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"Over four decades, and three continents, independent producer & Emanem label owner Martin Davidson has built up the greatest catalogue of improvisational and aleatoric music recordings [a few albums use partly composed material] rivalled by no other label [OK, perhaps FMP]. Martin continues to introduce new artists and recordings, choosing each release with care, and also overseeing, as he has always done, the technical aspects of the recordings with an ear to rival the best producers! The roster of KEY recordings by the Who's Who of greats in this music from 1970s 'til now is overwhelming!"
DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY - 2010
"I'm not in the habit of writing fan letters, but I wanted to thank you for keeping the great Emanem catalogue going. A lot has been written about Blue Note and Impulse, but Emanem has equal claim to historical importance. I hope the history of the label and its artists will be written."
ANTHONY MEDICI - private email 2010
"With the first batch of 2009 releases Emanem has abandoned jewel case packaging and opted for the far more appealing all-card version, a very welcome change indeed."
JOHN EYLES - ALL ABOUT JAZZ 2009
"Martin Davidson's Emanem remains an extremely vital label, even after several decades documenting primarily London-based improvising."
JASON BIVINS - SIGNAL TO NOISE 2008
"One of the most exciting events in improvised music over the last few years has been producer Martin Davidsonís revival of his important Emanem label - a model outlet for creative music from Europe and America since the Ď70s."
JOHN CORBETT - DOWNBEAT - 1999
"A label that can do no wrong."
ANDY HAMILTON - THE WIRE 2001
"Martin Davidson's Emanem label continues to produce the finest in new music and free improvisation."
MARK CORROTO - ALL ABOUT JAZZ 2002
"A cornucopia of Emanem discs are now raining like manna from heaven on the parched contemporary landscape, giving succour to all who thirst for the blissful communion of free improvisation."
ANDY HAMILTON - JAZZ REVIEW 2002
"Every package from Emanem puts a grand smile on my face."
GRAHAM L ROGERS - private email 2002
"It's no surprise to anyone interested in this music that London continues to be the site of some of the most interesting improvisation around, and also the locale for fruitful alliances and partnerships between a large cast of players. With Emanem documenting so much of this scene, we listeners are fortunate enough to have access to some of these occasional pairings and new groupings."
JASON BIVINS - ONE FINAL NOTE 2002
"There are few more enjoyable recording programmes than Emanem's chronicle of the early years of European improvised music."
DAVID LEE - CODA 2002
"A label whose catalogue is full of important historical documents."
MARC MEDWIN - DUSTED MAGAZINE 2005
"If you're interested in the music which it carries, you'll surely be aware that Martin Davidson's Emanem label - once a major resource for improv LPs in the 70s - has been making a hale and especially hearty comeback in the recent days of the CD era. Handling both reissues from his old listing, archive discoveries and entirely new music, Martin has rebuilt a catalogue which has few peers in its field. With its scrupulous standards of recording and packaging - austere typography, mollified by a mordant British Humour - Emanem seems both a comfortingly familiar and a difficult and demanding operation."
RICHARD COOK - JAZZ REVIEW 2002
"Martin Davidson's dedicated sponsorship of creative music deserves every credit and every support. Emanem's catalogue remains as abrasively exciting as ever, and far more cutting edge than its near namesake's controversial chainsaw wielding stage act."
BRIAN MORTON - JAZZ REVIEW - 2001
"For anyone who has completely ignored European improvised music for the past thirty-plus years, Emanem is the label of record of the London scene. Its catalogue spans the gloried days of the Little Theatre Club, where the circle of musicians around the late drummer John Stevens staked out their aesthetic turf in the mid to late 1960s, to the present. The labelís annual samplers from the Freedom of the City festival are recommended as barometers of the current London scene."
BILL SHOEMAKER - POINT OF DEPARTURE 2005
"In the past couple of years the Emanem label has gone from strength to strength, reissuing a well-balanced mixture of gems from its own back catalogue and a series of lost classics originally put out by other labels (opening the English improv vaults to a whole new audience of ears in the process), whilst faithfully documenting the more worthwhile of the music's present-day proponents."
NICK CAIN - OPPROBRIUM 2001
"Let us all now breathe a brief prayer of thanks for Martin Davidson's Emanem discs. The catalogue not only stays abreast of current British free improvisation, but rescues from oblivion past classics of the field."
