Elephant9 with Reine Fiske - Silver Mountain. 2015 Norway
CD issue: 2015 Rune Grammofon
For the opener ‘Occidentali’, take 1969 era Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Soft Machine. Roll them up tight in a ball, and then have Wolfgang Dauner’s Et Cetera play that imaginary music. Get your attention, did I? Not sure I’ve ever heard those 4 names tossed together in the same breath. This is followed by a Stevie Wonder cover tune, as driven by the same above parameters. OK then. Not that you’ll actually recognize the tune, as it’s about as psychedelic interpreted as it can possibly get. There’s also this strange 1971 vintage Tangerine Dream quality about these two compositions. Like a long form ‘Ultima Thule’ if that makes sense. As the ladies of HGTV like to often say, these 2 songs are ahh-MAY-ZING. ‘Abhartach’ is a bit too much though, and ear fatigue begins to set in. It reminds me of those modern Japanese bands where they never seem to know when to quit. Redlining it all the time is tiresome. Though experience tells me there's a contingent of those who feel "too much of a good thing, is a good thing", so you'll probably love this track too. ‘Kungsten’ starts out similar, and it’s time to find the fast forward button. But by the 7 minute mark, the band slows it back down to atmospheric keyboards, psychedelic moods, and jam sequences. This is clearly where Elephant9 shines, on this effort anyway. The last 2 minutes brings back the energy of the prelude, though its placement here is far more effective. Finale ‘The Above Ground Sound’ recalls ‘Occidentali’ mixed with ‘Kungsten’. Once again Dungen’s guitarist Reine Fiske is on board, and his decidedly acid guitar tone adds much to the overall psychedelic stew. Vintage keyboards, primarily organ, electric piano, and mellotron, are still the focus here. Overall, Silver Mountain is certainly Elephant9’s most experimental album to date, though no less worthy. Four albums in, and Elephant9 have yet to disappoint. They are by far, IMHO, the best band on the Rune Grammofon label.