Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke is a certified fan and it's easy to see why.
Double-tracked with a ghostly haze of background fuzz, Hedvig Mollestad's lightning-rod guitar blazes a trail that comes in the wake of the heaviest guitar giants - there's Hendrix and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Led Zep's Jimmy Page swirling around the cauldron, but also the exploratory, disciplined freeplay of Pete Cosey, John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana buzzing out of her fingertips.
Together with drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad and bassist Ellen Brekken, her Trio capture the full force of heavy rock and electric jazz and turn it to demonic purposes.
It can be sledgehammer sludge, stoned to a crawl as on Arigato, Bitch'. Or it's nimble as a phantom on Rastapopoulos', a dizzying churn that's named after the archvillain of Hergé's Tintin cartoons. And for the Mollestad Trio at its intuitive, ESP-connected finest, check Liquid Bridges'.
1. Laughing John
2. Arigato, Bitch
3. Liquid Bridges
5. La Boule Noire
6. Pity The Children
‘Elephantasia’ is a glorious folk opus from 1972, long lost and attaining a legendary reputation for its candour and creativity, from the late Bangor-born singer/songwriter Dave Evans. Finally, the LP sees the light of day again via Earth Recordings, it is a true gem from the vaults of British folk history. For fans of Nick Drake, Bill Fay and Davy Graham – with a touch of Michael Chapman, Bert Jansch and Fahey for good measure.
Dave Evans’ story is like a Pinter play; he sailed the seas in the merchant navy, was taught guitar in a brief interlude by the “mythical” Morocco John, wound up sharing a room with Steve Tilston in 1963 when they attended Loughborough Art College and ran the local folk club, while learning to make stringed instruments, the art of wine making and ceramics. Over the next year, Dave got a domestic 2-track reel-to-reel tape recorder and experimented with its two speeds to produce the tracks ‘Elephantasia’ and ‘Lady Portia’. He pulled in members of local prog band Squidd, including latter day Hawkwind member Steve Swindells on keyboards, John Merritt on bass and Rodney Matthews on drums, who also designed the ‘Elephantasia’ album cover, and went on to become a renowned fantasy artist.
‘Elephantasia’ the album was originally released in 1972, fully exposing Dave’s finger picking style, lilting vocal and his dalliance with the tape manipulation. It sold around 2000 copies and over the years became a talked about rarity, deemed too progressive for folk, too folk for the new prog heads. In best plot-thickening style, Dave tried two more releases and then disappeared. The scant sleeve notes recounted the songs’ creation, featuring tales of experimentation in sound inspired by elephants, old memories recounted with all of the unpleasant bits edited out, storylines for escapists, the residents of St Agnes Park, broken beauty queens and a fat feline. It’s an eclectic but beautifully fluent narrative from a finger picking maestro with a warm and engaging vocal style that wowed Peel and Whispering Bob back in the day.Dave Evans sadly died in April 2021. Earth Recordings is proud to reissue ‘Elephantasia’ for the first time in over 50 years, in collaboration with his estate and original Village Thing producer Ian A. Anderson.
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