ACT: 20 Years of Magical Music
Nowadays, creating a record label is closer to the norm than the exception. The real sign of success in a fleeting music business, where the sale of records constantly declines, is staying power. This year, 2012, the German record label ACT Music is able to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Not a mean feat for a company which, in spite of its success, has never had sales as a goal in itself. Instead, the label has been driven by a tireless effort to publish music that touches the heart and expands generic boundaries while remaining firmly planted in jazz.
ACT's aesthetic is embodied in founder and producer Siggi Loch, who has proven himself worthy of inclusion in the pantheon of great record men, which includes people such as Lester Koenig (Contemporary Records), Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff (Blue Note), Francois Dreyfus (Dreyfus Records) and Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun (Atlantic Records). As it turns out, Nesuhi Ertegun was one of the people who helped Loch along the way to becoming a musical mogul. In an All About Jazz interview with R.J. DeLukeother extracts from which are quoted belowLoch speaks about Ertegun, saying: "He became my mentor and also a kind of fatherly friend over the years."
Ertegun was a crucial influence on Loch, but only one of many in a life that from the beginning revolved around music. The title of a beautiful book of Loch's photography, with four accompanying CDs sampling some of the music he has produced, says it all: Love of My Life (Ear Books, 2006). To Loch, music has been a passion that began when he started out as drummer and later became a salesman who worked himself up to be a manager and producer, and ended up being the founder of one of the most influential independent jazz labels in Europe.
Even though Loch started out as a musician, he soon realized that he would serve his passion better by becoming a part of the industry around the music, putting his stamp on what is being passed on to the listening public. As he says : "You find new talent and you try to find a niche for their music. That's really what this business should be all about."
A quick look at the label's steadily growing roster of artists, and there is no doubt that Loch has fulfilled his goal of finding talent and nurturing it. When ACT started out in 1992, many of its signings were unknown to the world, but by 2012, artists such as pianist Esbjörn Svensson, singer Victoria Tolstoy, bassist Lars Danielsson, trombonist Nils Landgren and guitarist Nguyên Lê have become household names in the global jazz community and beyond.
Part of the reason for ACT's success is Loch's remarkable talent for finding new musical voices; but it is also that he doesn't try to squeeze his signings into a rigid ACT model. Instead, the artists are given free reign: "One reason why the label is called ACT is I go by the artist and what they represent. So once I decide to go with an artist, I give him the freedom to do what he wants to do. If he is spreading out, like Nguyên Lê does, I don't stop him...or Vince Mendoza, or Nils Landgren. They do different things. Sometimes, they do things that I'm not really crazy about, but as long as I believe in the artist and what he's doing I support him."
When it comes to whether the music should be released or not, there is, however, one decisive parameter for Loch: "Most important, I have to be emotionally moved by the music. That's where it starts. But also, is the artist really interested in communicating with an audience? That's a big problem in jazz. Some of these artists, they produce great jazz maybe but they are not really communicating. They are not interested in communicating, they are interested in making money, but not in communicating human beings."
Communication, emotion and freedom are keywords for Loch and ACT. There is no specific limitation, instead the music is about listening with an open mind and heart and without any preconceived ideas of what jazz should be. As Loch puts it: "I certainly don't think jazz is only jazz if it's swing, as it used to be, because jazz is more than that. Jazz, first of all, is a way of expressing freedom of mind. That's the key, not that it swings."
A word that pops up again and again in the compilations released by ACT is "magic." This is also the case with the release of its Jubilee Album, which is subtitled 20 Magic Years. Indeed, there have been many highlights, or magic moments, throughout the label's 20 years and the latest releases promise more to come. Listening through the diverse constellations on the anniversary-sampler, it becomes clear that the company's recipe for success lies in its openness towards other genres, whether it's flamenco, classical, funk, pop, rock, grunge or electronic music. ACT isn't a jazz label that practices musical purity. Instead, the following releases, taken from a vast and ever-growing catalog, underline Loch's belief that the most interesting music arises in the cross-fertilization of genres.
Vince Mendoza / Arif Mardin
The very first title in the ACT catalog is marked by the label's ambition of crossing genres. Jazzpaña is an interesting experiment, combining modern big band jazz with flamenco. Vince Mendoza conducts the WDR Big Band and an authentic flamenco group, Los Jovenes Flamencos, whose charismatic singer, Ramon "El Portugues" immediately sets the stage for a different kind of musical experience on the opener, "El Vito Cante." Here, Ramon's voice soars and reaches across the rooftops, incarnating a burning passion in the middle of a foil of rolling Spanish guitars, singing flutes and bubbling electric bass.
