By Darren Bergstein
This sure as hell ain’t your mother’s Humcrush. The duo of Ståle Storløkken and Thomas Strønen aren’t fooling around on this, their fifth outing under the Humcrush moniker, and after their four previous recordings, this one’s a proverbial doozy. It’s as if they’ve thrust everything that is Supersilent, Food, and the half-dozen other collectives they’ve been a part of into the blender, added a liberal dosing of spikier Krautrock, and stirred it all up with a spoon colored the tint of psychedelia. No matter: Enter Humcrush is the work of two artists who’ve experienced one too many electric shock treatments and had their artistic sensibilities rewired in some gnarled, twisted way.
Actually, as the tracks on Enter Humcrush unfurl (or is that erupt?), it’s clear that S&S haven’t done a rethink — they’ve simply altered the template of Supersilent’s abstract improvisation to uncover the strata of rock that’s always limned its firmament. Earlier Humcrush recordings, as eclectic and exploratory as they were, managed a complex interplay of texture and nuance, where tangential underpinnings of ‘jazz’ (in the most avant sense) provided graspable anchors. Despite this, theirs was a music of comprehensive intrigue and nominal ideation, ‘free’ in the sense that the fabric of improvisation opened up fundamental areas where both musicians could roam, each indulging the other’s fanciful whims but mindful of the hivemind’s required focus. This approach opened up vast new worlds to conquer.
Enter Humcrush makes no such bones about subtlety or finesse; texture is still paramount to the duo, but splayed out on a canvas that’s infinitely more corrosive, hyper-energized, and invested in making one helluva strident noise. Never mind the organic sonic laboratories of Humcrush recordings past: this one’s allowed the infernal beast to escape, laying waste across the highlands, the moors, the inner city. Had Last Exit and Lifetime been able to abuse 21st century digitalia and repurposed analog technologies, they’d be splitting the bill as Humcrush’s brothers-in-arms; tracks such as “Puncture” and “Salvare” are like dying machines thrashing about, their pistons hissing amidst oil splatter and its widening, iridescent circles. Strønen’s drumming is indeed a force of nature, punching vast holes through the concrete of Storløkken’s overdriven pedal boards and sputtering electronics. As the duo gazes upwards to the heavens on the CD cover, it’s unclear if they’re anticipating holy communion or the arrival of interplanetary visitors. Either way, this wild, unpredictable, transcendent recording is just the ticket.