Reviews 2075

(Shockingly great Norwegian jazz-rock band who add a bit of modernity and noise to the old school sound of overdriven organ and Rhodes piano (plus some synthesizer), along with electric bass and drums. Definite hints and helpings of Miles circa 1971, early Weather Report (Live in Japan era) and even Tony Williams Lifetme. And on top of everything else, after slaying us with the originals, the last two songs are covers of "Doctor Honoris Causa" and "Directions". If this was released 35 years ago, this would be at the very top of the Kozmigroove pile! Highly recommended!
Waysidemusic (US)

Elephant9 are a Norwegian power trio whose music may look back a bit, but is firmly rooted in the 21st century. Comprised of keyboard player Ståle Storløkken (from vanguard electronic jazz mavens Supersilent), bassist Nikolai Eilertsen (National Bank), and drummer Torstein Lofthus (Shining), Elephant9 have come up with something that simultaneously references Brian Auger's early Oblivion Express, the 1973 Dark Magus/Agharta period of Miles Davis, the more free-form side of Weather Report's Live in Tokyo, and the Deep Purple of "Hush," all with three players and none of them a guitarist. More righteous still is that this trio record from Rune Grammofon, a label that in 2008 has come into its own, has a particular sound, and puts all manner of combinations together in creating a "supergroup" atmosphere. But Elephant9 are totally different. The set was recorded live in the studio, to analog tape. Storløkken stays away from synths for the most part and concentrates on organs (Hammond B-3, church, and Wurlitzer) and Rhodes piano. The grooves here are voluminous, yet they do not remotely sound like the Blue Note/Prestige soul-jazz organ trios of the mid-'60s. Instead, they come from the fringes, from the spaced-out side of electric jazz. They may touch on prog, but that's all; instead, the music is more darkly psychedelic, funky, ruinously loose jazz that pulses with an insistent overdriven energy that puts them in a league of their own. For those who choose to encounter it, Dodovoodoo will offer many surprises, all of them timeless and engaging. It is not only one of the best recordings of the year, it may be one of the best in the first decade of the 21st century. Keep an eye out for Elephant9 -- they're amazing.
Allmusic (US)

Norwegian trio unleash furious prog-jazz debut. Ståle Storløkken, Nikolai Eilertsen and Torstein Lofthus open their woozy cacophony of psychedelic jazz-rock with a feverish instrumental that sets the tone for the next 40 minutes of pulverising avant sounds. The breathless energy levels - Lofthus´ rapacious drumes rarely stop rolling - are only matched by Storløkken´s organ/synth mastery and it´s the latter´s nimble-fingered abandon that fills Skink, the title track and the relatively conventional funk grooves of Misdirection with the confidence and brio that make this record so exciting. Its reference points all lie in the late 60s/early 70s fusion explosion - they even cover two Joe Zawinul numbers - and the band´s decision to use analogue studio equipment only emphasises their desire to re-capture some of that era´s experimental, overdriven fury. Another very welcome release from Scandinavia´s most outré label. 4/5.
Mojo (UK)

As a member of Supersilent, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken exerts remarkable restraint, keeping his mostly electronic input meticulously pitched to the spontaneity of the music´s real time. But with his trio Elephant9, he truly lets loose. Joined by the explosive drummer Torstein Lofthus and electric bassist Nikolai Eilertsen on Dodovoodoo, he rips into organ-stoked fusion with breathless glee. The two closing tracks are Joe Zawinul tunes, and while Storløkken´s love for richy colored synth textures is a salute, the real template here sounds like Tony Williams Lifetime.
Downbeat (US)

