ah, ecm, that venerable warhorse...
some quick comments to this thread first. if there ever was a label that set a standard for excellence, both musically and artistically, it was manfred eicher's baby. ecm's crossed so many genres, trends, styles and boundaries one is hard-pressed to even come up with anything like a definitive list (oh, and appropo the current vinyl thread, ecm minted its sides on some of the best quality wax around, with what i believe was a beyond industry standard of 120g). all the above noted, i do admit to a certain disappointment with the label over the last few years. their cover art has become ever more minimal, less texturally interesting, and predominantly black & white (what gives?). musically, it's more or less intact, but, again, i'd argue that standards have slipped, and new classics hard to come by. still, the label has few peers.
now, if only they would reissue on cd a *ton* of superb recordings from their distant past (immediately to mind: first terje rypdal, wolfgang dauner 'output', steve kuhn 'trance', bill connors 'of mist and melting', etc. etc.). quasi-recent welcome cd reissues: bennie maupin's 'jewel and the lotus', and barre phillips 'mountainscapes' (both of which are expensive imports only but worth the bux).
so, the list:
- david torn 'cloud about mercury' (*this* is fusion)
- jon hassell 'power spot' (actually, one of my favorite recordings *ever* and still one of the most unique, innovative, original records made - it still sounds like nothing else on earth)
- mark isham / art lande 'we begin'
- pat metheny 'offramp'
- pat metheny / lyle mays 'as falls wichita so falls wichita falls' (for those not in the know - and particularly noteworthy to other forum folk - the title track is mostly electronics, almost td-ish during its long, very strange middle section, and the most successful experimental work metheny's ever done)
- john surman 'withholding pattern' (synths & saxes)
- john surman 'private city'
- steve tibbetts 'northern song'
- steve tibbetts 'the fall of us all' (tibbetts entire ecm catalog is pretty necessary)
- john abercrombie 'getting there'
- john abercrombie 'timeless' (ditto the above)
- gateway 'gateway'
- terje rypdal 'the singles collection'
- terje rydal / david darling 'eos'
- rypdal / vitous / dejohnette 'rypdal / vitous / dejohnette'
- stephen micus 'twilight fields'
- rainer bruninghaus 'continuum'
- art ensemble of chicago 'urban bushmen'
- nils petter molvaer 'khmer'