The essay is from the perspective of someone who has loved a lot of ECM, and finds (at least some of it) aesthetically beguiling but ethically and politically disgusting.
Art Ensemble of Chicago don't feel like an ECM artist
Clean forgot about the obvious convergence of ECM-world and Dissensus-world: Nils Petter Molvær.
He did at least two albums that combined Scando-jazz mist-rising-over-fjord-at-dawn type biz with - no really! - drum & bass rhythms: Khmer and Solid Ether
There's also (groan) an album of remixes by the likes of Herbert, called Recolored. I haven't dared give that a listen. And now I look, another similar-seeming job, called Remakes (among the credits of guests I spot the name Dego.... also Bugge Wesseltoft).
At the time (late '90s) I remember being quite excited-intrigued by news of this ECM-goes-D&B gambit (still in the jungle-patriot phase, so any signs of its propagation into other territories was encouraging - felt same about the Bowie move with Earthling, or the Derek Bailey listening to the pirates thing).
But then listening to Khmer it became clear that.... well, it wasn't really drum and bass being combined with ECM-stuff, it was more like generic '90s electronic rhythm (as in fact was the case with Earthling, apart from "Little Wonder" which was well Amen-y). And the beat element was on the whole rather plodding and uninspired.
The Nils Petter Molvaer elements were fine and dandy - nice sort of Jon Hassell / City of Fiction moody dark atmospherics - but he clearly hadn't grasped was what jazz-like and potentially compatible about D&B, nor enlisted the right talents to help him get the sound. There was a faint suspicion that maybe he'd only heard an album by Lamb.
I listened again this week and felt exactly the same about Khmer and could discern no improvement with Solid Ether either.
Like with Bowie, the attempt seemed endearing, the intent well-meant.... but the outcome didn't cut the mustard.
This was a nice ECM period, and this is a great Frisell album… Back then Garbarek seemed to be forging a kind of post-Ayler thing, but he clearly didn’t have the substance to sustain it or progress. Or just got complacent.
I discovered the flaw in my plan which is that ECM on Youtube is Premium Members only. So then I thought I would create a video of my absolute favorite tune and list it as Private. On Youtube it says 'blocked'. However the link is in fact displaying on my screen through Dissensus - I don't know if any one else can see-hear it?
It's "Kite Dance" off Jan Garbarek's Paths, Prints. Which I love as much for what Bill Frisell is doing as Garbarek.
Whole album is wonderful.
However I should say this is the first ECM record I ever heard, so perhaps there's a particular initiatory bond there.
Snap. Yes, Re: ECM a longtime favourite. I've never wanted to hear the originals though.cf Nils whatshisname and the remix albums
a far better convergence of electronic music and ECM, albeit in this case coming from the opposite direction is Re: ECM - Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer approach the label's work with tender reverence
I once tried to listen to all the original tracks Ricardo + Max were reworking - no idea where I left that playlist but this is the track that "Reblop" is based on: "Blop" from Christian Wallumrød Ensemble's Fabula Suite Lugano