Mancunian Dylan Nathan is one of a generation of artists to begin producing electronic music inspired by U.K. artists such as Orbital and Aphex Twin, but without having much interest in or contact with the British acid house explosion from which those artists originally issued. Recording under the name Jega for several prominent labels, Nathan's well-composed hybrids of new wave, electro, ambient, and drum'n'bass are widely lauded in the international experimental electronic underground; his releases for noted Manchester-based, Autechre-affiliated label Skam are among the label's best.
Nathan got his start after close friend Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq, who also owns the Planet Mu label) urged him to get a few pieces of gear and begin making tracks. The results of that initial push were released by Skam in 1996 as the Phlax EP, which was followed in mid-1997 by an additional 12", Card Hore, which found him beginning to incorporate drum'n'bass rhythms and frantically cut-up samples into his sound. Nathan also released tracks through the Skam/Musik Aus Strom 12" EP series MASK, and provided a remix for MAS co-owner Michael Fakesch's Demon 2 EP. Following 1997's Mealtime compilation (which also included a Jega track), Nathan's Type Xer0 EP and full-length debut Spectrum were the first proper releases on Paradinas' Planet Mu in 1998; Paradinas has even stated that Nathan was one of the primary inspirations for starting the label. A playful, eclectic album, Spectrum was well received by electronic music enthusiasts, and was given an American issue by Matador, leading to extensive touring of the country. Nathan also performed concerts in Iceland with Björk, and toured Japan with Luke Vibert and Paradinas. He ended the '90s by sharing split singles with Capitol K, Kid Spatula (another alias of Paradinas), and 808 State.
In 2000, Nathan returned with Geometry, a darker album that avoided samples in favor of challenging architectural sound design (he also took up 3-D animation and design around this time). Thom Yorke named the album an influence on Radiohead's Kid A, and the album track "Inertia" was rumored to have influenced the soundtrack to the 2002 film Solaris. Nathan relocated to Brooklyn in 2002, performing concerts with local electronic musicians like Datach'i and Team Shadetek, as well as continuing to focus on design work. An early draft of Jega's third album, Variance, was leaked to online file-sharing services in 2003, causing him to delay and rework the album. He then moved to Los Angeles in 2005, established an animation and visual design company, and directed animated films. He released a few compilation tracks and performed infrequent concerts with artists such as Plaid, Boxcutter, and Mochipet.
In 2009, Variance was finally released on Planet Mu, expanded to a double album with lighter and darker volumes, and touching on all aspects of his sound. He contributed graphic design work to the major motion picture Tron: Legacy in 2010, and created a short film called EXTROPY - Speedhack in 2015. He contributed "103," an unreleased archival track from 1997, to the limited three-CD version of Planet Mu's 20th anniversary compilation µ20 in 2015. The following year, Skam released 1995, a collection of some of Jega's earliest cassette recordings. ~ Sean Cooper