Word has been spreading of a thrilling new progressive trio from Norway. This week Elephant9 released their debut album Dodovoodoo on Rune Grammofon. The release concert took place last weekend, at the ongoing Nattjazz festival in Bergen

Elephant9: Dodovoodoo

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).

The different musical expressions that these bands represent give a good indication of the cocktail that Elephant9 is all about. It is jazz rock of a special format we are here talking about; the kind of groovy 70s “acid” rock merged with transparent improvisation the way that masters such as Miles Davis and Joe Zawinul did it.

The first thing to make a note of with this explosive trio is that there is no guitar. And the second is that it is not missed. Storløkkens Hammond organ, electric piano and synthesizers lead 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.

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.

Dodovoodoo is a highly anticipated release, for the few concerts they have played have already made Elephant9 a smash hit among live audiences. With the record now out the band is set to bring the sweaty, throbbing contemporary jazz rock to a lot more people this summer, notably at the Molde Jazz festival and the Øya festival in Oslo.

Dodovoodoo was released by Rune Grammofon on May 26th.

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