Elektrum- "Live at the Opera" (Elektrum 1998, ELE2002)
From Aural Innovations #6 (April 1999)
Elektrum are a three-piece band made up of Claus Bohling on guitar, who used to play with legendary Danish bands Hurdy Gurdy and Secret Oyster. On bass, is Ian MacDonald, who has played with Ginger Baker. The drummer is a young guy named Darren Haydon who has played with Matt Parkin of Jesus and Mary Chain. Together the band play a mostly instrumental psychedelic mixture that is best described as the Ozric Tentacles without the synthesizers. This is really not giving the band it's due credit, as they are fabulous musicians and Claus really rips it up on the guitar, utilizing a combination of wah, delay, and phazer to give a great spacey sound. This CD was recorded live at the Operan Club in Christiana in Kobenhavn (Copenhagen in English!). I have been very fortunate to have seen this great band 4 times last year as they come to tour in Denmark twice a year. The band are often accompanied by a psychedelic light and image show put on by some of their friends who used to do the lights in the old Hurdy Gurdy days! As for the CD, it starts off with the great 13 minute Jungle Juice. Claus plays some really spacey guitar with some delay on it to open the tune. It has an almost flamenco feeling before the digeridoo played by Darren fades in. Claus slowly builds the guitar up until the bass line thickens and Darren jumps behind the drums and the band is off!!! Claus is a great guitar player and has honed his tone over the years to perfection. A man who could not live without a wah pedal! Red Lead is up next and is a sort of Dub style tune where Claus really takes the guitar into space!! Hinterland is one of the bands heaviest and Claus really rips it up on the guitar and wah. This could be called the wah wah song!!
Opus 9 opens with a driving wah sound and really kickin' bass and drum line. Again some more ripping leads on this one. This song has sort of an Eastern feel to it. In the middle of this song Ian plays a flute and djembe drum and Claus takes off the guitar and plays a djembe drum, and they have a real percussive jam while Ian chants (habiiiib). Totally excellent! Stonefish has this incredible heavy funk bass line in which Claus plays a funky guitar before just going off into space and ripping it up again. Ian provides a bass solo as well. Elektrum is another heavy guitar song like Hinterland with lots of burning leads and wah guitar. Popocatepetl ends the CD. This is one of the bands best compositions. The main complaint some people have leveled at the band is that the songs sound too much a like. This band shows a lot of promise and I really look forward to seeing them again in the coming months.
Contact c/o Elektrum, Poste Resistante, Bude Post Office, MSPO, Bellevue, Dube, Cornwall, UK.
Reviewed by Scott Heller