Enemy

Enemy

KIT DOWNES    piano

PETTER ELDH   bass

JAMES MADDREN   drums

ENEMY2_by_Juliane_Schütz

Paul Acket Award 2024 for Kit Downes
German Jazz Award 2024 for Petter Eldh

Enemy is a delight in its intersection of artistry and technicality, but it’s even more brilliant in its authenticity.

Downbeat Magazine

On Tour – available dates

October 31 – November 7 2024 | January 28 – February 1 2025 | March 19 – 23 2025 | April 23 – 26 2025 

ENEMY is the Technicolour piano trio from Berlin and London, featuring pianist Kit Downes, bassist Petter Eldh and drummer James Maddren. Their two albums to date have been described by the UK Guardian as “utterly intense” and “beautifully intricate” and feature three brilliant and creative musical minds, all equally committed to the exploration of constant change.

With their third album The Betrayal, which was released on 22 September 2023, ENEMY made their debut on We Jazz Records. Following their self-titled debut (Edition 2018) and its successor Vermillion (ECM 2022), the explosive and lyrical trio are exploring new avenues with their new 12-track album. Consisting entirely of original material penned by Downes and Eldh, The Betrayal is an album of “deliberate contradictions and flaying”, a studio recording that was recorded, edited, produced and mixed in a single day – by the band themselves. In their own words, the band “don’t really rehearse, play live a lot, take risks, always write new music, always play as fresh as possible” and continue to develop in the process. Attentive listeners will quickly realise how different the new album is from Vermillion. Where there used to be echo and reverb, there is now rhythmic intensity and a more compact sound. The band sounds tighter, their movements seem more focussed. If ENEMY had a motto, it would be “no risk, no fun”. True to this motto, The Betrayal has its sudden twists and turns, but the trio never loses sight of what makes the music theirs. It wouldn’t be fair to call them “experimental”, at least using such a vague word, but they experiment and have fun doing it.

If you listen to the three albums in one go, you will certainly hear many musical directions that are suggested, tried out, perfected, discarded and recorded again. Sometimes you can even hear this within a single track.

Although they are always on the move, they have a real “swing” to their sound, and there is always a bigger idea to the music than just playing it, whatever that idea may be at any given time. Their music is natural, and why wouldn’t it be, because it’s based on many years of collaboration and friendship.

Although they are always on the move, they have a real “swing” to their sound, and there is always a bigger idea to the music than just playing it, whatever that idea may be at any given time. Their music is natural, and why wouldn’t it be, because it’s based on many years of collaboration and friendship”

Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winning and Mercury Music Award nominated solo artist for ECM Records. He has performed worldwide with his own bands (“ENEMY”, “Troyka” and “Elt”) and with artists such as Squarepusher, Bill Frisell, “Empirical”, Andrew Cyrille, Sofia Jernberg, Benny Greb, Mica Levi and Sam Amidon – playing piano, church organ and harmonium. He holds a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied and now teaches. He has twice been awarded first place in the Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star in the organ and keyboard categories, and his ECM records Obsidian, Dreamlife of Debris and Vermillion have been critically acclaimed.

The Berlin-based Swedish bassist, composer and producer Petter Eldh was obsessed with jazz, classical music, soul, reggae, Swedish folk music, oriental music and hip-hop from an early age and has been collecting vinyl since the age of seven. He initially played guitar before switching to his main instrument, the double bass. Early influences such as Charles Mingus, Anders Jormin, Charlie Haden, Charlie Parker, A Tribe Called Quest, Monica Zetterlund, Samla Mammas Manna, Aretha Franklin and Earth Wind and Fire have shaped his diverse output as a musician. His current projects include Koma Saxo / Post Koma and Projekt Drums.

James Maddren is a London-based percussionist and composer from Horsham, Sussex. He studied jazz percussion at the Royal Academy of Music with Martin France and graduated with honours in 2009. James was also honoured with The Principal’s Award for Outstanding Studentship. He is currently one of the most sought after young percussionists in Europe. He enjoys listening to and playing music of all kinds and has shared the stage with many artists and ensembles including Gwilym Simcock, Kit Downes, Jacob Collier, Marc Copland, Will Vinson and Norma Winstone amongst others.

…this was a breathless, hight-wire performance of constant invention.

ALLABOUTJAZZ

A strikingly vital, fiery and intense group that will undoubtedly appeal to jazz lovers

WRITTEN IN JAZZ

You could get lost in Downes’ fleeting musings, Maddren’s freewheeling, polyrhythmic guile or Eldh’s athletic Q&A, but it was only when your ears were tuned into the collective Sturm und Drang that the real thrill was revealed.

ALLABOUTJAZZ

They act like atoms searching for each other in infinite space to form molecules. A primordial musical state in whose development the listener can actively participate.

JAZZTHING

Vermillion’ is fuelled by the attentively subtle commonality of the characters, chamber-jazzy and energetic without having to show off. An enraptured and at the same time present music.

RALF DOMBROWSKI

At the end of the first evening, Kit Downes’ trio “Enemy” summarised the extent of captivating complexity that jazz can offer today. What Downes on piano and Hammond organ, Frans Petter Eldh on bass and James Maddren on drums were up to defies description. As if they were in possession of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Aleph”, each of the three seems to be at every possible point in the harmonic, melodic and, above all, rhythmic universe at the same time. The paradox is that in this web of permanent disorientation, everything seems to be in its right place. You understand nothing and yet everything makes sense. Dazzling.

JAZZZEITUNG

a formidable trio – three musicians at the top of their game

JAZZWISE MAGAZINE