ECM quite a bit. Always have.

    ap
    The Bizarre

  • I'm not mad at ECM...they are great records for finding that subtle layer for a beat/scratch track, mixtape, etc. Not too many titles I'm aware of that I would actually sit and listen to, but they are still worth picking up once in a while (utilitarian)

  • I am not saying it is the greatest label ever and the sound quality is designed for a modern era.

    That's funny cause I was gonna say that a lot of the tonal work on this label sounds to me like some of the new laid back downtempo stuff, with people going back to analog modules and all that...

  • emyndemynd 832 Posts





  • yea it's true... it is not really my sound but sometimes i like it. it is refreshing in a way. very crystal ( no meth ). i usually like a more full body sound but certain things on this label work. god that record kenny wheeler knu high is just BURNING.

  • dsandersdsanders 496 Posts


    Good early record from ECM - Dave Holland and Barre Phillips playing bass duets.


    Live concert by Ralph Towner on solo 12 string, classical, etc. guitar. really nice...

  • hcrinkhcrink 8,730 Posts
    I actually have to recant my hate on ECM somewhat. I found two solid ECM's last week that I am keeping.

    Cowell's "Illusion Suite" & Kenyatta's "Girl from sumthinsumthin"

    I listen to both in painful scrutiny, trying to find fault, but could not...

    The Abercrombie & fitsch "timeless" joint is OK too

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts

    1. I was talking to my Pops yesterday about the Keith Jarret box set on ECM that I finally picked up, and his comments were that "ECM had the best sound recording and engineering. I'd never heard recorded sound like that before ECM." Personally, I 've always found the ECM sound to be harsh and too treblelly (too much treble.) Even all those records that are supposed to be warm, leave me cold. Thoughts, coments??

    2. After a next level lesson by the one who goes by Hc***k who doesn't buy ECM because he is a "jazz snob," I've been rethinking my stance on ECM's catalogue. It's easy to assume they are on some next level shit based on their far out desings, Terje Rypdal, various memebers of the Bitches Brew gang, solo concept albums etc. But, was ECM faking the funk? Was their music high-end/avante jazz or just high-end/avante NewAge? Or something different altogether. (Please omit Stanely Cowell from this discussion, unless you wanna take a shot at him.) Thoughts, comments??


    1) I remember back in the days, that ECM was considered the pinacal of sound. The German pressings were supposed to be the best in the world. I don't have an opinion on that, but I think there records demostrate a wider dynamic range than most pop records.

    I've always had a strong dislike for Keith Jarret, who was releasing a record a week of self proclaimed solo genius back in the late 70s. When Windham Hill hit, it was clear that ECM had paved the way.

    2) On the other hand, there is lots of good music on ECM. They do not have one sound. I like that Om with Dom Um Romao.

    Dan

  • Cowell's "Illusion Suite"

    this is dope.

    i would be surprised all of you afrocentric indie jazz freakers do not dig on this.



  • please don't front.

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,686 Posts
    No comment on Pat Metheny.

    BUT I don't hate ECM. I just don't like the bevy of experimental music that sounds like crap.

    Some dudes on ECM who's music I've liked include:
    Ralph Towner
    Gary Burton
    Dave Liebman
    Stanley Cowell-Illusion Suite
    and some Jan Garbarek.

    I just don't like how a lot of em also either
    A) don't have a drum beat behind it
    B) don't have a piano
    C) missing other essential part of a quartet

    Peace
    T.N.

  • mrmatthewmrmatthew 1,574 Posts
    Big time agreement on the Timeless record.
    Also El Corazon from Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell.
    And Conference Of Birds by Dave Holland. HUGE record. Check it out.
    I think ECM is DEFINETLY a "hit or miss" record label.
    I think thats becasue they let artists do whatever they want to, no questions asked. And sometimes, they put out really suspect work. I do a show at a radio station and we get every single ECM reelase and over the past 8+ years I've been there, maybe 2 or three realeases a year I can get into. The rest, not so much. I'd say thats about on par with most "jazz" labels these days.

