Elephant9 With Reine Fiske, 'Silver Mountain'
Prog not only abides but flourishes on Silver Mountain, the second album on which Norwegian trio Elephant9 is joined by Swedish guitarist Reine Fiske of Dungen. It's hard to say exactly when Scandinavia grabbed the prog baton from England, but they're running like the cosmic wind with it on this five-track album containing a pair of 20-minute suites and a 10-minute cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" that sounds teleported over from Bitches Brew. Elephant9 blends the virtuosic precision of King Crimson and Yes with the jazz-fusion explorations of electric Miles, Weather Report and the Tony Williams Lifetime. Key and time signatures change constantly as the quartet helters and skelters between tightly composed sections, driving kosmische interludes and bucolic Canterbury excursions. Maze-like without being mystical, Silver Mountain is a thoroughly approachable gateway to the tantric delights of post-Crimson progressive rock in its myriad incarnations. Richard Gehr