Whoooooooo, prog on that! That is one filthy dirty overdriven Hammond, you can smell the overheating Lesley cabinets and the analogue warmth from here. Seriously self indulgent monster slabs of progressive jazz rock. What we have here is full on hard boiled gloriously good instrumental progressive Seventies jazz rock. Now when I say hard-boiled don’t go running with the idea of Flying Luttenbachers and violent discordant progressive jazz noise, no, this is more like throbbing pulsing atmospheric tuneful Emerson Lake And Palmer without the embarrassing cheese and those awfully naff vocals - this is all the cool bits of ELP delivered with uncompromising King Crimson meets Sonic Youth attitude. Drenched in the lead lines of that late 60’s early 70’s Hammond organ and electric piano and laced with the moves of a really versatile drummer and nailed down bass player, Elephant 9 are a really powerful trio. There’s a pure joy here in the playing (and listening) - some imaginative playing, the occasional journey in to dark psychedelic side rooms, never ever does it get anywhere near losing attention or direction though, even the mind expanding slices are focussed and forward moving. This is a full on old school prog rock treat, proper prog. We’ve come to expect a certain challenging standard from the excellent Rune Grammofon label now, they’ve done it again this time. Highly recommended delight of an album.
Organ (UK)

Fabulous, freaky-deaky Scandi-jazz debut. The teeming endlessly cross-collaborative Norwegian avant-jazz scene has thrown up yet another impressive outfit in the shape of Elephant9. Ståle Storløkken (also of Supersilent) takes the melodic reins on the trio´s debut LP, his work on Fender Rhodes, Hammond and synthesiser focused on the jazzy and freeform, but also sourcing 60s and 70s psych/cosmic rock, Reichian minimalism and ecclesiastical music. 4/5.
Uncut (US)

Here´s where Ståle Storløkken gets to play all the keyboard solos he usually represses when providing sombre shades for Supersilent - splurging forth like a great lanced boil of gross-out exuberance. Complemented by a young rhythm section plucked from the Norwegian rock scene, this power keyboard trio trashes out an unabashed late 60s / early 70s prog sound with sturdily dependable oldschool analogue keyboards and heavily jammed jazz-rock rhythms. Hammond organ rules the day, one moment preposterously epic and blustering like Keith Emerson at his most bombastic, the next funkily percussive like Focus´ Thijs Van Leer. But there´s a lot of jazz here too. The album comes full circle back to the birth of jazz-rock with a relentless, bone-crushing ride through Joe Zawinul´s "Directions" - a rolling vista of wah-wah bass, tightly controlled stabs of funk and Storløkken at his most joyously uninhibited. For 48 glorious minutes, it´s like punk never happened.
Jazzwise (UK)

The trio have applied unfussy Scandinavian good taste to an unholy mish-mash of Bitches Brew Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Cream (if Eric had ditched the Strat for a Hammond) and miraculously they´ve come out of it not reeking of patchouli and jazz-fags. Even with the occational alarming wig-out, what dominates is not showy-off noodling but rock-solid driving funk - head-nod, not chin-stroke. Alright, it isn´t easy listening, but it´s grøøvy, baby: very grøøvy.
The Word (UK)

Swdish psych-folkies/prog-rockers Dungen release a new LP later this year, but this Norwegian trio´s debut should keep fans happy in the meantime. On more of a Scandi-jazz tip - but with nods to Hendrix, Berlin-era Bowie, Tangerine Dream and Fripp alongside mid-70s Miles - it centres around Ståle Storløkken´s chunkily funky organ/electric piano chops and should see analogue fetishists in seventh heaven.
Time Out (UK)

Mixing superb musicianship and complex rhythms with more considered, experimental pieces that use space to the full.
Hi-Fi World (UK)

This ferocious drum/bass/organ assault opens the Norwegian jazz trio´s debut album and manages to retain a weapons-grade level of instrumental mayhem throughout. Not for the faint of heart.
Mojo´s Top 10 (UK)

