Manfred Eicher And ECM's amazing recordings

I was at the first night of the two nights that make up Inside Out. At the time it was a bit of a surprise as we were expecting standards…

Must be interesting to listen to it having been there.

(I have a CD of Sonic Youth gig in Central Park, N.Y. that I attended in 1992, which reminds me viscerally of that memorable time.)

I lived in Battersea in 2000 when you saw that gig, so I could have gone to it myself, had I known how good it was going to be.

But I saw almost all my jazz at Ronnie Scott’s in those days.

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Both wonderful!

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This is a great album; the brilliant pianist Django Bates in a trio setting.


brilliant album!

This thread prompted me to listen to Alina last night. Its been quite a while since my last listen and my system is set up better than it was. With the system resolving greater detail, I noticed many nuances I hadn’t realised were there and it made me wonder how to play this recording.

It is recorded at particularly low volume and Im not sure if thats because it’s meant to be listened to that way. If I turn up the volume to my usual listening levels (75 - 80dB(A) average) some background sounds seem to add to more than just ambience and fidelity, they are occasionally distracting. I have tried to find information about the volume but other than comments that yes, it is recorded at low volume, I can’t find any information about why this is or if the intention is for it to be played that way.

I listened last night at lower volume than I normally would, enough to detect everything that was going on but not enough to be distracted by anything other than the music. I think playing this at a lower volume really enhances its delicacy and last night I enjoyed one of those moments where the music just embraces you and carries you away. The rain falling on the skylight was the perfect accompaniment…


That’s interesting.

I listen to almost everything on low or very low volumes.

(Except occasional blasts of rock music, often when people are out.)

I do this partly to save my hearing, and partly so as not to disturb sleeping children above the listening room.

There is usually a ‘just right’ volume range for that track at that time.

I try to stay at the lower end of that range most of the time.

As far as I know, one aspect of Eicher’s approach is to start tracks softly, to ease the listener into the music.

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I don’t think my usual listening level is particularly high at around 75dB but it might not be ideal for sleeping children!

In the case of Alina, to play just the loudest parts at my normal volume means moving the volume control a long way, which makes me wonder if it is intended to be played at a low level. My own experience last night would seem to suggest low volume is the best way to listen.


68th Annual DownBeat Critics Poll
We are pleased to announce that Manfred Eicher is voted ‘Producer of the Year’ and ECM ‘Record Label of the Year’ in the leading US jazz magazine’s poll. This sums up to a dozen time in recent history that ECM and its producer have topped the poll. Furthermore, Steve Swallow is again ‘Electric Bassist of the Year’, and many more ECM artists and releases can be found amongst the top ranked finalists.

Thank you, DownBeat Magazine!
Full results of the 67th International Critics Poll are published in the August issue of DownBeat.

DownBeat magazine published an extensive, insightful feature on Manfred Eicher and ECM last year. If you missed it, you can find it online here:


Hi Adrian. Thanks for the link to the Downbeat feature last year, which I’d not read before. It just so happens I’m listening to the most recent album by Carla Bley, Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard, which somehow captured a really nice moment. Let’s hope the label continues to thrive. N

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I hope so too and think it will. Manfred is about to return to the studio this next week to mix some albums and then to restart recording sessions. It’s been a quiet ECM year so far, less than half of what we would normally see but that was intentional after all the work they did last year on releases and 50th anniversary. However, the standard of releases has been very high. And I am sure the second half will be excellent.

I think that really is a good article that is quite insightful.

Very interesting 20 minute interview with Manfred about 50 years…

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Yes, this long article is excellent and gives a real taste of what makes Manfred and the label as a whole tick.

This interview was recorded last year. It mentions the upcoming festival in Flagey Brussels. At the festival the same guy did an hour plus interview with Manfred and a number of ECM artists. It was the most emotional event I have ever been to and just wonderful. Picture I took (Avishai Cohen, Anja Lechner, Manfred, Patrick Bivort, Louis Sclavis, Nik Bartsch)…


The Deep by Masson, from the LP Travelers.

A brilliant track.

Powerful subaquatic energy…a kind of seascape of sound.

Brings to mind the creepy creatures of the bathysphere.

Very excited about this upcoming new album from ECM legend Terje Rypdal. I think this is going to be a cracker. With Stale Storlakken on the keyboards too - he’s wonderful with other bands Elephant 9, Supersilent etc…

This is out Sep 11. There are three other new ECM albums out in September but not yet officially announced…

A new ECM studio album and a programme of new music from Terje Rypdal is cause for celebration. On Conspiracy the great Norwegian guitarist seems to reconnect with the wild inspiration that fuelled such early masterpieces as Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away, Odyssey and Waves, exploring the sonic potential of the electric guitar with both a rock improviser’s love of raw energy and a composer’s feeling for space and texture. Keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, who contributed to Terje’s Vossabrygg and Crime Scene albums is an ideal co-conspirator, perpetually thickening the plot with his own intuitive feeling for complementary sound-colours. Conspiracy also marks a welcome return for Pål Thowsen, whose subtle, detailed drumming was last heard on ECM with Arild Andersen’s 1970s groups. Rypdal’s best band in years is completed by gifted young bass guitarist Endre Hareide Hallre. Conspiracy was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio and produced by Manfred Eicher and Terje Rypdal.


Thanks, I look forward to the release and being able to give the album a spin!

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There is one track on spotify now


This looks great.

I will try to get Spotify working on my 272 tonight and give this a listen.

I recently bought a month’s access to Soundiiz to transfer all my favourites and playlists from Tidal to Qobuz. While I had access to that very useful service, I also sent them to Spotify, partly as another backup, and in case I might want to use Spotify for exploration purposes - and especially to find copies of otherwise unstreamable music by Gloria Coates, Paul Bley, John Zorn, et al.

But I’ve never actually used Spotify, so this will be a first (if I manage it).

I do enjoy Terje’s work.

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A couple more new upcoming ECM’s for September. Debut as leader on ECM for Dominik Wania (been sideman on a couple of Maciej Obara albums) with a solo piano album and a second group outing for Michel Benita…