The heartbeat of ECM Records will be heard in Seoul for months as Storage by Hyundai Card, a modern museum located in Seoul’s Yongsan District, is kicking off an exhibition titled “RE:ECM” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ECM Records’ foundation, which will run from October 18 until February 29, 2020. On Thursday, a day before the opening of the event, the Dong-A Ilbo had an interview with Chung Seon, a 37-year-old Korean music producer of ECM, who co-directed the exhibition. He came to Seoul, representing ECM in the absence of founder Manfred Eicher, who could not visit South Korea for personal reason.
“ECM Records has held official exhibitions in various cities over the past years such as Munich, Shanghai, and Seoul (2013), but nothing quite like this one,” explained Chung. “Many artists across the globe have channeled their inspiration from ECM into creating new works. Such a process resembles ECM’s attitude of producing music albums.”
Chung Seon, who is the second son of famed conductor Chung Myung-whun, started working for ECM Records in 2012. Having majored in jazz guitar and composing, he ran into the founder of ECM when he was visiting the recording studio of Billy Hart, an American jazz drummer. Currently, Chung is the only music producer at the ECM headquarters in Munich, barring Manfred Eicher.
Last year, Chung produced the album “Lebroba” for American drummer Andrew Cyrille, which has been extolled by the New York Times and Billboard among many other media outlets. The new album by British piano artist Kit Downes, which will be released on October 25, has also been produced by Chung. “From the early stage, I tried to see it in a big picture so that the entire album can sound like one prolonged song.”
“What is special about this exhibition is that it has adopted the perspective of someone who loves ECM, not ECM itself,” the South Korean music producer laughed as he explained. “It is from this perspective that I want the audience to enjoy our exhibition.”