[6 August 2008]
The latest group to be collected from the stable of Norwegian musicians on Rune Grammofon is Elephant9. It consists of Ståle Storløkken (keyboards and Hammond organ), Nikolai Eilersten (bass), Torstein Lofthus (drums), and together this trio pumps out suitably abstract, rickety constructions of prog/jazz. There are fewer loose ends than on some of the more improvisational Rune Grammofon groups, but there’s still a strong sense of machinery casually thrown together on Dodovoodoo, the group’s debut. And while they occasionally ramp up a pummeling beat and distorted guitar, the group spends almost equal time on glacial atmospherics that allow the listener a needed pause.
Three long pieces form the heart of the album—“I Cover the Mountain Top”, and the two closing pieces “Doctor Honoris Causa” and “Directions”. While the former two are alternately lovely and subtly-shifting (with Gamelan-like repetitions), “Directions” is the most intricate and chaotic, building in satisfying waves to an emphatic finale. This music is difficult, but not impossible; and though it perhaps lacks the flair of Supersilent of MoHa!, its wavering sense of space will be a welcome expansion for followers of the experimental label’s releases.