"Entre Tinieblas" takes full advantage of the big band sound, incorporating solid sheets of brass in a hectic stew of rhythms where folklore mixes with fusion in a polyphonic blend of musical voices. Along the way, several prominent guests contribute to the project, among them, guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Peter Erskine. Saxophonist Michael Brecker also turns up on the funky "Buleria" and delivers a stellar solo that increases the heat in a performance that is already burning.
Jazzpaña is unique in its blend of Spanish folklore and modern jazz, acoustic and electric sounds. Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960) is the immediate reference for a work like this, but it is much more sprawling than Davis' masterpiece and is sometimes even imposing with its dramatic effects and pathos. However, it is a unique experiment that succeeds and the record became the blueprint for further travels into foreign sound worlds. It showed that aesthetically Loch wasn't satisfied to stay rooted in one place.
Tales from Viêt-nam
During the live recordings for Jazzpaña Siggi Loch met the Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê who has become a central musician in the label's roster and was its first exclusive artist. Lê perfectly fits Loch's idea of a communicative artist. As a musician, he speaks many languages, blending the heritage of traditional Vietnamese music with jazz and the pyrotechnics of Jimi Hendrix.
Tales from Viêt-nam is perhaps Lê's most bold exploration of his past. Using a group with people from all around the world, he creates a mesmerizing music that is meditative, rhythmically vibrant and forceful. The beautiful voice of Huong Thanh is a strong presence on the album and her gentle lyricism a perfect contrast to Lê's electrically charged guitar solo on "Trông Comthe Rice Drum."
The music combines the hectic living of the big city with the exotic sounds of the rainforest. It's a kind of lyrical ethnic fusion where washes of synthesizers blend with a wealth of percussive sounds. Just like Jazzpaña, Tales from Viêt-nam creates a world that only exists on record and yet it references the actual meeting of different cultures. For instance, the lovely "Spring of Life" combines the minimalism of French composer Eric Satie with exotic flourishes of percussion and an ethereal trumpet solo.
Throughout the record, Lê guides the music through its different movements and gently steps aside when it's needed. In every way, there's respect to be found herefor tradition and the musicians, who contribute to a work that stands out in a diverse and fascinating discography.
Notes from the Heart
Another prominent guitarist on ACT is Ulf Wakenius, whose profound sense of melody and lyricism comes into full fruition on his tribute to pianist and composer Keith Jarrett. Talking about the title in the liner notes, Wakenius says: "I have named the CD Notes from the Heart and that is what I have tried to doplay every note from the heart to celebrate Keith Jarrett."
It would be safe to say that Wakenius has succeeded in his attempt to play from the heart. Compositions like "Innocence" and "Everything That Lives Laments" breathe with an organic sense of beauty coming from the wood and steel of Wakenius' guitar. He is complemented superbly by drummer Morten Lund and bassist Lars Danielsson, who also occasionally fills in on piano and cello. The chamber-like setting contributes to the intimacy of the record and engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug helps to sculpt a superior, warm sound where every detail is heard.
While the emphasis is on the ballads, the group also shows that it is capable of a solid groove and infectious swing. Thus, the tune "Dancing" does exactly what the title promises: it propels a funky rhythm where there's plenty of space for Wakenius' fluid and lightning-fast runs.
In spite of the occasional changes in pace, the overall impression of Notes from the Heart is that it is a record of contemplation. It is music that allows and invites deep listening.
Bassist Lars Danielsson, who plays on Notes from the Heart, is a frequent sideman on many ACT releases, but he is also a leader in his own right. On Tarantella he creates an enchanting mixture of classical music and jazz.
Polish pianist Leszek Mozdzer, who has a background in classical music, has previously shown that he is the perfect musical partner for Danielsson. On Pasodoble (ACT, 2007) the two created an intimate sound world and Mozdzer returns again to enhance the poetry of Danielsson's compositions with his sensitive touch.
