Monday, April 20, 2009

The End of Summer

When I think of ECM records I tend to imagine covers showing snowy landscapes, like this one. This is probably because I tend to associate ECM with north European composers and performers, Jan Garbarek for instance, whose music often gets described as 'glacial' and 'icy'. In fact the covers and music are very varied. Landscape imagery is usually used when the title seems to demand it, like this shadow falling over the sea for Julia Hulsmann's recent album, The End of Summer.
A couple more examples from ECM's New Series: Erkki-Sven Tüür's Exodus shows a sunlit road and, in a similar vein, it is no surprise to see a work by his fellow Estonian Arvo Pärt's entitled 'Misterioso' illustrated with sun breaking through clouds.

Reading a discussion thread on ECM cover art I see that someone is complaining about the fashion for blurred photographs on recent releases. Jon Hassell's return to the ECM label, Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street (the title is taken from a Rumi poem) exemplifies this. More Gerhard Richter than Caspar David Friedrich, it has a bit more edginess than one might expect from an 'ECM landscape'.

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