More mind-boggling experimental racket from the long strip of land that stops the Swedish west coast falling into the sea and seems to be positively awash with modern-jazz and extreme-noise merchants. Featuring Supersilent and Humcrush keyboard whizz Ståle Storløkken, Shining’s thunder-house drummer Torstein Lofthus and bass player Nikolai Eilertsen Dodovoodoo, sounds not unlike Emerson Lake & Palmer on acid but without the pomp, welding jazzy rock passages to prog fuelled psychedelia, this is nonetheless oddly accessible and once agian highlights just how musically fecund Norway is right now.
Total Music (UK)

A whirlwind collection of Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer-based prog-improvisation. Taking cues from Larry Young (especially his work with the Tony Williams Lifetime and, of course, Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis), Dodovoodoo jumps right into the fray on the opening title track with a hamfisted blast of organ-driven skonk.
Global Rhythm (US)

Sagen wir: Geburtstagsparty. Ihr fünftbester Freund wird 47. Nach einer Weile versammeln sich die Rock-Nerds in der Nähe der Plattensammlung, während ein Neffe des Gastgebers gegen geringes Entgelt eine tanzbare Retro-Nummer nach der anderen auflegt und die Frauen vergnügt dazu tanzen. Rock, Disco, New Wave, Elvis und die Talking Heads – heute Abend geht mal wieder alles. Die Besserwisser verdrehen die Augen und spielen das Hast-du-kennst-du-weisst-du-Spiel, welcher abgetakelte Musikstil ist der abgetakeltste von allen, so was in der Art. Wer dann “psychedelische Fusion-Musik” murmelt, dürfte wenig Widerspruch ernten – nur der Neffe hat aufgepasst und spielt “Dodovoodoo”, das Titelstück des Debütalbums eines jungen, norwegischen Trios namens Elephant9. Da fällt dem Murmler die coole Meinungsführermiene ins Weissbierglas. Eine Orgel brettert auf unkapputtbaren Bass-Gleisen durch den Raum, offensichtlich auf der Flucht vor einem berserkerhaften Trommler, der sich nach Ginger Baker oder nach John Bonham anhört, nur doppelt so schnell oder auf ganz anderen Drogen. Eigentlich kommt das Trio um Ståle Storløkken von der Improvisationsmusik, der Elektro-Akustik gar, auch vom Pop, aber was es hier abliefert, ist Powertrio-Psychedelic zwischen Iron Butterfly und Joe Zawinul. Unmöglich, aber wahr.
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE)

Was macht diese Band nun für einen Sound? Ein Versuch: "Dodovoodoo" ist rauer, saumäßig groovender, psychedelischer Jazzrock, der wie The Doors in einer Jazzjamsession auf Speed oder hochgepitchter Herbie Hancock zu "Headhunters"-Zeiten klingt. Es ist ein rauschendes Fest, was Elephant 9 hier abliefern. Moderner Jazzrock auf höchstem Niveau und mit dem richtigen Kick eingespielt. Traumhafterweise besitzt das Trio ein wunderbares Händchen für Dynamik und rabaukt nicht nur über Gesamtlänge. Immer wieder streuen sie lange, verhaltene, fast stille Momente ein, bauen diese behutsam wieder auf. Es ist ein dichten, entdichten des Sounds, ein sich ins Nirwana spielen und sich wieder erschöpft zurücklehnen. Grandios!! Auch dieses Album wurde live eingespielt. Und auch hier kann man nur staunen über die fabelhafte Produktion und die enorme Versiertheit. Please more of this stuff!! Rune Grammofon, can you hear me?
Noisy Neighbours (DE)

Fantastisch, wie sie ’Doctor Honoris Causa’ ohne Trompete und Soprano auf Zawinuls melodiösen Flow verschlanken und Storløkken dennoch auf Synthieschwingen selbst Elefanten auf Wolke 9 hievt. Damals auf dem Schulhof glaubte man noch die ’besten’ Drummer an einer Hand aufzählen zu können – Baker, Cobham, Hiseman, Williams + wechselnde heisse Tips wie Bruford oder Vander. Heute heisst so ein Vishnu einfach Lofthus.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