"Traveller's Wife" sees Danielsson playing a solo cello piece worthy of Bach's cello suites with nuanced and somber notes. Here, Danielsson shows himself as an entire orchestra, capable of playing on all shades of his instrument. "Traveller's Wife" gives way to its cousin "Traveller's Defense" where the band with Mozdzer, drummer Eric Harland and trumpeter Mathias Eick creates a romantic meditation where Eick's breezy playing adds significantly to the atmosphere.
Besides Eick, John Parricelli is also an important voice on the album. His gentle guitar playing graces compositions like "Pegasus" and "Across the Sun" and it adds to the complex and luxurious textures of the album. Classical in its sound and still unequivocally jazzy, Tarantella is the perfect combination of two musical worlds.
Leszek Mozdzer's first solo piano recording on ACT is a tribute to fellow pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda and it is simply titled Komeda. It has sometimes been said of Komeda that he was an inferior pianist and a superior composer. In terms of technicality, Komeda wasn't so much concerned with virtuosity as he was with atmosphere. He deliberately used the space between the notes to create tension in his compositions and shun the dramatic effects of his instrument.
While Mozdzer and Komeda share a love for the Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin, they are still very different in their approach to the piano. Like another classical pianist, Franz Liszt, Mozdzer isn't afraid of delving into pyrotechnics and showing the full range of his command of the instrument, but, thankfully, he has also learnt from Komeda's poetics of restraint, and this shines through in his original interpretations of "Ballad for Bernt" and "Cherry."
A composition where Mozdzer's virtuosity really serves Komeda's music is in his stunning exploration of the epic "Nighttime, Daytime Requiem." This Janus-faced composition with its wealth of dark and light shades really comes to life through Mozdzer's orchestral approach, where tempo, tone and color are varied to perfection.
It's Snowing on My Piano
Whereas many listeners will get their first encounter with Komeda on Mozdzer's album, the material on pianist Bugge Wesseltoft's It's Snowing on My Piano is probably already familiar to many. As the title suggests, it's a Christmas album where Wesseltoft revisits many classics of the season and does so with decided success.
There's an innocent air about Wesseltoft's approach to the material. A childish sense of discovery which strips away the layers of cynical commercialism that sometime seems to spoil the beauty of these tunes.
Wesseltoft revisits and rediscovers the fragile joy and poetry of tunes like "What Child Is This (Greensleeves)" and "Little Town of Bethlehem." His playing is at once naïve and sophisticated, with a touch that reveals an emotional complexity where sadness is allowed a space to breathe in the middle of the mild peace of the music.
It is ironic that Wesseltoft, who is opposed to any kind of commercial exploitation, ended up creating an absolute bestseller in the ACT catalog. But, perhaps, this could only happen because it wasn't planned. It's Snowing on My Piano is a happy accident. It is a rare example of a bestseller which has the unconscious innocence of a home recording.
Nils Landgren Funk Unit
If Bugge Wesseltoft wanted to avoid commercialism and ended up creating a bestseller, it's quite another story with eclectic trombonist Nils Landgren, who isn't afraid to delve deep into the waters of pop. The cover is about as tasteless as a cover can be and shows a blue moose doing a funky dance, but luckily there's more to the music than fun and kitsch.
As it is, Funky ABBA is in fact a bold experiment that transforms perfect Swedish pop into urban funk. The material on this album consists of evergreens written by the legendary group ABBA, whose chief songwriter, Benny Andersson, gave the project his blessing and even turns up playing piano on the ballad "When All Is Said and Done."
It's hard to imagine ABBA's pure pop songs transformed into smooth and steaming funk, but actually it makes perfect sense when the music plays and the groove is on. "Money, Money, Money" cooks with bubbling organ, synthesizers, wah-wah-guitar and a rap section and "Dancing Queen" turns down the tempo of the original and becomes a silky and slowly unfolding soul anthem.
Nils Landgren is indeed a postmodern enfant terrible and this experiment could easily be written off as some kind of curious gimmick; but, in reality, Landgren does what jazz always has done with standards, he interprets the material and makes it new. The blueprint for this record is that the musicians obviously dig the music and it's a joy that is communicated so well that all reservations about the project disappear.
Rigmor Gustafsson and the Jacky Terrasson Trio
Close to You
The musical diversity of Nils Landgren is underlined by the fact that he is credited as a producer and guest musician on the Swedish singer Rigmor Gustafsson's album with the Jacky Terrasson Trio. Close to You is a tribute to Dionne Warwick and mainly concentrates on covers of the songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David that made Warwick famous.
