HUMCRUSH: Hornswoggle (Rune Grammofon)
Rune Grammofon 2006
08 Tracks. 42mins45secs
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When they recorded their debut album together, one time Food drummer Thomas Strønen and Supersilent keyboard player Stâle Storløkken still operated under their own name, but by the time the album came out, they had adopted its title, Humcrush, as their nom de guerre. This, at the time, caused some confusion to who was what, yet, the album was leaving no doubt to the two men's chosen direction. Humcrush (the album) confronted Strønen's and Storløkken's parallel sonic worlds in very playful fashion as the pair developed a series of improvised pieces. While the music challenged the mind, it proved impossible to resist the sheer energy and joy that exulted from this debut collaboration.
Cyborg II, which opens this second album, immediately sets the tone. A seemingly gentle hypnotic improvisation, it hides a rather frenetic rhythmic set up which manifests itself with repeated convulsions as it snakes it way to the exotic and syncopated title track that follows. Here, Strønen’s drumming becomes more prominent while Storløkken draws exotic arabesques in the foreground. Seersucker shows similar signs of adrenalin rush although the pace appears slightly more contained. In between, Anamorphic Images explores a much sparser and delicate series of soundscapes, which, at times, relates to Strønen’s solo effort of earlier this year. Echoes of gamelan collide with colourful experimental jazz to form rather sumptuous and grainy structures.
With Grok and Knucker, Humcrush veer into surgical micro grooves and expressive minimal melodic formations as the album reaches its experimental peak and the listener faces various rhythmic conflagrations and dense soundscapes. From thereon, the album returns to somewhat quieter territories as the two concluding tracks delve into more introvert soundscapes. Humcrush adopt on this last stretch a gentler pace and let melodies flourish over intricate percussive constructions and shapeless sonic expanses.
While Humcrush’s debut had the endless energy and friskiness of a young pup, this sophomore effort shows a strikingly more mature and contained approach, yet this is not to say that the pair have lost any of their original playful vision. It is simply more structured here and only contributes to Hornswoggle being thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.