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Article: Album Review

Food: Mercurial Balm

Read "Mercurial Balm" reviewed by David McLean

Food's seventh studio album and second for the ECM label is easily the most cohesive offering from its varied discography. A combination of live and studio recordings, British saxophonist Iain Ballamy and Norwegian beat technician Thomas Strønen travel through a rich plateau of effervescent electronics, propulsive yet angular rhythms and near twilight jazz phrasings, which combine ...


Article: Live Review

Supersilent featuring John Paul Jones: Manchester, UK, November 16, 2012

Read "Supersilent featuring John Paul Jones: Manchester, UK, November 16, 2012" reviewed by David McLean

Supersilent featuring John Paul JonesRNCMManchester, UKNovember 16, 2012Of all Supersilent's live collaborators-- spanning from guitarist Stian Westerhus to prog/space rock juggernaut Motorpsycho--bassist John Paul Jones is a clear and distinct anomaly. Whereas previous conspirators have worked in similar realms, it was hard to know how the former Led Zeppelin bassist would ...


Article: Live Review

Johann Johannsson and Hildur Gudnadottir: Manchester, UK, November 2, 2012

Read "Johann Johannsson and Hildur Gudnadottir: Manchester, UK, November 2, 2012" reviewed by David McLean

Jóhann Jóhannsson and Hildur GuðnadóttirLive Soundtrack of Pandoras BoxRNCMManchester, EnglandNovember 2, 2012As soon as the title sequence erupted onto the cinema screen, so too did the quartet's music; all fire and brimstone, recalling composer Philip Glass' most imposing work on Koyaanisqatsi (1982). Piano chords were struck as cello and ...


Article: Live Review

John Surman: Manchester, England. June 18, 2012

Read "John Surman: Manchester, England. June 18, 2012" reviewed by David McLean

John SurmanRNCMManchester Jazz FestivalManchester, EnglandJune 18, 2012As the lights slowly dimmed, a small and rather unremarkable man made his way onto the stage, in front of a table strewn with saxophones and wind instruments. However, as the audience soon discovered, when this man begins to play something utterly remarkable ...


Article: Live Review

The Necks: Manchester, England, September 15, 2012

Read "The Necks: Manchester, England, September 15, 2012" reviewed by David McLean

The NecksBand On The WallManchesterSeptember 15, 2012The Necks is one of those rare and ingenious bands that has consistently made the role of the critic wonderfully obsolete. Since the group's inception in the late '80s and across 20 albums, this Australian trio has deftly maneuvered out of any pigeonhole ascribed to ...


Article: Album Review

Ricardo Villalobos / Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM

Read "Re: ECM" reviewed by David McLean

Over the past decade or so, the ECM label has been flirting with elements of electronic music in varying degrees. Evan Parker's Towards The Margins (1997) introduced electronic manipulation in the live processing of sound as a new improvisational tool, embellishing the saxophonist's already avant-garde collection of instrumentation. Since then, subtle machinations have crept into other ...


Article: Album Review

Paul Motian / Chris Potter / Jason Moran: Lost In A Dream

Read "Lost In A Dream" reviewed by David McLean

A drummer whose inventive approach to percussion has produced one of the most recognizable and in demand sounds in the pantheon of jazz, Paul Motian's revolutionary playing has seen him approach the kit not as a rhythmic backbone, but as a tool for subtlety and soundscape creation. Lost In A Dream, Motian's set of midnight ballads, ...


Article: Record Label Profile

Rune Grammofon: Mutation and Reevaluation

Read "Rune Grammofon: Mutation and Reevaluation" reviewed by David McLean

Since its inception in 1998, Rune Grammofon has been at the forefront of ground breaking new music, heralding a new unprecedented interest in Scandinavian music. Whereas ECM's focus on the region has largely been based around the folk/traditional music explorations of its most prolific artists, including Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Terje Rypdal and Jon Christensen, and ...


Article: Album Review

Nils Okland: Monograph

Read "Monograph" reviewed by David McLean

With now over a thousand releases, ECM has become as identifiable for its pristine sound production as its sumptuous design aesthetic. Each release since its 1969 inception has been adorned with beautiful photography and abstract art that has become as inherently important as the music contained within. A testament to this, Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland's ...


Article: Album Review

Ralph Towner / Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro

Read "Chiaroscuro" reviewed by David McLean

Continuing his long and fruitful relationship with Manfred Eicher's ECM Records--yielding a slew of successful solo records and concerts, acclaimed group work with Oregon and Solstice (also featuring Jan Garbarek), and duo work with John Abercrombie, Gary Peacock and Gary Burton--guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner has become something of an icon for the German label. Chiaroscuro marks another ...


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