Minco Eggersman / Theodoor Borger / Mathias Eick ‘Unifony’ CD (Butler) 4/5

My first encounter with Dutch musician, producer and composer Minco Eggersman’s music came in the form of his excellent 2017 album release “Kavkasia”. Eggersman and fellow Dutch musician Theodoor Borger started collaborating under the name Unifony some years ago. For this album, together with guest Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick, they create carefully crafted layers of sound resulting in soundscapes that paint meditative pictures of colour and texture, where each track blends seamlessly into the next.

The album was mixed by British studio engineer Phill Brown, who has worked with a wide range of artists including Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Brian Eno. It is, however, the fact that Brown played an important role on the two seminal Talk Talk albums; “Spirit of Eden” and “Laughing Stock”, the sound of these recordings greatly influencing both Eggersman and Borger. Coincidentally, those two Talk Talk albums are high on my own list of top albums of all time, so it has been interesting to listen to Unifony with this in mind.

Listening to Unifony does actually capture the spirit of those Talk Talk sessions, albeit in a less melancholic and ground-breaking way. Bringing in Mathias Eick on trumpet is a masterstroke. His ethereal sound is the perfect addition to the Eno-like ambient music presented here. At times his playing could almost be the voice of Mark Hollis, whilst at other times he brings spiritual energy to the proceedings, giving the music a lift just when it’s needed.

A couple of other references I’d add in as an idea of the overall feel of this recording are releases fresh in my mind from last year. Unifony shares a gentle beauty with the music of Snowpoet, their “Thought You Knew” album having that similar contemplative and thoughtful appeal to it. Saxophonist Andy Sheppard’s recent ECM releases also share the same mood of subtlety and deceptively gorgeous crafting of sound.

Imagine sitting under a tree, totally at peace with yourself, looking up at the beautiful clouds passing by. The world around you is finally silenced and all your eyes can see is the stunning natural landscape that surrounds you. As you breathe the air it feels fresh and clean. As your hand reaches down and touches the earth beneath you, it has new meaning. As you open your mind you feel overwhelmed at just being alive. This is how music like this can make you feel when you’re in a receptive place.

Mike Gates

Read also: Minco Eggersman ‘Kavkasia’ (Volkoren) 5/5