Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Elephant9 - Dodvoodoo

(06.2008, Rune Grammofon)
Verdict = Bombastic, invigorating, rockin' jazz

Improvisational music has always been a super compelling, but slightly difficult listen for me and Jazz, with all its history and various sub genres, has been a particularly daunting area of music for me to penetrate. However, while I have yet to delve into very much beyond Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue in terms of historical essentials, I have become enraptured with various forms of avant-garde jazz that seems to be one of the staples of modern Scandinavian music. The Norwegian label Rune Grammofon is evidence enough of this theory. It only takes a quick glance at their artist roster to realize the label has released the who’s who of exiting new hybrid jazz. Elephant9, the most recent new band to be let loose from the Rune Grammofon stables, is quintessential of everything that is good about the label's output and more. Like many of the bands on RG, Elephant9 shares its members with other notables. Tortstein Lofthus (Shining) and Nikolai Haengsle (The National Bank) run the rhythm section on drums and bass while Stale Storlokken (Supersilent, Humcrush) manages the keyboard. Lofthus’s inhumanly technical marathon drumming and Haengsle’s thickly delicious bass lines provide a perpetually energetic rock infused backdrop for Storlokken on keys. Storlokken’s insistence on using gritty 70’s style keyboard effects adds a beautifully nostalgic touch to the entire album making Dodovoodoo feel all the more dynamic delving in prog rock, nu jazz, psychedelic and free form sounds. The difference between Elephant9’s debut and a lot of RG releases is its relentless consistency. There isn’t a single flat or dull moment on the whole record which seems to be a difficult thing to avoid when you are flying by the seat of your pants. When Sassigrass first heard the album she said it sounded like “a funkified baseball game.” I’m not quite sure where she gets the baseball reference, but I’d definitely subscribe to anything as funkified as this is.

-Mr. Thistle

1 comment:

Marge Bjork said...

There's this swedish group Oskar Schönning. Jazz, but not avant-garde. I like, but I still haven't decided how much I like them.