ELEPHANT9

Fusion • Norway
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Norwegian progressive/neo-psychedelic/jazz-rock trio Elephant9 formed in Oslo around the talents of keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent), bass player Nikolai Eilertsen (National Bank), and drummer Torstein Lofthus (Shining). The instrumental group's heady blend of mid-'70s Miles Davis, Deep Purple, and Medeski, Martin & Wood has drawn considerable praise from both the jazz and rock communities worldwide. Elephant9's debut album, Dodovoodoo, was released on the Rune Grammofon label in June 2008, followed by Walk the Nile in 2010.

from http://www.allmusic.com
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ELEPHANT9 Discography

ELEPHANT9 albums / top albums

ELEPHANT9 Dodovoodoo album cover 3.19 | 4 ratings
Dodovoodoo
Fusion 2008
ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile album cover 3.46 | 9 ratings
Walk the Nile
Fusion 2010
ELEPHANT9 Atlantis (with Reine Fiske) album cover 3.92 | 3 ratings
Atlantis (with Reine Fiske)
Fusion 2012
ELEPHANT9 Elephant9 with Reine Fiske: Silver Mountain album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Elephant9 with Reine Fiske: Silver Mountain
Fusion 2015
ELEPHANT9 Greatest Show On Earth album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Show On Earth
Fusion 2018
ELEPHANT9 Arrival Of The New Elders album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Arrival Of The New Elders
Fusion 2021

ELEPHANT9 EPs & splits

ELEPHANT9 live albums

ELEPHANT9 Live at the BBC album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Live at the BBC
Fusion 2012
ELEPHANT9 Psychedelic Backfire I album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Psychedelic Backfire I
Fusion 2019
ELEPHANT9 Elephant9 with Reine Fiske : Psychedelic Backfire II album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Elephant9 with Reine Fiske : Psychedelic Backfire II
Fusion 2019

ELEPHANT9 demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ELEPHANT9 re-issues & compilations

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ELEPHANT9 movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

ELEPHANT9 Reviews

ELEPHANT9 Atlantis (with Reine Fiske)

Album · 2012 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Third album (if you don’t count a vinyl-only live album) from this Norwegian keyboard-lead trio, but this time with the addition of a famous Swedish guitarist called Reine Fiske (Landberk, Paatos & Dungen) for over half the seven tracks. Basically, you’re dealing with the usual Elephant9 album (even down to the boring-as-usual Rune-Grammofon label artwork) but with the notable input from one of Scandinavia’s most exciting and “out-there” (as in psych) guitarist, which adds a considerable element that can answer Storlokken’s wide array of keyboards that include a Rhodes, a Hammond, a Minimoog and piano. Oh yeah, bassist Ellertsen plays also some acoustic 12-strings as well.

Even the opening Black Hole sounds like the chaotic quagmire announced in its title, but the power and interplay between the three compadres is simply irresistible: you’ll have the sound up to 11 in no time. A Foot In Both is a much quieter and pensive affair, where Ellertsen’s 12-strings guitar takes the lead role above the moog and organ layers. The title track opens on smooth keyboard layers, but gradually Fiske’s guitar draws the controlled chaos with its feedback

The long anxiogenic thunder rolls of Psychedellic Backfire suggest that we’re in the last throes of the lost mythological Atlantis civilization, where the tsunami waves attack regularly the cliffs of what were once a continent and now only a chaplet of reef. Once the waves have done their destruction, the booming bass and sinister Hammond drones are describing explosion of pockets of molten magma flowing from your speakers and coming in contact with whatever’s left of Atlantis’ trade goods storage buildings.

Elsewhere, the dominating element in the short A Place In Neither is the demented Ellertsen bass riff. Hendrixian feedback guitar is dominating the first part of the 13-mins+ Freedom’s Children, which sports its name quite well. The middle sections speeds up and goes bonkers gradually and starts saturating until its chaotic and explosive end.

Well, despite the addition of Fike, Atlantis is certainly well in the artistic line of E9’s discography, while adding a little “je-ne-sais-quoi” (guitars of course) as icing on the cake; and I take the bet that it’s probably going to be the apex of the band, unless they add more musicians

ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile

Album · 2010 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Second album from this Norwegian instrumental Hammond-driven power trio, much in the same line of their debut, not least in the similar artwork department, despite being much less in the JR/F mode than before. Still depending on Storlokken’s keyboard madness on two of prog’s most legendary instruments, the Hammond organ and the Fender Rhodes electric piano (much-under used here), the group’s music explodes with power from your speakers and grabs you by the gut as you’re literally hypnotized by the generous growls of the organ, pushed by the powerful and driving (but not always refined) drumming from Lofthus and the rollicking and frolicking bass from Eilertsen.

