Band of the Week: Elephant9

On their new album ‘Atlantis’, Elephant9 continues to push the envelope with assistance from Dungen guitar icon Reine Fiske.

With their latest album, ‘Atlantis’, Elephant9 ups the ante and breathes new life into modern psych-fusion.

The name is Elephant9 should perhaps to be pronounced elephantine, for there is weight to this music. Yet it is quick footed and agile, -the weight so much alive and kicking as only musicians of this format could make it. The musicians in question are Ståle Storløkken on keyboards, Nicolai Eilertsen on bass and Torstein Lofthus on drums. All three are celebrated instrumentalists associated with some of the most remarkable ensembles in Norwegian jazz and rock. Suffice it to mention Supersilent (Storløkken), The National Bank (Eilertsen) and Shining (Lofthus). Boosting the stellar line-up on their latest outing, ‘Atlantis’, is Swedish cult-guitarist Reine Fiske of Dungen, The Amazing and Träd, Gräs Och Stenar fame.

‘Atlantis’ represents the outfit’s most varied album to date; a veritable powerhouse of modern psychedelic fusion with hints of early 70s Deep Purple as well as Miles Davisesque quotes.

‘Atlantis’ features Storløkken’s Hammond organ, electric piano and synthesizers leading the way in deliciously unfolding riff lines where Eilertsen extremely musical bass and Lofthus’ superhero drumming make the fat sounds explode like fireworks. It is deep prog and jazzy psychedelia in biting, fresh execution. -It is like the design of your iPhone has entered the retro music you’re listening to.

Fiske’s unmistakable guitar tone enters on the album’s title track, a track whose long tightly intertwined guitar/organ intro conjures up images of an imaginary early Terje Rypdal tune; one of Fiske’s musical mentors and close musical ally of Storløkken. The Swede’s contribution ends with the album’s 13-minute long closing track – tight and funky and packed with references to Band of Gypsys.

The sound itself is a chief character of the band, and the dynamic between thick, succulent 70s rock sonics and the crispy fresh mode of the tunes, lifts the music to new places. The innovative playing and complex references that these three musicians exhibit gives a great contemporary edge to the retro flavor their jazz rock. It is groovy and swaggering but at the same time catchy and transparent. Most of all it is extremely tight and energetic, with an instrumental dynamic that is simply awesome.

‘Atlantis’ was recorded at Stockholm´s legendary studio with the same name, mixed by Christian Engfelt in Oslo and mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering.

Early October sees the outfit playing a trio of gigs in Holland:

01.10.12 Axejazzpower Eindhoven Nederland
03.10.12 Paradox Tilburg Nederland
04.10.12 OT301 Amsterdam Nederland

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