From start to finish, it is a work of pure class. Gustafsson's smoky voice wraps itself around the crystalline chords of Jacky Terrasson's piano on "Close to You" and she adds just the right amount of bittersweet regret on an elegant version of "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."
Terrasson is particularly inspired on "Alfie," where he carves out an intro whose spacious chords and delicate use of harmony sets the scene for Gustafsson as she tells the tale of the world while a river of sorrow flows underneath.
While it's the tender ballads that really make Gustafsson shine, there's also room for a bit of swing, funk and fun. "What the World Needs Now" gets a playful treatment, with the chorus fired up by Terrasson's rollicking piano, while Diana Warren's "Much Too Much" is swinging funk with brass and Fender Rhodes. Close to You is a convincing outing from one of the label's most charismatic singers.
Shining on You
Viktoria Tolstoy is another prominent singer signed to ACT, and on Shining on You , Nils Landgren once again turns up as a producer. The material this time isn't classic pop penned by Bacharach and David, or American standards, but instead the focus is on ACT's very own star, the pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson whose trio, e.s.t., achieved worldwide acclaim. Tragically, Svensson passed away in 2008 when he had a scuba diving accident, but his work still continues to influence other musicians and on this album, Tolstoy showcases his undeniable qualities as a composer of timeless compositions.
The title track is a heartfelt ballad graced by Landgren's trombone and Tolstoy singing lines like: "easy living is hard to find," but in spite of its acknowledgement of darkness, in its essence, the song is about the rays of hope that can be found everywhereeven when it's dark.
Other ballad highlights are "Wonder Why," where Lars Danielsson's delicate bass playing adds to the atmosphere, and "No Regrets" with the nostalgic tone of harmonica player Toots Thielemans and a lush string section performed by The Stockholm Session Strings. Shining on You shows a less experimental side of Svensson, but is nonetheless strong in its compositional ability to tap into universally human feelingsthese are songs that aspire to become standards and are perfectly sung by Tolstoy's translucent voice.
The importance of e.s.t. can hardly be underestimated. With its use of rock and electronic music within the framework of the classic piano trio, the group has played an important role in re-defining how jazz can sound. Svensson's trio is a rare example of an experimental group which has become a bestseller and crossed into pop without selling out of its values.
The musical history of e.s.t. is nicely summed up on the album Retrospective: The Very Best of e.s.t. (ACT, 2009) which covers all of the manifold expressions of the trio. It also includes a piece from what was thought to be the group's last recording, the posthumous Leucocyte (ACT, 2008). However, the same sessions that produced that album have been reexamined and the surviving members, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom, have pieced together another album which immediately inscribes itself into the canon of the trio.
301 is an album that sees the group as true modernistic innovators and explorers of sound. The epic "Inner City, City Lights" is a case in point with its hypnotic bass pattern and synthetic choir, while "The Left Lane" is as close to classic swing as the trio gets. "Three Falling Free Part I" on the other hand, creates a complex landscape of electronic reverb, fuzz-bass and classical ornamentation.
It is sad to think about what the group could have done if it had been allowed more time, but in spite of Svensson's tragic death, the legacy of the group is already firmly established and 311 is a proof that the trio continued to expand its palette of sound until its untimely dissolution.
Vijay Iyer Trio
Vijay Iyer is another pianist on the ACT label whose trio has helped to define the sound of postmodern jazz. Iyer has an encyclopedic knowledge of music theory and tradition, but in spite of the intellectual appeal of his playing, he also taps deep into a bodily groove together with his trio of bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore.
This is especially on apparent on Accelerando, whose philosophical foundation is the discovery of sound through bodily action. As Iyer writes in the liner notes: "Music is action: the sound of bodies in motion. When we hear a rhythm, we imagine the act that gave rise to it. Some call it neural mirroring, or empathy. Music and dance are linked in this way: bodies listening to bodies. If music has ever moved you, then you already know."
The trio beautifully translates theory into action as it weaves a wild collage of spellbinding, rhythmical grooves that cover a wide span of history, ranging from Duke Ellington's little heard "The Village of the Virgins" to Michael Jackson's smash hit "Human Nature" played in the trio's joyfully idiosyncratic version. All in all, Accelerando is the perfect example of ACT's ability to combine complexity and a direct emotional appeal that sets that mind as well as the body into motion.
