Elephant9 – Walk the Nile

While others keep complaining about Elephant9’s cover design since their debut “Dodovoodoo” was released in 2008, I still find it just interesting as the music the trio serves. Welcome to “Walk the Nile”, an absolute gem of the finest jazz-prog rock sound you can probably find.

My colleagues used to make parallels between Elephant9 and ELP, calling it something like ELP on steroids. While this might be apt, I would first mention and maybe make a little comparison with the legendary Bo Hansson (RIP). The reasons for that are Ståle Storløkken’s playing of Hammond organ which are a true homage to Hansson’s work, but in more of a fusion form. Thus, the next comparison that comes on mind is Niacin, excepting that they are closer to straight rock than Elephant9. Last, but not least band which is worth mentioning here is Weather Report, just to complete an image of 70’s traditional jazz rock. But, on the other hand, you can reject all of these supposed influences and still be completely correct. That’s one of the largest highlights of this band, that you can find and recognize the best of the genres they involve in the music, but you can still consider it to be incredibly innovative.

The thing that decorates this album is their success in capturing and transmission of live energy, so you get the feeling of spontaneity in their jamming. It’s like this album is both created and recorded at once.

Frenzied atmosphere with heavy rhythms start with Fugl Fønix fills up this record to the very end of the closing piece John Tinnick. In meantime, there are three larger tracks. The title track: Walk the Nile and Habanera Rocket, featuring many rhythmic changes, as well elements of space rock and a bit of psychedelia on the side. Lofthus succeeds to hit the drums with both aggression and sensuality, while his companion in the rhythm section manages to swing between leading and backing parts, characteristic for its crafting. Aviation brings both frenzied bass and Hammond playing to the forefront, but soon leads into another frenetic jazz rock jam. Hardcore Orientale sets back a speedy intervention of the trio with spacey keyboards in particular segments and dashing drums throughout. Precise bass/drums loops at the beginning of Habanera Rocket last for over 7 minutes with (once again) spacey sound by Ståle Storløkken make it a fully Hammond controlled piece, but in the middle drums and bass come to the surface, while the powerful Hammond keeps on glistening. John Tinnick is a groovy and fast piece with blasting and ogasmatic Hammond and beautiful drum fills. A great closing track which reminds you that you just completed listening one of the best albums of 2010. I know for sure that Walk the Nine will enter my Top10 charts later in December.

Tracklist:

01. Fugl Fønix

02. Aviation

03. Walk the Nile

04. Hardcore Orientale

05. Habanera Rocket

06. John Tinnick

Line-up:

* Ståle Storløkken – Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer

* Torstein Lofthus – drums

* Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen – bass, guitar

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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