Humcrush - Hornswoggle
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In a somewhat confusing turn of events, drummer Thomas Strønen (Food and other groups, he also released his debut solo album Pohlitz last year ) and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent and other groups) have adopted the name of their first album for their new group name. On their first album, they simply were identified by their respective last names, but on their newest release Ho rnswoggle, they are now known as Humcrush. If that's not all completely clear, it will be when you hear the release, as it's another slab of android jazz, with weird analogue synths bending around filtered percussive workouts.

As with their first album, the group always seems to make it sound like there are more than just two people playing these tracks. This time out, eight songs run just over forty minutes in length, and while the duo continues in largely the same manner that they did on their debut, there are a few nice wrinkles as well. "Cyborg II" opens the album, and is one of several tracks on the release that clock in near seven minutes in length. In the track, sparse filtered percussion dances around spooky synths, and a slow-burn intro turns into rattling second half, as humming drones stretch out over clattery percussion.

The album-titled "Hornswoggle" is much more dramatic, launching some insanely rhythmic synth melodies over already highly active drums for something that's intent on splitting heads for just over four minutes. "Anamorphic Images" takes things down a notch, with sparse, chromatic synth tones and percussive sounds that range from metal drums to broken music boxes. It's soothing and a bit disorienting at the same time.

"Grok" is one of several tracks on the release that makes it sound like evolved humanoids are at the controls. As crazy percussion sprays everywhere, the duo changes direction about every thirty seconds and turn in some sort of math jazz funk workout that sounds just about perfect for the Stranger In A Strange Land-referencing track title. The follower of "Knucker" doesn't back off a bit, as sharp analogue notes puncture the already frantic beats and quick moments of silence play just as big of a part as the almost robotic music itself. Even though the group cools their jets just a bit for the more heady closing couple of tracks, Hornswoggle is one of those releases that could have only come from the young, fertile, and inventive Scandinavian post-jazz (or something) scene. At times swarming, and nearly always engaging, it's another stunning release from the young duo, and another awesome album from Rune Grammofon.

rating: 810
Aaron Coleman 2006-09-21 20:37:38