I have been a huge fan of the European jazz-contemporary-classical label ECM for quite some time. Recently, prayers were answered when I finally got a hold of a decent rep. You see, we struggling radio programmers gots to go out and fish for A&R or Radio reps ourselves. I know that doesn't sound like hard work and I agree it's not chipping paint in 90 degree weather, but truly it's a pain in the lower regions. Some of these people just refuse to answer you (Yes I'm referring to you Asstralwerks!). I take this stuff personally sometimes. Sheesh.
ECM is not for the causal listener. Yes kids, listening comes in levels. Your uncle Tony might like Ol' Blue Eyes, but fire on some Ralph Towner and his eyes will glaze over or suddenly it's a good time to talk about Nascar. In short, we don't come to the table with the same level of knowledge and comittment. Not even close. This doesn't make anyone superior to anyone else, it just indicates how much salt you need to take with each person's opinion. Sometimes ya need a tablespoon, yes?
We even listen to music for different reasons. There is a guy who I know who wouldn't come near this because it's "that European classically derivative trash." The guy is well into his fifties and his idea of great music stops at Throbbing Gristle or any unknown punk teenage angst-filled band from the UK. While I enjoy punk in small doses, this cat is still trying to be a teenager. Sad, sad, sad. I am old. I accept it baby.
ECM even confounds American jazz fans because the music is often experimental and doesn't 'swing.' What? No swing? You call that jazz??? I'm outraged! Yes, my friends, people act like they own music and get really angry over this stuff-especially musicians who often act as if nothing outside of their narrow aesthetic could be taken seriously. Musicians: they do so much damage to the art sometimes.
For a while now, ECM has been off my radar partly because I shut myself off to new music after those classic mid-70's releases by Eberhard Weber, Terje Rypdal and Ralphy T. And partly because my tastes have been shifting so hard towards electronic music. ECM is primarliy known for presenting crystaline acoustic music or a delicate blend between acoustic and electronics-delicate being the operative word.
So, the 13 new ECM discs will slowly matriculate into the E-Tope soundscape. I hope you enjoy them.