Re: ECM album cover

Max Loderbauer , Ricardo Villalobos

ECM Records

There has been so much written and dreamt about the combination of digital and analog music, and so much has happened. Very few projects, though, have ever made it so hard to tell what sound belongs to which realm as Re: ECM. The idea isn’t very complex. Musicians Max Loderbauer and Ricardo Villalobos were given access to ECM’s catalog and allowed to use original stems to create something new. What they did was make a decision, spoken or otherwise, to draft parameters of a new world, and slot pieces of the ECM catalog into it. They drew mostly from European jazz and classical and avoided the better known ECM titles. The result is one of the most durable and irreducible albums of its decade. There are several harp samples that dominate here, as well as some tones that seem like a harpsichord fighting a filter sweep that comes upon the sound like a pipeline wave. If you imagine Versailles smashed to bits and washing ashore, room by room, you’re close.

Sasha Frere-Jones

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