  • high_chigh_c 1,384 Posts
    hi. julian preister love love. bye.

  • nickjnickj 53 Posts

    Hc***k who doesn't buy ECM because he is a "jazz snob"

    That's funny to me, because I always associate ECM more with "jazz snobs" who turn their noses up at any jazz with a backbeat or covers of 70's pop tunes. Is this thread really about the validity of ECM as a jazz label? I don't think ECM was either "faking the funk" or even had "the funk" in the first place. They were in the business of recording improvised music that was pretty progressive for the time, some of which comes off to many people as stuffy or "academic" sounding. The label definitely had its own ethos: unusual instrumental combinations, an emphasis on solo performance, very sparse presentation, etc. But I'm guessing that Manfred Eicher wasn't looking to crack the pop charts.

    In addition to what's been mentioned, I also like:
    - both Julian Priester lp's, which are must-haves if you dig early 70's Herbie
    - Dave Liebman, Drum Ode (which I personally think blows away Lookout Farm)
    - Michael Naura, Vanessa (a couple funky rhodes/vibes cuts)
    - Abercrombie/Holland/DeJohnette, Gateway (b-a-c-k-w-o-o-d-s--s-o-n-g)
    - Steve Kuhn, Trance

    and I'll cosign on
    - Stanley Cowell, Illusion Suite
    - Robin Kenyatta, Girl From Martinique

    can't vouch for Ralph Towner's Solstice, but that one also seems to get some love.

    But compared to Prestige, Blue Note, etc, ECM wasn't funky at all. Oh well. If you prefer jazz with a consistent beat (be it Jo Jones' swing or an Idris backbeat), then chances are you may not dig a lot of ECM records. But that doesn't make it any less valid as a label or as a body of music.

  • AaronAaron 977 Posts
    ECM = Neo-Third Stream

  • hcrinkhcrink 8,730 Posts
    Hc***k who doesn't buy ECM because he is a "jazz snob"

    haha! I was really just being silly about that...

    I almost made a post about ECM called "Aaron, I apologize" the other day. Now I don't gotta.


  • AaronAaron 977 Posts
    Hahaha

  • The_Hook_UpThe_Hook_Up 8,183 Posts
    hi. julian preister love love. bye.

    I have to admit, I have that LP and love it...but I am still keeping the yawning baby picture up, well because it is so damn cute.

  • DenmarkVZDenmarkVZ 397 Posts
    who the fuck are these herbs up in here? Doomkopfs! Yeah, your common dollar bin proto new age ECMs are not all that, but that's a general rule for most big record labels. faking the funk? sigh.



    like saying I don't like Atlantic after hearing some Bent Fabric lps.


  • who the fuck are these herbs up in here? Doomkopfs! Yeah, your common dollar bin proto new age ECMs are not all that, but that's a general rule for most big record labels. faking the funk? sigh.

    like saying I don't like Atlantic after hearing some Bent Fabric lps.

    WURD

  • Sun_FortuneSun_Fortune 1,374 Posts
    I was misintepreted on the Faking the Funk issue (or maybe I just don't know what it means). Its idiomatic people, I know there is no funk almost anywhere in ECM.

    My conclusions are these about ecm:
    good records for sampling, although most cannot be listened through
    a tad pretentious (like my post)
    a few very good records
    still don't like the sound
    an altogether solid jazz label


  • TheMackTheMack 3,414 Posts
    my mom always plays this in the car and i really dig it

  • faux_rillzfaux_rillz 14,344 Posts
    my mom always plays this in the car and i really dig it

    That stuff is all crap. I'm sorry, but it has no sac to it.

  • AaronAaron 977 Posts
    That was the exact record -- an epiphany of sorts. No more ECMs.

  • TheMackTheMack 3,414 Posts
    my mom always plays this in the car and i really dig it

    That stuff is all crap. I'm sorry, but it has no sac to it.
    naw dog. you're just too close minded
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