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Crossover Prog • Norway

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Elephant Plaza biography
Norwegian Progressive Rock band ELEPHANT PLAZA's debut album 'MOMENTUM' began as a 2-piece project in 2006. Espen MIKARLSEN (Guitars) and Gilbert MARSHALL one day started loosely jamming an idea for a song in our studio, Progstock Studio, and this should later turn into our first song ''NAKED''. After arranging the songs, drums and bass, additional guitars and vocals also were added in spite of various setbacks over the next years (amongst them, a great fire which burned down the whole studio in 2010).

In several sessions both 2012, 2015 and early 2016, we were able to gather guest singers and musicians for individual vocal and instrumental sessions in Cakehouse Studio (in which we were granted free studio time as a most generous gesture after the fire) and Gilbert MARSHALL´s and Kim CHRISTIANSEN´s private recording lairs. These sessions were absolutely marvellous and wonderful. We had asked the singers and musicians years ago and still everyone was still enthusiastic and willing. Absolutely fantastic generous people with absolutely stunning performances.

The album was mixed during February, March and April 2016, and is finally mastered by Hoffe Stannow at Cosmos Mastering in Stockholm, Sweden in May 2016. Stockholm is also the home of Progress Records.

The music was made simply by wanting to spontaneously pour our hearts out musically and lyrically. Just to see what came out with no specific agenda or style. From the moment of jamming those first simple riffs, throughout the massive production that this turned out to be, we have really only wanted to create something that we felt resonate with the musical longings and cravings within ourselves, to make good music and lyrics with emotions and stories that both others and ourselves can relate to.

Biography provided by Black Diamond and used with permission

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ELEPHANT PLAZA discography

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3.89 | 17 ratings

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 Momentum by ELEPHANT PLAZA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 17 ratings

Elephant Plaza Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This album started life as long ago as 2006, when Espen Mikarlsen (guitars) and Gilbert Marshall (Magic Pie), electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, lead vocals, started jamming along to an idea. This led to the song 'Naked', and the idea that possibly they ought to make this into a full project. Recording took place when they had the time, and the opportunity to bring other musicians into the project, but neither could devote as much time as they wished due to other responsibilities (including the ongoing success of magic Pie). But gradually they were getting somewhere, until in 2010 the building where their studio was situated was burned to the ground, and it took until 2012 to get everything sorted and work could commence again.

In 2013 Espen decided that he could no longer contribute to the project, but Gilbert was determined to keep it going to fruition, pulling together a full band that could perform live, and eventually the album was released through Bandcamp in June 2016, as well as being released on CD by Progress Records. I was sent a copy just a few weeks ago, and was somewhat surprised to discover its existence, and I would expect an album of this quality (and especially with the large Magic Pie connections) would have made large ripples within the progverse. But, it's here now, and it has been a joy to listen to. Gilbert has been joined in this endeavour by Kim Christiansen (lead electric & acoustic guitars, vocals), John Kamphaug (Magic Pie, bass, vocals), Olav Rygg (Magic Pie Sound Tech, drums, percussion, vocals), John Petter S'terdal (keyboards, vocals) and Jan-Fredrik Heier (keyboards, vocals) as well as plenty of guests.

As one would expect from an album involving members of Magic Pie, the vocals are wonderful, with great harmonies, and musically this brings in influences from Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues along with great pop sensibilities. There are even elements with female vocals that it sounds as if Lana Lane and Erik Norlander are in the house! This is an incredibly well-polished and accessible progressive rock album, and it never comes across either as a project or something that was so fraught, taking ten years to finally be released. It is something that any proghead who hearkens back to the music that easy to listen to, but never easy listening, played by masters who never see the need to show off, but who can all take the lead when the time is right, will surely get a great deal from. This is a stunning debut, and let's only hope that the now they are a functioning outfit and have it out the way that they get on with recording and releasing another! Superb.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition.

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