Get this crazy baby off my head!



Elephant 9 - Dodo Voodoo -2008 - Rune Grammofon

"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)

Elephant9, yet another side-project-slash-collaboration-slash-new-artistic-venture from the Rune Grammofon collective, is a trio gone wild on organ and LSD. Dodovoodoo, their first recording after a few years of live touring, managed to capture (on tape, no less) the sweat-flinging exuberance their performances reportedly consist of. As you can probably imagine, jazz plus live improv plus tons of energy plus a reputation for the unconventional equals a continuous stream of music with many variations on the same theme, rather than an album of concretely separate tracks. The first and title track is a tossup of Beefheart, Acid Mothers Temple, and other Grammofon influences (Supersilent, The National Bank, and Shining are represented by keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Nikolai Eilertse, and drummer Torstein Lofthus, respectively). The band explodes out of the gates with Shining-like energy, improvised organ bits, ridiculous cymbal use, and a bizarre, jerky, groovy refrain. The second, “I Cover The Mountaintop,” slows everything down to a Supersilent tempo, with Supersilent’s machine wail and abstract drumming to boot. Rather than build into the trademark doom-knell, it develops into a fairly well-structured jazz tune and brings back that psychedelic energy. Elephant9 works in this general area with moderate success until the sixth track, “Doctor Honoris Causa,” when they slow back down to more minimalist territory for thirteen minutes of wicked dynamics and impressive self-control. The sound gets more intelligence: stronger refrains get used as launching points for more interesting bits of improv. The album fades out on this note, as closing song, “Directions,” adds another seven minutes of guitar-feedbacking, pitch-twisting, wave-riding soundscapes. You can tell that Dodovoodoo is but a foreshadow of yet more amazing live shows, less an album than a calling card. And once again I’m pouting, because I can’t afford to fly overseas to catch the full intensity of this group before they inevitably embark on new projects. © Allana Mayer, All content is copyright of the authors, 2008, /www.mondomagazine.net

Heavy, progressive, electric jazz rock from the Norwegian Elephant 9, a very popular band in Norway now for two or three years. One review described the sound as "a raucous blend of psychedlica rock and soul jazz". Whatever the description, it's different, and even with the modern Scandinavian sound, there are still elements of early Beefheart, ELP, and King Crimson in the mix, with strong traces of the early '70s jazz fusion sound of John Mclaughlin. Two of the songs on the album, "Directions" and "Dr. Honoris Causa," were composed by Joe Zawinul, who played with Miles Davis. This is really inventive jazz based progressive psychedelic rock, and sounds great, especially the brilliant keyboard work from Stale Storlokken, who also composed three of the albums' tracks. N.B: This album was also released on a limited edition vinyl disc, with Track 5, "Misdirection" excluded. For more music of this type, try and listen to Oskar Schönning's "Happy Jazz" album


1 Dodovoodoo (5:12) - Ståle Storløkken
2 I Cover The Mountain Top (9:01) - Ståle Storløkken
3 Skink (5:38) - Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen
4 Hymne (5:30) - Ståle Storløkken
5 Misdirection (2:26) - unknown
6 Doctor Honoris Causa (13:01) - Joe Zawinul
7 Directions (7:39) - Joe Zawinul


Bass, Electric Guitar - Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen
Drums - Torstein Lofthus
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Organ [Hammond], Synthesizer - Ståle Storløkken


Some combos head back to the grooving organ trio sound of the 1960s and 70s in a cool-headed, urbane fashion, clicking their fingers and setting their berets at a jaunty angle. Elephant9 have set fire to all headgear, shaking free their straggly manes for a deranged session of acid prog headbanging. This might be the Norwegian trio's debut disc, but we already know keyboardist Ståle Storløkken from his many years with Supersilent, and drummer Torstein Lofthus will be familiar to many as a member of Shining, those fellow purveyors of Gothic thrash-prog. It's only bassist Nikolai Haengsle who is unfamiliar outside Norway. Subtlety is employed only occasionally, as the trio hurtles straight into the maelstrom that is the album's title cut. It's Emerson, Lake & Palmer territory, perhaps. The riffing is single-minded, but the structure is jerkily funky, or maybe funkily jerky. Recording live in the studio, Elephant9 careen along with spiny edges, knocking down any obstacles. The second tune, I Cover The Mountain Top, might hang back for a moment, caught in a ponder, but before long, the meat is out of the freezer, decaying fast. Storløkken revels in the extremity of his distortion, turning Fender Rhodes electric piano and Hammond organ into percussive instruments. The Lofthus approach to drumming is to let the avalanche fall, although not without some complicated wrist-flicks and lightning strikes around his heavy skins. Haengsle's bass is a crushing, cumulative presence. Some numbers might begin sensitively, but their ultimate destiny lies in a thundering brawl. The only exception is Hymne, which remains in a creepy state. Misdirection is a churning funk snapshot, followed by the cosmic chills of Doctor Honoris Causa and Directions, a double dose of Joe Zawinul composition which takes the trio into its most jazzy state, Storløkken revelling in the physicality of key contact, jabbing out tight bursts of frazzled phrasing. Again, there's a pause for abstraction, but not before the thundering leviathan tumble makes its return. This disc is exciting enough, but Elephant9's full damage is probably done during a live show, in front of a very worried audience. © Martin Longley, 30 July 2008, www.bbc.co.uk/music

(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)

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)

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)

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)

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)