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|■ About the Publication|
Magazine B is an ad-free monthly publication that dedicates each issue to one well-balanced brand unearthed from around the globe. The magazine introduces the brand’s hidden stories, as well as its sensibility and culture, and is an easy but also serious read for anyone with an interest in brands.
■ About the Publisher
JOH & Company is a creative company founded in April 2011 by Suyong Joh, former Director of Creative Marketing & Design at NHN. He oversaw and directed the construction of NHN Green Factory, which is the headquarters of NHN, the company that has earned domestic and international reputation as “Google of Korea.” He also created a sensation in the publishing world when he compiled the construction process in a publication, Green Factory. Currently, he leads JOH & Company, a group of creative directors that he has brought together from various fields, and he is conducting complex projects encompassing architectural design, brand consultation, interior, food & beverage service, and product design, based on his own experience. The first fruit of such endeavor is magazine B.
■ About the Issue
Welcome to the 30th issue of B.
During a recent conversation with some people in the music industry, I had a chance to think about the attractions of the music business, which also seemed to have similarities with the other businesses that I’ve been interested in. The most notable part was that the record industry requires the coexistence of creative artistry and the ability to realize commercial gains. If a musician’s brand is seen as being overly commercial, however, it makes it hard for fans to truly love the brand, so the commercial aspect of their work needs to be balanced by a genuine passion for music.
This month’s B introduces ECM, a music label founded by producer Manfred Eicher, who has demonstrated a remarkably consistent perspective in the label’s releases. His focus on musical perfection is reflected in the quality and style of ECM’s albums and colors the label’s attitude toward the music of its musicians, resulting in a strong image for the label’s brand. ECM’s album covers are emblematic of this image. Even the most virtuosic, improvisational album will be fronted with a cover that evokes the brand’s motto of “the most beautiful sound next to silence,” the still, solitary silence of the image paradoxically guiding listeners to focus even more on the music. While the experience of actually opening an album jacket and feeling the record has been growing rarer with the advent of digital music, ECM has only made the experience of buying a physical album all the more precious.
■ Table of Contents
Music fills the air in a concert hall. This is where Manfred Eicher always finds a lead for a sound.
20 Inner Space
ECM’s music is not confined to any one genre. But knowledge of the general classification of music and the ways to appreciate each genre can assist with understanding ECM. Also, B looks at 10 of ECM’s most significant albums to discover the label’s stature and musical values.
Classification / Monumental Albums
ECM’s fans are drawn to the label’s music for various reasons. B asked a few fans to make compilation albums expressing what they most like about the label.
The lifestyles of ECM’s fans and listeners subtly resemble the label’s music. B visits the spaces they live and work in to find the place ECM music occupies in their daily lives.
Record shops selling ECM albums serve as the windows through which listeners encounter the label’s music. To them, the presence of ECM albums is one of the factors that define the character of their store.
ECM’s distinctive music also influences the work of artists working in different artistic worlds.
73 B’s Cut
ECM album covers present an image of the music and serve as the label’s second language after music. The cover art is a look at the landscape of the music.
88 Brand Story
Established at a time when jazz labels were declining, jazz-based crossover label ECM has continued to grow. It now enjoys an unparalleled reputation based on the realization of its motto: “The most beautiful sound next to silence.”
Artists / Sound / Quotes / Talk / Essay
Some people are tireless in their pursuit of sound. B takes a closing look at those who have dedicated themselves to creating great music.
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