Matthias Winkler came to Dublin in 2013 to complete his studies in Jazz performances at Newpark Music Centre. He graduated in 2016 along with pianist Graeme Bourke and Bass player Eoin O’Halloran. They formed Ätsch along with drummer Hugh Denman. The name comes from a German children’s word for “fooled you” an edit has some significance in describing the style of music they play because although they may seem to play music that sounds like normal jazz they secretly fooled their examiners and played their own style. (It could be a great urban legend in the future)
The band are on the verge of releasing an EP in September. Five tracks written by Matthias. They have released the first two tracks in order to let jazz fans know what they are all about. Up and Dabu are available to listen to below. There is a patience to UP a soft rich lead-in developing a rhythmical base on the drums. There is some strong bass playing that will remind you of Stanley Clark on Schooldays. A muted guitar solo cleverly positioned in the background allows the driving rhythm to continue, before fading out to a soft finish. Overall a nice way to spend five minutes.
Dabu starts with Winkler’s guitar setting the tone. It’s not necessarily new music or new ideas but there is a freshness to it, a lightness that is uplifting. As the track progresses forward, again patiently, there is a build towards a rock feel. The word Prog-Jazz (maybe two words?) has re-emerged over the last couple years and I for one welcome it. This track is well constructed with a rock feel but keeping close to a melodic base not unlike a Metheny track.
Overall Ätsch have something to say and I keenly await the full release of the 5 track EP next month. If I gave out star ratings I would give this short but interesting work 4 out of 5. Matthias and Ätsch play a regular gig in the Front Door bar and restaurant on Dame Street every Sunday from 5pm – 8pm. DO Check them out.
Review by Dominic Reilly