I’ve been doing some work on label branding this week, looking for simple ideas to communicate a strong identity, and it got me thinking about ECM.

If you’re at all familiar with their album art, then you’ll always know when you’re holding an ECM record.

They exude quality, serenity and integrity, and yet somehow they all manage to look a bit like this:

It got me thinking: what if ECM’s A&R strategy had been a little more mainstream?

Anyway. Enough of this silliness. Here’s the album that made me fall in love with ECM in the first place. A friend recently posted a link to it on Facebook, saying “this album will change your life”. I thought “oh come on”. Then I saw which album it was, and had to admit that in my case, it probably did. Enjoy.



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  1. Kirk #
    May 11, 2012

    There’s something a bit cultish about ECM. Not just the music, but the album art. It’s like back in the early 80s (I’m that old), in NYC, everyone wore grays and blacks, especially that “European grey,” as John Foxx said back in the 70s. While I’ve found some great music from them, much of it sounds alike. Tord Gustavsen in particular puts me to sleep. Different strokes…

  2. niels #
    May 11, 2012

    gotten. (when you recommend things, i just buy them.)

  3. jfl #
    May 11, 2012

    “Dialectical Eroticism of Improvisation”

    Tord Gustavsen (Trio & person) are splendid, indeed.

    It’s So Cool to Be Norwegian

    “the three Norwegians sound like the Keith Jarrett Trio, if the Keith Jarrett Trio actually sounded anything like Keith Jarrett. …

    Meditative, ruminating, reminiscing are the qualities of the trio, to which the always elegant, exquisitely subtle Mr. Vespestad on drums (looking like a smaller, lithe version of Bruce Willis) is a major contribution…

    This is one kind of jazz—well behaved, stylish (down to the impeccable suits the three young men wore), and beautiful—and it’s not for everyone. If your favorite record is Miles Davis, Live at the Newport, you won’t be impressed. If you like intelligent and lyrical late-night jazz, make either of their records your next.”

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  1. Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 45 (June 2012) | Quaerentia

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