Monday, 1 February 2016

Edward Vesala - Nan Madol (1974)

One of ECM's all-time masterpieces, and long out of print.  There's no easy entry point into Vesala's unique sound-world and colourful personality, so you might as well start at the pinnacle.

Taking its name, which means 'space between', from an ancient lost city in Micronesia, Nan Madol was originally released in 1974 on ECM's sister label Japo.  Manfred Eicher was clearly struck by this record enough to take the rare step of re-releasing it on ECM proper, and with starker, monochromatic artwork (I've gone with the original cover here just out of personal preference).

The pieces on this album comprise a few shorter, scaled down tracks alongside some of the greatest extended examples of Vesala's 'Finnish Mingus' compositional genius - Areous Vlor Ta in particular sounds beamed in from some medieval nordic pagan rite, and The Way Of... finds plenty of room to showcase his legendary drumming.  Any in-depth descriptions I could add would pale in comparison to Tyran Grillo's writeup at his ECM review site Between Sound And Space, so just head straight over there once you've downloaded this.  Be forewarned though, that if you love ECM as much as I do, you can easily end up staying there for hours at a time.

Nan Madol 

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