Michael Wollny's [em]
Wasted & Wanted
If Esbjörn Svensson represents the past and Vijay Iyer the present in ACT's canon of pianists, then the future belongs to the German pianist Michael Wollny and his trio with bassist Eva Kruse and drummer Eric Schaefer. Together they perform under the moniker Michael Wollny's [em] and their musical curiosity knows no limits.
Wasted & Wanted shows the eclectic nature of the trio's music, encompassing everything from classical to techno. The liner notes quote the artist Daniel Richter: "Beauty through confusion, truth through collision." This truly sums up the aesthetic of the group, where different musical worlds collide and melt into a singular expression.
Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. V, Mov 1: Trauermarsch" is transformed into a forceful and brooding groove, with Wollny hammering away on the keys, while "Das Modell" is an unlikely melodic exploration of Kraftwerk's techno classic.
While the covers are interesting, the majority of the album is dedicated to the group's own originals and this is not a bad idea since the writing of all three members is top-notch. For instance, Schaefer's "Kulintang" creates its own universe of bell-like percussion complimented by Kruse's discrete bass lines and Wollny's gentle waves of piano.
Wasted & Wanted is a perfect example of how ACT constantly seeks to enhance the understanding of generic boundaries. The credo of many of the label's musicians seems to be, "everything is possible," and when everything is possible, true musical magic can happen.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: El Vito Cante; Tangos; Entre Tinieblas; Tanguillo; Soy Gitano; Buleria; Suite Fraternidad; El Vito En Gran Tamaño.
Personnel: Vince Mendoza: conductor; Michael Brecker: tenor sax; Al Di Meola: electric guitar; Peter Erskine: drums; Dieter Ilg: bass; Steve Khan: electric guitar; Freddie Santiago: percussion; Ramon "El Portugues": cantaor / vocal; Juan Manuel Cañizares: flamenco guitar; Jorge Pardo: flute, soprano and tenor sax; Carles Benavent: bass guitar and mandola; Rubem Dantas: palmas, cajón and tinaja; Joselin Vargas: palmas and cajón; Paco "El Americano": palmas; Heiner Wiberny, alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute; Harald Rosenstein: alto, soprano sax, clarinet; Olivier Peters: tenor, soprano sax, clarinet, flute; Rolf Romer: tenor, soprano sax, clarinet; Steffen Schorn: baritone, bass clarinet; Andy Haderer: trumpet flugelhorn; Rob Bruynen: trumpet, flugelhorn; Klaus Osterloh: trumpet, flugelhorn; Rick Kiefer: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Marshall: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Horler: trombone; Ludwig Nuss: trombone; Bernt Laukamp: trombone; Roy Duvall: trombone; Michal M. Kasper: violoncello; Rainer Lange: violoncello; Albert Jung: violoncello; Uwe Schmeisser: violoncello; Gerhard Szperalski: violoncello; Andrew Joy: French horn; Rainer Jurkiewicz: French horn; Andre Van Driessche: French horn; Hans Nickel: tuba.
Tales from Viêt-nam
Tracks: The Wind Blew It AwayQua câu gio bay; The Black HorseLy Ngua O; Don't Go Away My FriendNguoi oi Nguoi O Dung Vê; Trông ComThe Rice Drum; Hen HoPromise of a date; The Banyan Tree SongLy Cai Da; Spring of LifeHoai Xuân; Ting Ning; MangustaoPart 1; MangustaoPart 2.
Personnel: Nguyên Lê: electric, acoustic and fretless guitars, guitar synthesizer, programming; Huong Thanh: vocals; Hao Nhien: zither (dan tranh), dan bau, sao flute, sapek clappers; Paulo Fresu: trumpet, flugelhorn; Simon S. Hansen: saxophones, concert bass and African flute; Michel Benita: acoustic bass; Francois Verly: percussion, marimba, keyboards, piano; Joël Allouche: drums; Steve Argüelles: drums; Trilok Gurtu: drums, percussion; Thai An: moon lute (dan nguyêt).
Notes from the Heart
Tracks: Memories of Tomorrow; Dancing; Innocence; The Windup; My Song; Mon Coeur Est Rouge; Everything That Lives Laments; The Cure; So Tender; U-Dance; Prayer.
Personnel: Ulf Wakenius: acoustic guitars; Lars Danielsson: double-bass, cello, piano; Morten Lund: drums.