Much like their previous album, the spectrum is relatively varied, ranging from an ELP-like workout Fugi Fonix, Hardcore Oriental (well I wouldn’t call it far-east, either) and Aviation, to the much-slower intimate piece with the Hammond drones of the awesome almost-ambient and nightmarish title track, to a jammy-jazzy Habanera Rocket (don’t ask;o))) and the over-powering closer. As a 70’s vintage sounds freak, you’ll find Walk The Nile a rather irresistible as it will flatter you eardrums into submissions by sending tingue of sonic orgasms directly into your frontal lobes.

Unfortunately, despite a fairly-wide spectrum and always enthralling power, what lacks in this album (and in retrospect to their debut) is a different colour, or an instrument to add and answers Storlokken’s keyboards (something that also plagued his “mentor” Emerson), maybe a guitarist or a wind player. Indeed, once the opening pleasure of discovering the album, by the fifth spin, it sort of becomes a little saturating to listen to it in a full session, because it’s a bit too much of the same, because Storlokken doesn’t switch enough instruments. The other remark I have is that the drumming might have been a bit more subtle at times (not as loud as well) and better recorded, especially at the start of the closing John Tinnick track, the only non-Storlokken composition.

While this album figured in my top 10 releases of 2010 (which is quite a compliment), it’s not likely to make a lasting impression throughout the still-long decade to come, so I wouldn’t call the album essential. But this doesn’t make any less worthy of acquisition, if only for the sake of the odd musical orgasmic jolt you’ll enjoy. Happy premature intellectual ejaculation.

ELEPHANT9 Dodovoodoo

Album · 2008 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
First album from this Swedish project between two semi-experimental groups, Elephant 9 is a KB-dominated trio, but unlike many of these bands, this one thrills me beyond belief despite the reminiscence of Emerson when it comes to the organ playing. Coming in a weird colourful digipak that would resemble some of the crazier oeuvres from Vasarelli, the album is part of Rune Grammofon’s catalogue, but it is probably the label’s goofiest album title in their roster.

Demented drum beat and frantic Hammond organs, underlined by a manic but discreet bass is what the opening title track is all about. The following Cover The Mountain Top is a fantastic long ride with key-player Storlokken switching between a Fender Rhodes and his Hammond. Most of the tracks present some improvisation though in varying degrees, but the torrid closer Directions takes the cake and gives the album an abrupt and surprising end. Hymne is a welcome change of pace and is a slow Hammond-only track (probably the most Emersonian track of the album), before Misdirections takes the album back on its fusion path There is a definite “retro” feel to this album, not only induced by the vintage keyboards, but the “songwriting” as well: Doctor Honoris Causa is definitely taking its sweet time as would just about any Mwandishi track.

Certainly one of 2008’s better albums, although I only discovered it the following year, DDVD is one hell of torrid lava flow seeping from your speakers and pouring all over into your living room. Definitely worth the investigation and the investment

ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile

Album · 2010 · Fusion
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Nightfly
My first encounter with Elephant9 came after a track from Walk The Nile was included on the cd with an edition of Classic Rock Prog. The track in question was Hardcore Orientale and being impressed by the Hammond fuelled mix of prog and jazz I had to investigate further.

Walk The Nile is the second album from the Norwegian trio and they create a pretty compelling sound. A driving and powerful rhythm section lays the ground with some jazz patterns yet played with a rock mentality that provides a solid foundation for the vintage keyboards; Hammond organ playing a major role alongside some electric piano.

The six compositions vary between the more energetic shorter tracks and the more experimental nature of the two longer pieces, the title track and Habanera Rocket. Walk The Nile features a largely repetitive and heavy rhythm section which underpins a droning Hammond which also subtlely solos over the top, creating musical textures rather than dazzling keyboard gymnastics. It does overstay its welcome slightly, not particularly going anywhere but enjoyable enough nevertheless. Habanera Rocket is the better of the two which creates more musical tension and moves through a more varying musical landscape.

As good as Habanera Rocket is I find Elephant9 more enjoyable on the shorter compositions. With less time for self indulgence they largely get straight to the point with some exciting and memorable instrumental interplay. This is perfectly demonstrated with the stabbing Hammond of opener Fugl Fønix, which also has some fine electric piano soloing and the up tempo shuffle of closer John Tinnick. Best of the lot though is the dynamic Aviation which from a restrained start builds to an edge of seat musical frenzy.

Overall Walk The Nile is an impressive instrumental collection, so much so in fact that I've made it a high priority to get to know their 2008 debut DodoVoodoo as soon as possible.

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