PAUL DUTTON - CODA 1999
"Emanem's catalogue is impressive not only for the quality of individual releases, nor for the preponderance of high-quality material among them. What impresses most is the way in which, in microcosm as it were, it represents an entire history of British free improvisation. The label has brought out many historical recordings, but continues to release material by carefully-selected, proven young players as well. The music across the decades is distinctly different, but there's a continuity which is pleasing to those of us who hope that one day this music will achieve the status it deserves."
RICHARD COCHRANE- MUSINGS - 2002
"When books do eventually get written on the history of European free improvisation (or 'free music', an older, out-of-use term I prefer for its brevity), they'll owe considerable thanks to the London-based Emanem label and its tenacious, through-thick'n'thin proprietor and founder, Martin Davidson. Like Derek Bailey's Incus label, Emanem was founded in the early '70s after a brief period during which some major British labels (CBS, RCA, Island) flirted with the music, issuing a few LPs, then dropping it, after deeming it unmarketable.
While Incus was founded by musicians - Bailey, Evan Parker and Tony Oxley - Martin and his [then] wife, Mandy (hence, 'Emanem'), were enthusiastic fans of the music who'd attended gigs in the early days and became friendly with many of the players. Since that time, Martin's issued over 50 LPs and CDs, recognisable by their clean covers. Martin's liner notes are thorough, bio-musical-historical, and in recent years he's been issuing early, previously unreleased rarities from free music's first flowering in the early '70s."
TONY MOSTROM - EPULSE - 1998
"The vitality of the Emanem label, which began issuing LPs of improvised music in the 1970s and now has one of the most no-nonsense CD catalogues in the field, is reassuring. At a time when corporate take-overs and market-induced crises regularly place the future of heavyweight labels in doubt, the Emanems of this world - small, adaptable mammals among dinosaurs - are thankfully indestructible. The label's major focus, albeit de facto, remains unchanged, being mainly improvised music, mainly from British musicians, and entirely from well-established practitioners of the form. These releases exemplify all of this, but also demonstrate the externalised diversity of a music which already accommodates internalised diversity as a matter of principle."
ROGER THOMAS - GRAMOPHONE 1999
"It's always quietly elevating to listen to a new Emanem recording. In the 30 or so years during which recordings of freely improvised music have figured in the scheme of things, labels have come and gone, and many of those which have stayed have been obliged to poke about in other areas in a paradoxical attempt to move with what they believe to be the times. Emanem began issuing recordings of improvised music in the mid-1970s. A quarter of a century later, the label continues to do exactly that. Such a sense of purpose in these times of dilettantism is a rare joy. The label's lucid and unfussy style of presentation has continued throughout and, above all, the whole catalogue exudes a positively ferocious musical sensibility, which is probably the only kind really worth having. On top of everything else, Emanem has single-handedly founded the genre of historical recordings of improvised music, and have systematically rescued some wonderful music from oblivion."
ROGER THOMAS - JAZZREVIEW 2000
"The Emanem name on a CD spine really does seem to be a seal of quality. the feeling of a clear love of the music comes over in every aspect, comes across strongly when looking at the artwork, reading the information (always clear, always well presented, always passionate and knowledgeable) and, of course listening to the quality of the recordings. So I'd like to thank you for hours of pleasure and look forward to many more."
GARETH REID in a letter sent with an order 2002
"...the wry literalism that is Emanem's house style..."
NATE DORWARD - CODA 2002
"As ever, Martin Davidson has done a meticulous job."
RICHARD COOK and/or BRIAN MORTON - 'The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD' 1996
LOL COXHILL being played an Emanem CD by BEN WATSON:
LC: "I've got to go and see Martin Davidson, there must be ten new things he has put out which I want. Best record company in the world - for my taste. Certainly the best person to put out improvised music."
BW: "I like the way the records have a definite 'Emanem' look, yet the players completely define the music."
LC: "He asks you what you think and what you want on there. Even if there's something he really likes, if you don't want it, it doesn't go on. Best label I've been with - he sends the record for you to check before it comes out. You know actually what it's going to be like. Or alternately you can choose to trust him, and it'll be fine that way too."
THE WIRE 2001
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