Dodovodo startet gleich fulminant, und das Titelstück gibt die Richtung dieser mit Energie förmlich aufgeladenen Platte auch gut vor... Elephant 9 aber bersten vor Kraft und Energie und ausgelassener Spielfreude, bis in der Mitte dieser Produktion plötzlich das Tempo ziemlich herausgenommen wird zugunsten vernebelter und verträumter Songs.
Jazzthetik (DE)

Das norwegische Trio Elephant9 mit Musikern von Supersilent und The National Bank macht es sich im Jazzrock zwischen Miles Davis und Soft Machine so um 1970 bequem. Sie kombinieren den kratzig-aufgedrehten Funk von Davis mit den langgezogenen smoothen Orgelsounds und ruhigen Improvisationen von Soft Machine. Eine reizvolle Verbindung zweier verwandter und immer noch spannender Ansätze.
Kompakt Disk (DE)

The moment you´ve all been waiting for - it´s time for another tasty Rune joint. Yet, Elephant9 are a slightly different breed; for example, their fuzzy organ songs explode like Soiled Mattress & The Springs (on acid), Torstein Lofthus, the drummer of this trio, has at least seven arms, and one of them (I can´t write his name because of too many weird Norwegian letters) normally plays in your favourite Pop group Supersilent. In short: It´s dodovoodoolicious supreme.
Lodown (DE)

Eher an Garagenrock als an Fjordjazz erinnern die meisten Stücke der norwegischen Gruppe mit dem rätselhaften Namen. Es ist das Trio des Keyboarders Ståle Storløkken, der mit Nils Petter Molvær gespielt hat. Sein E-Bassist und sein Schlagzeuger kommen aus der Rock-Szene.

Die drei Musiker rocken, jazzen und dampfen auf ihrem dicht gepackten Debütalbum, was das Zeug hergibt. Und man hat auch gleich den Mut gehabt, das Ding komplett live einzuspielen. Dabei schaffen es die Instrumentalisten, eine spannende und oftmals hypnotische Mischung aus Sixties-Attitüde und (post)modernem Agieren auf den Weg zu bringen – und verlieren keineswegs den eigenen, eben nordischen Touch.
Drums & Percussion (DE)

Dette er de smellfeite og forrykende orgelgroovers band; et slags "tidenes orgelintroer fra Gimme Some Lovin og nedover møter Joe Zawinul"-eksplosjon, med trommer og bass som et serie-eksploderende inferno under tangentenes nådeløse akkordekstase. Storløkken, the maddest ´fessor i keyboardklassen, er formidabel når han kan hemgi seg hemningsløst til denne typen polyfonisk klangmaling og melodisøkende enkelttonerekker, og trekker opp storm og et og annet dirrende klangstille med autoritativ lekelyst og en årvåkenhet for dynamikk som balanserer uttrykket perfekt. Stor moro og strålende spilt, fra ende til annen. 5/6.
Dagbladet (NO)

Damp fra 60 og 70-tallets progrock, psykedelia og jazz frigjøres gjennom denne musikken. Keith Emerson og Joe Zawinul har sittet ved dette bordet. Det samme har Hansson & Karlsson, men Elephant9 safter låtene sine etter egen oppskrift. Nå fanges ikke denne trioens mange væremåter i enkle beskrivelser. Til det er den for sammensatt og skiftende. Den sprukne gitarlyden som får slippe til på "Hymne" gir poesien blåmerker, og funkutlegningene i "Doctor Honoris Causa" imponerer. Her har vi en trio som har forstått sg på historien, men som ønsker å bygge sitt eget språk. 5/6.
Aftenposten (NO)

