Andrew Curry writes:

Anyone with a passing interest in modern jazz knows the ECM label, now 40 years old, with its distinctive roster and innovative design. To mark the anniversary it has released 40 of the best from its back catalogue as ‘Touchstones’ – with performers ranging from Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett to John Surman, Anouhar Brahem and Jan Garbarek. The price is low (“at download prices”) and the packaging reduced.

It’s a move which pushes some obvious buttons. The €9.90 price is a response both to the digital download market and also to the recession, the card covers more environmentally friendly than the typical jewel case. But it also touches on some less obvious trends. The packaging design reduces the amount of space the CDs take up, in an age of decluttering, while also evoking the glossy look and feel, if smaller, of the original LP sleeves, creating a kind of nostalgia for the future. It can only be a matter of time before ECM’s new releases follow suit.

The picture is of pianist Chick Corea and vibes player Gary Burton, both on the Touchstones series.

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