I don't know if this is "obscure" but the Pat Metheny Group "American Garage" is a good one on ECM.
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Contact Trio, New Marks is an amazing score for anyone who apprecites Mahavishnu Orch., King Crimson, Brand X, or insrtumental Zappa. Superb recording quality, lots of nimble angular almost deranged playing from some incredibly skilled guys. Good luck finding it.
Eberhard Weber, The Following Morning. Not as many RPM's as Contact Trio, but it feels like a dream that you don't want to wake up from. A couple of the compositions on this one are impossible to forget.
Lookout Farm. Pretty interesting Jazz rock record that has a certain restraint and atmosphere that I haven't heard on other Liebman or Abercrombie records.
1st Everyman Band.Twisted exploding Dolphy cartoons w/ lots of razor sharp David Torn guitar.
Louis Sclavis, Acoustic Quartet, L'Affrontment des Pretendants,and Les Violences de Rameau. All 3 have plenty of fire and are very well put together. Lots of detailed interlocking parts are executed by exceptionally peceptive players.
Great picks Benthar.
Well, there are many interesting ECM albums, but you asked for "obsucre" so that's what's on the menu today. Welcome to the "land of the extremely obsure", Dave Holland "Emerald Tears",ECM 1-1109, An incredible voyage delivered on the solo upright bass; you never new it had so many different sounds. Most of your audiophile buds will not have this one in the record rack.
For obscure my vote goes to "Jimmy Giuffre 3, 1961". This was pressed in Germany in 1992 (ECM 1438).
I love "Oregon" (ECM 1258), which is a USA pressing, released in 1983.
Most of all, I am a huge fan of Steve Tibbetts work, and love "YR", (ECM 1355), which has already mentioned here.
I've corresponded with Steve Tibbetts on several occasion in order to track down all of his releases. He often replies with postcards, illustrated with dinosaurs which I thought was pretty amusing.
I have all of his ECM releases and would like to share a little known fact. His work "YR" as released 1980 PolyGram / ECM is a second generation version.
The original was on Frammis Enterprises Records, produced in Minneapolis, MN. This original has a note of thanks to Ralph Karsten of Atmasphere for his help. Ralph lives there and produces Atmasphere from his shop in Minnesota.
If you can find the original, Identified by Steve's own illustration of a Sphinx with horse body standing near a strange outer space looking mass of organic material. This is known by collectors as the "Night Sky" cover.
Artists and instruments not included in the ECM negotiations, are deleted. The ECM remix is different in both musical content and quality. (I should have stated, the original is LP only, never released on CD).
Thanks for a great topic!
I have 6 of Benthar's discs, so I must qualify as an ECM fan. Aside from those already mentioned, I'd recommend:
* Anything with pianist John Taylor, including these under Peter Erskine's name: As It Is, You Never Know, and Time Being
* Kenny Wheeler's The Widow in the Window (also with John Taylor)
* Marc Johnson's Bass Desires (with Scofield and Frisell)
* Just about anything by Ralph Towner
* The one that started it all, ECM-1001 (vinyl #), Mal Waldron Trio's Free at Last.
It's a great label. I must have l50 of them. Cheers, Dave
Ben, I was hoping someone else would respond to your question as I am uncertain how to best describe the ECM sound.
Forced to choose one description, I would say abstract Jazz. This sort of fits all, but does little to describe the difference between Steve Tibbitts and Ralph Towner.
Overall a less commercial assortment of releases for wider ranging music lovers. They are characterized by good quality recordings, beautiful album covers and a low profile marketing effort.
Other companies who's end results are similar in quality but different in art is Concord Records, A&M Horizon and Contemporary.
To help you understand, link below:
Trying to put a label on this music is impossible with such a wide range. Albert said it pretty good for just using 2 words. I believe the artists are using their free form to achieve a sound without worrying about selling their music. A lot is avant-garde,some mainstream,acid or some of the most melodic music ever produced. Most of the best music came from 75-82 in my opinion.
I'm quite suprised to find that most respondents' choices come from one of the other ECM catalogue. I would like to recommend a couple of disc from the ECM New Series catalogue: Officium (ECM 1525) and Mnemosyne (ECM 1700/01). Both by Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble. Here in U. K., Officium is without doubt the best selling ever ECM album, although listed as both a Jazz and Classicsl CD. The latter, it was in the top 100 chart since its launch in 1994. Even today, whenever the Classic FM radio station played tracks from these two albums, the radio station's phone line just went ballistic with people ringing in enquiring about what CD they were playing.