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Elephant9: Silver Mountain

Five tracks and over seventy-five minutes of music. That's what you get with the fourth release from Oslo jazz rock outfit Elephant9 titled Silver Mountain. The band formed in 2008 and the line-up has been the same since; Ståle Storløkken (Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, upright piano, Mellotron, minimoog, prophet t8), Nikolai Haengsle Eilertsen (electric bass, acoustic guitars, percussion) and Torstein Lofthus (drums, percussion). As in their last album Atlantis, special guest Reine Fiske (electric and acoustic guitars, percussion) adds his expertise.

First things first. The players are absolutely stellar. The keyboard and guitar textures and solos alone are quite mind blowing. The drums are usually heavy and handled with the expertise of a master craftsman, great tone and very vibrant, sometimes leading the songs through complex instrumental workouts. The same can be said of the bass. The bass player often delivers a fuzzy tone, giving the tunes a heavy bottom end when the need arises. All that said, these tunes failed to reel me in as the lack of melody is an issue for me. However, one cannot help by being blown away by the musicianship alone and for that these four gentlemen are to be commended for making challenging music completely outside the box. One thing is for sure, you will never get bored listening to Silver Mountain.

The first track "Occidentali" begins normal enough. Under a cool groove, trippy guitar and keyboards give the soundscape an almost unsettling atmospheric feel. The tune traverses energetic motifs and gentler, almost ambient atmospheres. A few minutes in is when all hell breaks loose as a furiously heavy drum beat and chaotic guitar laced with dissonant feedback takes the tune in completely free form territory. On the Stevie Wonder penned "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" the band take the classic in a completely different direction with ultra-trippy guitar and keys dripping with space rock atmospherics. These musicians take the unexpected to a another level. On the twenty minute epic "Kungsten" a repeating one note keyboard is overtaken with a flurry of drums and ripping bass that you will not forget anytime soon. In that sense some of these songs do stick around for a while. The song evolves into another trippy affair with equal amounts heavy wackiness and mellow space rock trippiness.

Whether or not you will 'get' Silver Mountain will depend on your love for experimental music. If cutting edge jazz rock is your thing this will be a no brainer.

Released on Rune Grammofon.

Track Listing:
1. Occidentali
2. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
3. Abhartach
4. Kungsten
5. The Above Ground Sound

Added: December 5th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 2526
Language: english

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