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Elephant9 Walk the Nile album cover
3.79 | 81 ratings | 10 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fugl Fønix (3:43)
2. Aviation (8:02)
3. Walk the Nile (10:01)
4. Hardcore Orientale (4:31)
5. Habanera Rocket (14:35)
6. John Tinnick (4:01)

Total Time 44:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Ståle Storløkken / Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, synthesizer
- Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen / bass
- Torstein Lofthus / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Kim Hiorthøy

LP Rune Grammofon ‎- RLP3095 (2010, Norway)

CD Rune Grammofon ‎- RCD2095 (2010, Norway)

Thanks to Desoc for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile Music

ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ELEPHANT9 Walk the Nile reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dick Heath
4 stars With a two long car journeys and a half decent hifi system available last weekend, I had planned to listen to a dozen new albums but instead, I spent most time listening to Elephant9's 'Walk The Nile' quite a few times and with great pleasure.

Their 2008 'Dodovoodoo' delightfully borrowed from and skated all over the early jazz rock scene. From the handful of critics who bothered to write, a list of a dozen or so early influences were to be found across the resulting reviews. 'Walk The Nile' is more focussed. This is largely Hammond and or overdriven electric piano led music, which with its thrashing drumming results in what at first sounds like good old fashioned jazz rock but with something of the 21st century, that is difficult to nail. I tend to go along with Elephant9's label, Rune Grammofon's blurb wrt the citing and parallelling with the original Tony Williams Lifetime, although I would go further saying this recording has echoes of the Jack Bruce edition of the 'Turn It Over' period, especially with its dirty deep down thudding bass. But it is not a copy: the drumming as suggested, deliberately lacks the precision of the late Tony Williams so creating some of the degrees of separation. And whilst the Lifetime thing is more obvious in the shorter high speed tunes, the long slower tracks suggest psychedelia, such as the title track.

An album of high energy music, (and in view of my initial hearing, certainly drive time music), which I need a little time before deciding if this is going to impact on me to the same extent as Elephant9's first - my favourite album of 2008. But it is the best I've heard of its type this year.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second album of Norwegian band continues the line, started with their debut. Modern version of ELP with more jazzy sound . Vintage heavy jazz rock trio, but firmly growing on a modern ground. If their debut was more raw energy and organ passages, this, second one, is a bit more matured and better balanced. Possibly, the music missed a little bit of it's raw magnetism, but became more deep and a bit more different.

There on this album Norwegian trio doesn't dig deeper, but they went wider this time. Beside excellent vintage organ attacks they searching in not such stormy waters, with slower compositions, more dreamy and airy, sometimes even with psychedelic touches.

During last decade Scandinavian ( and mostly Norwegian) musicians became absolute leaders in progressive nu.jazz /nu.fusion. It is even more interesting to listen this version of old- new jazz rock, almost forgotten and very fresh again music, mixing jazz elements with raw roots of vintage progressive rock.

Very recommended.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is madness is a quote from famous recent movie, 300. Yeah, this is quite crazy ride through depths of insanity for some, but it's also very promising album that does things in their own way. This is important as fore-statement because from this, we can move on.

Comparison to ELP seemed funny to me at the first look but actually, there is a lot of truth in this statement, even I'm not expert on ELP or Elephant9. This is Prog Jazz.

Organs sounds unusually old, like if they opened the grave and used something from Prog Rock bands inventory.

Sad thing is that I suppose that some of you will find this so "weird" to comprehend or appreciate. I myself feels that previous two Jazz experts were far more happy with this one than I am, even I quite like it. When feeling in need of adventure, Progression as I understand it, I choose this album.

5(-), keyboard is the prominent instrument here, it's almost one man show for these wild solos.

Certainly grower. The more I listen it, the more I like it. When I feel like furious, I listen this. When I want something insane in a good way, I take this.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My first encounter with Elephant9 came after a track from Walk The Nile was included on the cd with the most recent edition of Classic Rock Prog. The track in question was Hardcore Orientale and being impressed by the Hammond fuelled mix of prog and jazz I had to investigate further.

Walk The Nile is the second album from the Norwegian trio and they create a pretty compelling sound. A driving and powerful rhythm section lays the ground with some jazz patterns yet played with a rock mentality that provides a solid foundation for the vintage keyboards; Hammond organ playing a major role alongside some electric piano.

The six compositions vary between the more energetic shorter tracks and the more experimental nature of the two longer pieces, the title track and Habanera Rocket. Walk The Nile features a largely repetitive and heavy rhythm section which underpins a droning Hammond which also subtlely solos over the top, creating musical textures rather than dazzling keyboard gymnastics. It does overstay its welcome slightly, not particularly going anywhere but enjoyable enough nevertheless. Habanera Rocket is the better of the two which creates more musical tension and moves through a more varying musical landscape.

As good as Habanera Rocket is I find Elephant9 more enjoyable on the shorter compositions. With less time for self indulgence they largely get straight to the point with some exciting and memorable instrumental interplay. This is perfectly demonstrated with the stabbing Hammond of opener Fugl Fønix, which also has some fine electric piano soloing and the up tempo shuffle of closer John Tinnick. Best of the lot though is the dynamic Aviation which from a restrained start builds to an edge of seat musical frenzy.