Det fins to typer jazzrock. Den som Chicago og Blood Sweat & Tears stelte med da 60-tall ble til 70-tall, med hovedvekt på rock (og litt pop), og den som Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra og delvis Miles Davis bedrev omtrent samtidig. (I Norge var det nok Jon Ebersons Moose Loose som kom nærmest.) Elephant9 tilhører sistnevnte kategori; jazzrock – med trykket på jazz. «Misdirections» er som å tre inn i Miles’ «On The Corner»-univers, mens de uten blygsel faktisk henter Joe Zawinuls mest kjente rockeriff fra Weather Reports avslutning av «I Sing The Body Electric», en komposisjon som ganske riktig bærer navnet «Directions».«Dodo Voodoo» inneholder musikk som bør spilles høyt. Ikke fordi de tre musikerne har vanskelig for å slå fra seg. Det forholder seg heller omvendt. Musikken de frambringer innbyr til å stille volumknappen på 11 – omtrent som The Jimi Hendrix Experience gjorde. Man kan liksom ikke høre «Electric Ladyland» lavt.Lofthus og Eilertsen spiller rått og brutalt, og oppå det ville kompet legger Storløkken et i all hovedsak Fender Rhodes-basert sound (tidvis store orgeltoner) som bare er så stilig! Dette kunne like gjerne ha vært Joe Zawinul, Eric Gravatte og Stanley Clarke – bare enda mer reindyrka. Jazz – men likevel veldig rock, på høygir. Disse gutta spiller hvert taktslag som om det var det siste de skulle utføre her i livet!De inkluderer en låt som bare svever av gårde, fornuftig nok kalt «Hymne», men grunnleggende sett er dette klampen i bånn. Mot slutten gjør de et par Weater Report-covere, rett og slett, som om de vil ha sagt: «Neida, vi har ingen grunn til å skjule hvor vår inspirasjon kommer fra». Men det skulle altså en norsk trio til for å bringe den bærekraftige jazzrocken til heder og verdighet igjen. Det var på tide!
Jazznytt (NO)

Dette er pur spilleglede med påtagelig smitte-effekt, totalt upretensiøst og i helhet tilegnet verdien av den åpne lek med lyd og kraften derimellom. Der foregår svært mye givende i nullsonen mellom radikalrock, nyjazz og kunstmusikk i gamlelandet for tiden, og Elephant9 plasserer seg blant det ypperste.
Tarkus (NO)

Here we have something that might again be labelled with jazz again. Or you might think so at first. The title track and opener rocks like hell. Keyboard (Ståle Storløkken), bass (Nikolai Eilertsen) and drummer Torstein Lofthus (great!) go for a short, serious and target-oriented bashing, which is really nice, and it sounds like a statement. And in that style they carry on. From the beginning you feel like the late Sixties / early Seventies. The repetitions are there, but also the sound (I know, I can not be more abstract than that) but it reminds of Can and Jimi Hendrix, but *today*. And this is very exciting, especially because Elephant9 in no way is a retro band. And I am not at all sure if they will like the comparison. But the comparison will be explained in the same moment, or at least emphasised, if you think about the fact, that the album was recorded live in one single go. From this viewpoint Dodo Voodoo is more a rock- than a jazz-album, because even if the organ sounds like Jimmy Smith, it is more like the Doors, knocking at the doors (ha!). Five of the seven songs are originals, and those all, with the exception of „Hymne“, are all great prog/rock/jazz with depth. The last two ones are by Joe Zawinul, which might be seen as a tribute. At both („Doctor Honoris Causa“ and „Directions“) it is easy to hear, that they have been written by someone else, but Elephant9 add so much fire to these songs, that you want to listen to them all over again.
Monochrom (AT)

Den sieben Tracks spürt man eine herzerfrischende Spielfreude an, mit der Elephant9 ein unpeinlich-lässiger Mix aus Jazz, Prog- und Psychedelic-Rock im Sound der Spätsechziger- und Frühsiebzigerjahre mit neuzeitlichen Noise-Elementen gelingt. Grossartig gespielte Musik mit tollen Improvisationen.
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