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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elephant9 -Dodovoodoo LP Review (8.9/10), 19 July 2008
This review is from: Dodovoodoo (Audio CD)
The early Seventies was one of the most exciting times for music. Building on the psychedelic foundations of the late Sixties and the ever exciting Jazz sound, a new breed of bands came about which held the values of instrumental ability above image. Fusing the grooving, head-nodding world of rock with the complex and turbulent world of jazz led to some of the most inspired and thought-provoking music of the last century yet here we are in 2008 with a release that harks back to the early Seventies heyday. Already a firm favourite on the Norwegian scene, the trio of Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Humcrush), Nikolai Eilertsen (The National Bank) and Torstein Lofthus (Shining), finally deliver their long-awaited debut album, `Dodovoodoo'.

Riding upon a heady wave of `best-of-breed' Seventies jazz-rock fusion, elephant9 inject a buoyant energy into a complex and technically proficient sound that is laced with delicious melodics. The title track Dodovoodoo totally captures the style and sound of this album. Launching straight into a heady brew of jarring Rhodes melodies and stormy drums, elephant9 rocket straight off into a Seventies cosmic-dream, but one that is riddled with turbulence. The swirling-psyche sound of Seventies luminaries and space-jazz explorers such as Herbie Hancock, Sun-Ra, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Billy Cobham are fully embraced. In fact, a listen to this recording without any artist information will more than likely have your mind scouring through a library of early Seventies artists rather than 2008 Norway! `I Cover the Mountain Top' demonstrates the three-piece's ability to counter subtle atmospherics with rocking psyche. It produces a sound that regales in the melancholy majesty of Third era `Soft Machine' thanks to its winding, ultra-mellow Fender Rhodes, but morphs into ecstatic Weather Report heavy-fusion that grinds with a mind-spinning electric-rock groove.

The middle section of the album takes a break from the dizzying fusion sound and moves into ethereal territory as `Hymne' charts the nomadic expeditions of hammond organ melodies across baron audio-rustlings and percussive sparks. It's not long before that liquid groove and angular jazz melody return to lift you into the cosmos. `Doctor Honoris Causa' features brooding, deep-bass that rolls perpetually whilst complemented by three dimensional Rhodes and tinglingly sharp percussion to create a stunning effect. Gear slips into delicate free-jazz territory form an all-encompassing atmosphere that drags you in deeper and deeper- the soundscape never relenting and refusing to release you from its subtle, yet commanding clutch. The closer `Directions' is a glitchy and gloomy, yet multi-colored, jazzscape complete with warm melodic arcs that ooze over the bristly landscape like honey over a roaming thorn bush. A fittingly dynamic and complex conclusion to an album that has delivered so much.

If you're a fan of the Seventies jazz-rock fusion era and wish to be lifted away far far away from recession-prone, credit-crunched world outside then you can do no better than `Dodovoodoo'. (KS)

For fans of:Heavy fusion-era Soft Machine, Electronic-era Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing on the shoulders, 19 Aug 2008
R. J. Heath "djaitch" (Loughborough, Leics, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dodovoodoo (Audio CD)
Dodovoodoo is one of the best bit of jazz rock I've heard this year - and it hasn't been a bad year so far for jazz fusion releases. Having taken the bait of a couple of reviews drawing parallels with Soft Machine, I found myself purchasing the album after hearing something different in the samples available.

So over the last 20 days I have played this album hard, and have been strongly reminded why I got hooked by jazz rock in the late 60's, and then stayed a firm fan with its development through the first half of the 70's and to this day. Each track is different from the next, and the variation of styles and then the relative complexity within most tracks will have some folks going back to relisten and hear some different on each play. Certainly there are echoes coming from several references taken from the classic period of jazz rock, 1968 to 1975. But don't expect wholesale pillaging, rather a multiplicity of short samples (for want of a better term) which continually tweak the memory, inserted expertly into heavy, modern jazz fusion. Whilst I would happily mark the first review here 5 star, and indeed agree with much of the general analysis of Elephant9's musical references, when it comes to the specific naming of jazz fusion bands as reference points, I find myself largely at variance. So let's point out what I hear and what I don't.

The opening track spits Tony Williams Lifetime (`Turn It Over' period), minus John McLaughlin: in particular, the Hammond and the dirty bass, echo Larry Young and Jack Bruce. However, elsewhere the Hammond smacks of other players, e.g. Greg Rolie in Santana's high period of jazz fusion (e.g. `Caravanserai', or `Welcome'). BTW I also hear Wayne Horwitz (check out Michael Shrieve's `Fascination'), and even the metal jazz fusion of Jonas Hellborg Group's `e'. But the electric piano features almost as much as the Hammond, and processed with a ring-modulator effect I'm hearing echoes of Chick Corea around 1970 (e.g. Miles Davis `Fillmore East' album). About the only point I agree is that one track has a strong suggestion of Zawinul and Weather Report. The allusion to Billy Cobham is misleading - and I dare not take my reference to Lifetime and Tony Williams too far either - since the fast and powerful drumming lacks the subtlety of either of these master jazz fusionists. Even so, it vigorously underpins, providing great energy as the very best rock drummers do. But as for Soft Machine, I don't think so.

In summary, this is a great album, which is likely to spark off different memories of different albums from the heyday of jazz rock, in different folks. But it is also an album of the 21st Century - jazz rock fusion grows still on what went before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of a time to come, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Dodovoodoo (Audio CD)
The debut album from this Norwegian fusion combo. A new name to me, but formed by veterans from the scene. Veterans like Ståle Storløkken and Torstein Lofthus.

The music they have gone for is lush, funky fusion. That means a rampant Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ on the top of some bass and drums. Electric guitars are also very much present here. The result is some very catchy fusion in the Soft Machine and RTF mould. There are even some ELP like symph prog here. But most of it is fusion. Unfortunate, not of the most intense sort as on their new album (which made me purchase this album too). But the music is interesting enough.

My main gripes is the lack of any great tracks here. This is a debut album and a very good one. The band is still trying to find their way here and that shows. It is still an album well worth purchasing though for anyone into fusion.

Elephant9 is the new wine.
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Dodovoodoo by Elephant9
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