Personnel: Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen (12-string guitar, electric bass); Ståle Storlokken (grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano, mini-Moog synthesizer); Torstein Lofthus (drums).
Audio Mixer: Christian Engfelt.
Recording information: Atalantis Grammofon (09/08/2011-09/10/2011).
Elephant9's own abilities at whipping up heavy-riffing psych-jazz that feels like a lost transmission from the start of fusion had already been well established by the release of Atlantis, but the inclusion of Reine Fiske on occasional guest guitar added yet another strong edge, thanks to the latter's work with such acts as Dungen and latter-day Trad, Gräs och Stenar. From the opening "Black Hole," starting with a tone of doom and a clatter of drums before everything quickly moves into heavy skronk/funk, it's pretty clear that the performers' intent isn't necessarily to surprise listeners but to make the best damn case for what they can do from the get-go -- and they do, several times over. Sometimes it's moments like the unintentional salute to the then-recently departed Jon Lord on "The Riddler," with heavy organ crunch dominating everything but never drowning the band as a whole. Later, "Psychedelic Backfire" is a long slow Hammond organ and growl rhythm tripout that more than lives up to the name. But it can be just as much a question of subtlety, with the opening of "A Foot in Both" starting only with soft acoustic guitar and distant tones before everything slowly but surely builds up from nothing as it goes. The title track, where Fiske first appears on the album, captures the collective at its most serene, almost finding its own way to salute the restrained power of Pink Floyd circa Wish You Were Here as the rhythm gets more intense and the solos open up beautifully, ending on both a beautiful and loud note. ~ Ned Raggett