Overall Walk The Nile is an impressive instrumental collection, so much so in fact that I've made it a high priority to get to know their 2008 debut DodoVoodoo as soon as possible.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This congregation of keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen and drummer Torstein Lofthus is really something: individually coming from musical sources as diverse as free-jazz, metal-oriented RIO and indie pop-rock, collectively they created this magnificent jazz-prog monster that the world knows as Elephant9. Their 2010 album "Walk The Nile" is a firm candidate for membership in any objective Top 5 list of the year's progressive releases. Even though the title is a pun intended for the adage "walk the line", you could actually use the title as a symbol of what the album is essentially about: each track is based on a basic motif (the determined road they walk) that becomes fluidly expanded and/or distorted along the way (as if flowing through a river, the Nile perhaps). Unlike other prog albums that are tremendously focused on compositional schemes, Elephant9 states an abundantly clear ideology of letting the sound flow, grow and evolve in solid jams in order to establish suggestive moods: of course, as this is a power-trio, the moods usually tend to be explicitly powerful. Niacin is one of the most evident references for the band's writing and performing influences, but you can also spot traces from the 70s jazz-fusion tradition (pre-Pastorius Weather Report, mainly), as well as a generous dose of psychedelic ornaments and space-rock atmospheres sticking in for occasional good effect. The opening piece 'Fugl Fønix' installs an agile musical development over a vibrant 6/8 tempo: the trio displays its dynamic energy in full swing, but it is particularly drummer Lofthus who steals an important part of the limelight in the mix. 'Aviation' starts on a different note, introverted and mysterious, almost cosmic, based on minimal organ layers. The bass delivers hints of its forthcoming main line while the drums go rolling in as if building an air of expectation. It won't take long before the trio erupts into yet another demonstration of intense jazz-rock jamming. Once again, Lofthus' drum kit is very prominent in the mix, but it is in the deliveries emerging from Storløkken's keyboards where the track's neuralgic center lies. Track 3 is the eponymous one ? a 10 minute musical surprise whose sonic framework brings an expansion of languid spacey atmospheres. How can I even begin to describe this track's main features? Well, let me try this: a translation of moods from "Phaedra"-era TD and classic Cluster into the experimental drive of early Weather Report with added post-rock seasonings. I don't know if this description has any success at making at least a little sense, but that's the best I can do by now. Anyway, 'Walk The Nile' is a highlight of this album, I am quite certain about it. Next is 'Hardcore Orientale', which brings back the warmth and openly extroverted flair that had made the best of the first 2 pieces: this warmth is conquered after a crescendo that begins in an initial solemn place. 'Habanera Rocket' lasts almost ¼ hour, a long instrumental journey that starts hypnotic and ethereally groovy, not unlike the softer side of Agitation Free or Exmagma: the Eilertsen-Lofthus duo works like an impeccable machine whose monotonous loop efficiently helps to create a controlled atmosphere all the way toward the definitive exquisite groove (the second motif), which is when the keyboards draw grayish sonic figures all over the place. The aforesaid rhythmic scheme could not be surpassed by any synthesized program, no way! Shortly before the 10 minute mark, things grow into fusion territory with extra spacey colors (third motif): later on, a brief deconstructive section intrudes and reveals how well these three guys are capable of interacting in a free-jazz environment. The coda appears in the shape of a reprise of the second motif with enhanced psyched-out moods. The albums end with the 'John Tinnick', a groovy motif displayed on a frantic, architectonic rhythmic pace: an intense Hammond orgy until the end. Elephant9 bears one of the most abrasive sounds in the current progressive area: this sophomore album is undisputed proof of that, and so it is recommended as a very excellent item in any good prog collection.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars An interesting followup to their debut "Dodvoodoo". A lot more Hammond organ on this one at the expense of the Fender Rhodes unfortunately, but this still kills. It's not as intense overall either. The Hammond on here is absolutely nasty.

"Fugal Fonix" opens with some massive Hammond as drums come in pounding. Nasty stuff. Fender Rhodes takes the lead 2 minutes in. "Aviation" opens with some floating organ and lots of atmosphere. Bass around a minute. Cymbals 1 1/2 minutes in then drums as the organ turns evil. It all kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. The drumming is relentless. How good is this after 4 1/2 minutes ! A calm 7 1/2 minutes in. "Walk The Nile" opens with drums and organ. There's some wickedness bubbling under the surface. The organ is more outfront 2 1/2 minutes in. There's the wickedness 4 1/2 minutes in. I swear the organ is possesed. It's dark with tons of bottom end. Check out the ending !

