Monday, February 23, 2009

Humcrush - Rest At Worlds End

Rest At Worlds End
(01.2009, Rune Grammofon)
RIYL = Supersilent, Elephant9, MoHa!, spaceship synths

Improvisation is sticky territory reserved for only the most adept musicians. At surface level it is both exciting and infuriating. In one sense, you think to yourself: ‘why in the world would I want to listen to someone randomly noodling away on any instrument in order prove some sort of musical dexterity?” It is a fair question, and one that I think applies to a great majority of improvisation. Most people simply are unable to be engaging on the fly. However, for those who are the opposite is true. In the face of shear nothingness, a creative and musically proficient artist can mold nothingness into a mind stretching something that somehow equates to more than any amount of focused composition could. The intrinsic immediacy of the music turns into a vibrant force, adding colour to a previously blank page. The difficulty is avoiding the craftiness of Bob Ross in favor of the ingenuity of Robert Rauschenberg. It’s a thin line, and one all the more beautifully walked when the number of musicians is multiplied (at least when they gel). Humcrush, one of the many talented improvisational acts hailing from the stables of Rune Grammofon, is a duo of drumming maestro Thomas Strønen and keyboard contortionist Ståle Storløkken. Rest At Worlds End is culled from live recordings, however, the clarity is such that this fact is somewhat irrelevant. Incorporating heavy doses of genius on both melodic and percussive fronts, on Rest At Worlds End, Humcrush have signaled themselves as one of the better acts on Rune Grammofon, which, for those who’ve followed the Scandinavian super-label, is quite an impressive achievement. The wonderful thing about this latest record is how Strønen and Storløkken effortlessly transition between brain scrambling instrumental blitzes and soulful, meandering atmospherics. I really can’t get enough of it – lately when I find myself burnt out on everything else on my iPod, Rest At Worlds End is the go-to album to cleanse my palette and rejuvenate my listening patterns.

-Mr. Thistle

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