Norwegian progressive/neo-psychedelic/jazz-rock trio Elephant9 exist in an ever-evolving musical collision of mid-'70s Miles Davis, Weather Report, Tony Williams Lifetime, King Crimson, and Hawkwind, filtered through an anarchic yet canny expression of technological and improvisational futurism that can range from harmonic and funky to dissonant, blaring, and sprawling.
They have drawn considerable praise from both the jazz and rock communities worldwide for their album catalog beginning with 2008's Dodovoodoo. Commencing in 2012, they began a series of ongoing yet sporadic collaborations with vanguard guitarist and bandleader Reine Fiske, as displayed on Atlantis, and later on Silver Mountain (2015) and Psychedelic Backfire II (2019).
Elephant9 formed in Oslo around the talents of keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent), bass player Nikolai Hængsle (National Bank), and drummer Torstein Lofthus (Shining). The instrumental group's heady blend of mid-'70s Miles Davis, Weather Report, the Tony Williams Lifetime, King Crimson, and Yes has drawn considerable praise from both the jazz and rock communities worldwide. Elephant9's debut album, Dodovoodoo, was released on the Rune Grammofon label in June 2008, and drew positive reviews in Europe. 2010's Walk the Nile attracted U.S. jazz critics who welcomed its provocative improvisational attack. The band issued Live at the BBC in 2011, and the recording was greeted with nearly universal acclaim, garnering interest from rock and jazz press. When Elephant9 returned to the studio, they enlisted guitarist Reine Fiske (Dungen, latter-day Trad, Gräs och Stenar) as a collaborator for 2012's Atlantis -- he received co-billing. After an intense bout of touring, the members of Elephant9 took a time-out to focus on their other individual projects. Fiske was enlisted again when the band began recording sessions for a new album. In early 2016, Silver Mountain -- again co-billed -- was released by Rune Grammofon. Two years later, after collaborations with Fiske and guitarist Terje Rypdal, they returned to the core trio of their two first albums -- Storløkken, Hængsle and Lofthus -- to investigate a more visceral but groove-oriented sound. The single "Actionpack1" was issued in January of 2018, with their fifth full-length, Greatest Show on Earth, following a month later. As usual, Elephant9 thwarted critical expectations by issuing a pair of simultaneously released albums in 2019 entitled Psychedelic Backfire I & II, the latter (which opened with a completely reworked, 14-plus-minute improv cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life") in collaboration once again with Fiske. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi