Anton Eger’s eponymous debut – Æ – certainly grows on the ears. Eger himself has become well-known as one of the most exciting drummers across Europe, appearing live and in the studio with Django Bates, Marius Neset and as part of Phronesis with Jasper Holby and Ivo Neame.
This debut album is one of the finest things to come out of Scandi jazz in recent months – and that’s a strong field. The drumming is complex and intricate, with electronica making the compositions cross genres, weaving in and out of contemporary and retro jazz styles, including just a hint of 70s electronica.
This is a strong line-up, too: Anton Eger (drums, voice, tambourine, shaker, plastic, phake pandeiro, stunt surdo) is joined by Juliette Marland (voice), Matt Calvert (guitar, korg trident, live drum processing/electronics, juno 6), Dan Nicholls (wurlitzer, prophet 12), Robin Mullarkey (electric bass, wurlitzer, prophet 12), Petter Eldh (rpolysix, bass synth1, synthesizers, polysix, electric bass, guitar, softsyntar, jazzgura, morphagene), Niels Broos (moog solo, polysix), Christian Lillinger (drums), Otis Sandsjö (saxes), Ivo Neame (mellotron) and Mathias Heise (harmonica).
The album starts the way it means to go on, with the complex HERb +++ gA, setting the tone of the whole album which seems to encompass every musical genre with dexterity and finesse, albeit with a touch of the raw appeal of proficient percussion.
Listen to HERb +++ gA here:
But Æ isn't just ten songs - it's more like 20, with each track consisting of two separate sections. All enhancing the sense of a merger that starts with the album's title: the dipthong Æ melds the A and E sounds just as this album melds 'traditional' jazz with its electronic brother. Perhaps it is only fitting that European jazz right now is really showing the benefits of collaboration.