Possibly the most unusual entry in ECM's deep and storied catalog. The ECM label (or Edition Of Contemporary Music) is best known for contemporary jazz works from prominent players like Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, and Chick Corea, or influential minimalist composers like Steve Reich. With this kind of pedigree, and a motto like "the Most Beautiful Sound Next to Silence," drum N' bass or downtempo breakbeats were probably the last thing I would have expected to hear coming from an ECM record - but then again, this was the late 90's and anything was possible. Enter Khmer, Nils Petter Molvaer's second album for ECM (his third overall). Here the Norwegian trumpeter broke traditional expectations and delivered an experimental full length that fused jazz and electronica, replete with samples, breakbeats, talkbox(!) and the aforementioned drum N' bass moments - something that was completely fresh for 1997, and unexpected especially for ECM. Even better, it's done really well (check the moody title track, the chunky downbeat funk of "Access / Song Of Sand I," or the laidback Mo'Wax vibes of "Platonic Years"). Given the recent resurgence of downtempo and chill-out (and everything 90's for that matter), the album has aged surprisingly well, making this first ever vinyl pressing all the more welcome. Fans of DJ Krush, Thievery Corp, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Toshinori Kondo, Tosca, etc. should definitely check. 8 tracks in all, recommended.
- 1st vinyl pressing, previously CD-only
- music label: ECM 2019
reviewed by Metreon Garage 06/2019