Tracks: Pegasus; Melody on Wood; Traveller's Wife; Traveller's Defense; 1000 Ways; Ballet; Across the Sun; Introitus; Fiojo; Tarantella; Ballerina; The Madonna; Postludum.
Personnel: Lars Da nielsson: double-bass, cello, bass violin; Leszek Możdżer: piano, celesta, harpsichord; Mathias Eick: trumpet; John Parricelli: guitar; Eric Harland: drums, percussion.
Tracks: vantetic; Sleep Safe And Warm; Ballad for Dernt; The Law And The Fist; Nighttime, Daytime Requiem; Cherry; Crazy Girl; Moja Ballada.
Personnel: Leszek Możdżer: piano.
It's Snowing on My Piano
Tracks: It's Snowing on My Piano; In Dulce Jubilo; Mitt hjerte altid vanker; Deilig er jorden; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Du grønne, glitrende tre; Det kimer nå til julefest; What Child Is This (Greensleeves); Kimer, I klokker; Es ist ein Ros entsprungen; Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht; Into Eternal Silence.
Personnel: Bugge Wesseltoft: piano.
Tracks: Money, Money, Money; Knowing Me, Knowing You; Voulez-Vous; Thank You for the Music; Super Trouper; Summer Night City; Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!; The Name of the Game; Dancing Queen; Take a Chance on Me; SOS; When All Is Said And Done.
Personnel: Nils Landgren: trombone, vocals; Magnum Coltrane Price: vocals, microphone poetry and synthesizers; Henrik Janson: guitar; Jesper Nordenström: keyboards; Roberto di Gioa: keyboards; Lars Danielsson: Fender bass; Wolfgang Haffner: drums; Per Lindvall: drums; Karl-Martin Almqvist: tenor saxophone; Till Brönner: trumpet; Sharon Dyall: vocals; Viktoria Tolstoy: vocals; Alex Papaconstantinou: bouzouki; Nimo: co-flow; Benny Andersson: piano.
Close to You
Tracks: Close to You; Walk On By; Move Me No Mountain; So Amazing; I'll Never Fall In Love Again; Much Too Much; Odds and Ends; Alfie; What the World Needs Now; Windows of the World; Always Something There To Remind Me; Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head; I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself; World Of My Dreams.
Personnel: Rigmor Gustafsson: vocals; Jacky Terrasson: grand piano and Fender Rhodes; Sean Smith: bass; Eric Harland: drums, percussion; Nils Landgren: trombone.
Shining on You
Tracks: Upside Out; Shining on You; Summer Calling; Love Is Real, Equilibrium; Wake Up Song; No Regrets; Waltz for the Lonely Ones; Some Day; Wonder Why; Things That Happen; Foreverly.
Personnel: Viktoria Tolstoy: vocals; Bror Falk: piano; Daniel Karlsson: piano; Lars Danielsson: bass, cello; Christian Spering: bass; Wolfgang Haffner: drums; Jonas Holgersson: drums; Magnus Öström: drums; Nils Landgren: trombone, background vocals; Toots Thielemans: harmonica; Ulf Forsberg: concertmaster + The Stockholm Session Strings.
Tracks: Behind The Stars; Inner City, City Lights; The Left Lane; Houston, The 5th; Three Falling Free Part I; Three Falling Free Part II; The Childhood Dream.
Personnel: Esbjörn Svensson: piano, electronics, transistor radio; Dan Berglund: double bass, electronics; Magnus Öström: drums, voices, electronics.
Tracks: Bode; Optimism; The Star of a Story; Human Nature (Trio Extension); Wildflower; Mmmhmm; Little Pocket Size Demons; Lude; Accelerando; Actions Speak; The Village of the Virgins.
Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Stephan Crump: bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums.
Wasted & Wanted
Tracks: Wasted & Wanted; Symphony No. V, Mov. 1: Trauermarsch; Metall; Blank; Kulintang; Cembalo Manifeszt; Wasserklavier; Ihr Bild; Nr. 10; Das Modell; Dario; Whiteout. Bonus CD (Live At JazzFest Berlin 2011): Wasted & Wanted; Blank; Metall; The Fearless Vampire Killers.
Personnel: Michael Wollny: piano, spinet; Eva Kruse: bass, glockenspiel; Eric Schaefer: drums, kulintang, melodica.