Double LP £17.49 RLP3134
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CD £11.99 RCD2134
CD on Rune Grammofon.
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- Atlantis by Elephant9 with Reine Fiske
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Elephant9 are probably my favourite jazz-rock fusion band doing the rounds right now. They’re like a free-prog juggernaut, every release more tense and danceable than the last. The rhythm section of Nikolai Eilertsen and Torstein Lofthus hold down a pacey, chattering momentum, and keyboard mastermind Stale Storlokken (fresh from his recent epic collaborative LP with Motorpsycho where he played keys and arranged the orchestral parts) conjures vivid melodies, stabbing chords and screeching free noise out of his Rhodes, Hammond, Minimoog and apparently a grand piano!
They take things down into Eno-esque ambient droney territory to good effect on ‘Atlantis’, where buddy Reine Fiske makes his first of four appearances on guitar, but for the most part this is an album of lively jazz rock jams with wild free-expressive vibes underpinned by precise grooves and spacey keyboard sounds (which is where ‘Atlantis’ goes after a few minutes of drone intro). It’s uplifting but it’s also got this manic bubbling energy to it, like the good bits of Mars Volta sans the directionless bits or the screeching vocals. The surging grooves remind me of Motorpsycho when they go into jazz-jam mode too. They make the air vibrate with a palpable energy and tension that sometimes makes me feel a bit physically weird.
Another highlight comes right at the end where Fiske takes centre stage for a psych-riffing summer of love style freakout called ‘Freedom’s Children’ that makes you feel like you’re at Woodstock. Far-out tumbling rhythms, heroic distorted guitar, energetic bass and bright Hammond chords drive along a shamelessly upbeat cosmic psych-rock jam to leave you feeling positive and energised. Individually, every one of these musicians is exceptional. Combined, they make something vibrant and alchemistic and utterly unique.
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