- Rune Grammofon / RLP3174 / RCD2174
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Elephant9 work once more with Reine Fiske to create a fine LP of proggy jazz-rock. Silver Mountain really stretches out, taking four sides of vinyl to get through just five tracks: you can imagine how wild things might get in those timeframes. Includes a cosmic version of ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’. On Rune Grammofon.
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- Silver Mountain by Elephant9 with Reine Fiske
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There are officially too many elephant-associated music things. There’s Elephant Six, from whom I was anticipating this record, and there’s Elephant9, who it actually turns out to be. The difference cast isn’t really that significant -- like, both are very annoying -- but to expect weird psych folk that begun a whole indie rock thing and instead receive half-skronk prog rock fighting itself? It’s something of a nuisance.
Here they are, though, the ninth elephant, as accompanied by their now old hat of a pal Reine Fiske. Having joined their ranks for ‘Atlantis’, he remains for ‘Silver Mountain’, an ambitious record that divides itself between furious percussive bluster -- tempered with the clarity and melodic persistence of a Mahavishnu Orchestra cut -- and ambient segueing. The first track alone is a journey through a cluttered, full band frenzy into a hazy meditation, and finally out the back door of a tightly rhythmic psych piece whose drums suddenly feel as tight as a badly modified bus seatbelt.
On this record, Elephant9 actually sound freer and more determined to do whatever the fuck they want than usual, which says a lot: they give Stevie Wonder’s standard “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” a cosmic do-over, stretching it out into an ambient dusk before laying into warbling synths and cascading guitar plucks. What are they doing? Nobody that I know of has ever asked for a prog summation of Stevie Wonder’s career, but trust Elephant9 to make it do it anyway.
I like it best when Elephant9 dabble in pure sunshine, as they do on “Kungsten”, which subsides its ominous guitar-grazing for a shaken a drumbeat and rustic strums that sound gloriously out of step. This one stays jamming without really moving from its original idea too much, though eventually the whole thing breaks down into a second, more plaintive segment, as if by a contented Kayo Dot. You know the deal: they're all very good at their instruments, and they're all pals. It's a fine combo.
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