"Hardcore Orientale" opens with drums that never slow down. Bass is prominant too. Keyboards join in as it plays out. Intense. "Habanera Rocket" is the longest track at around 14 1/2 minutes. It opens as if they've turned down the volume and it very slowly gets louder. It builds and builds then it kicks in before 7 1/2 minutes. It settles after 10 minutes with a Psychedelic mood. It then turns nasty after 13 minutes as the organ rips it up. "John Tinnick" is uptempo right out of the gate. Fender Rhodes is making some noise. Nice. Organ's turn as the drums and bass continue.

Another fantastic release from these talented Norwegians.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars You got to love how this album sounds, big pounding drums full of depth and attack, grinding Hammond organs wrenching out the eeriest possible sounds and a rumbling bass engaging in a twirling battle with the drums. These guys know how to interact musically and I wouldn't doubt a second to go and see them live in concert if I had the chance to do so. I'm sure they set the place on fire!

When it comes to the actual compositions, or rather improvisations, I'm less enthusiastic. The album is a great listen but it rarely leaves a lasting impression. The opener for instance translates ELP's Barbarian to a place 40 years further in time and it does that quite successfully, but it's still no match for the original. Also Hardcore and John Tinnick are two more short tracks that follow the same early ELP organ-heavy Gothic vibe. Great work.

Unfortunately, two of the longer pieces (Aviation and Habanera Rocket) quickly become a dull listen, despite the swinging drum and bass interaction. The endless organ jamming doesn't do it for me I guess. Walk the Nile on the other hand is magnificent and easily the album's highlight with its ominous spooky atmosphere. This song manages to maintain an unsettling tension for its full duration. The organ is remarkably more experimental and explorative here.

If we're talking modern power trios with drums, bass and then I'll have to place this album a level behind Guapo. The musical talent in the band is sure abundant, but they haven't managed to make their music satisfyingly memorable. I'm told the preceding album was stronger in that respect. Still, love that sound!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Prolific and seeming almost ubiquitous Swedish organ/keyboardist Ståle Storløkken first came to my attention with the attention he received here on PA with the release of this album. While not a great fan of trios, bluesy music, or organs as lead instruments, I have to admit that the songs and music on here are quite engaging, interesting, and laudable. Ståle's performances alone draw one in, whether it is his spacey play on the title song or the more traditional BRIAN AUGER-like blues-rock opener, "Fugle Fenix," the minimalist Kosmische feel of the opening two minutes and later sustained chord play of "Aviation," or the more jazzy KEITH EMERSON feel of "Habanera Rocket." Bassist Nikolai Eilertsen is steady and rarely flashy but he is the glue holding it all together. Drummer Torstein Lofthus is quite creative and always so smooth; I really enjoy just listening to his parts.

"Walk the Nile" (10:01) (19/20); "Aviation" (8:01) (13/15); "Habanero Rocket" (14:32) (25.5/30).

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Second album from this Norwegian instrumental Hammond-driven power trio, much in the same line of their debut, not least in the similar artwork department, despite being much less in the JR/F mode than before. Still depending on Storlokken's keyboard madness on two of prog's most legendary instruments, the Hammond organ and the Fender Rhodes electric piano (much-under used here), the group's music explodes with power from your speakers and grabs you by the gut as you're literally hypnotized by the generous growls of the organ, pushed by the powerful and driving (but not always refined) drumming from Lofthus and the rollicking and frolicking bass from Eilertsen.

Much like their previous album, the spectrum is relatively varied, ranging from an ELP-like workout Fugi Fonix, Hardcore Oriental (well I wouldn't call it far-east, either) and Aviation, to the much-slower intimate piece with the Hammond drones of the awesome almost- ambient and nightmarish title track, to a jammy-jazzy Habanera Rocket (don't ask;o))) and the over-powering closer. As a 70's vintage sounds freak, you'll find Walk The Nile a rather irresistible as it will flatter you eardrums into submissions by sending tingue of sonic orgasms directly into your frontal lobes.

Unfortunately, despite a fairly-wide spectrum and always enthralling power, what lacks in this album (and in retrospect to their debut) is a different colour, or an instrument to add and answers Storlokken's keyboards (something that also plagued his 'mentor' Emerson), maybe a guitarist or a wind player. Indeed, once the opening pleasure of discovering the album, by the fifth spin, it sort of becomes a little saturating to listen to it in a full session, because it's a bit too much of the same, because Storlokken doesn't switch enough instruments. The other remark I have is that the drumming might have been a bit more subtle at times (not as loud as well) and better recorded, especially at the start of the closing John Tinnick track, the only non-Storlokken composition.

While this album figured in my top 10 releases of 2010 (which is quite a compliment), it's not likely to make a lasting impression throughout the still-long decade to come, so I wouldn't call the album essential. But this doesn't make any less worthy of acquisition, if only for the sake of the odd musical orgasmic jolt you'll enjoy. Happy premature intellectual ejaculation.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I bought this album after a track was included on the cover CD of Classic Rock Presents Prog. That track caught my interest and this album certainly held it. Elephant9 are an entirely instrumental Keys-Bass-Drums trio playing with a heavy electric jazz-rock sound (think Medeski, Martin ... (read more)

Report this review (#279598) | Posted by JonnyM79 | Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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