HUMCRUSH with SIDSEL ENDRESEN: Ha! (Rune Grammofon)

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Posted on Oct 25th 2011 01:45 am

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Humcrush with Sidsel Endresen: Ha!

HUMCRUSH with SIDSEL ENDRESEN
Ha!
RCD2114
Rune Grammofon 2011
09 Tracks. 41mins37secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD

A singer with a totally unique and challenging vision who has developed improvisational techniques which invariably takes her way beyond language into territories where her voice becomes an extremely versatile and visceral instrument, Sidsel Endresen has worked extensively with Bugge Wesseltoft, recording three albums with him between 1998 and 2002, and has also collaborated with Nils Petter Molvær, Django Bates, Christian Wallumrød and Helge Sten, Jan Bang or Håkon Kornstad to name but a few. Here, she joins Humcrush, the duo formed of keyboard player Ståle Storløkken, who, although best known for his contribution to Veslefrekk and Supersilent, is also a driving force behind Elephant9 and Box, and drummer Thomas Strønen, who, beside his work alongside British saxophonist Iain Ballamy in Food, can be found performing as part of Meadow, the Maria Kannergaard Trio, the Mats Eilertsen Trio and recently Monsters And Puppets.

The trio have toured extensively in recent years, and this album, Humcrush’s fourth, document their performance at the Willisau Jazz Festival. Working almost entirely from wordless vocals, arranged for the most part in syncopated clusters of onomatopoeias as she responds to Storløkken’s keyboard textures and Strønen’s incredibly detailed percussion patterns and sparse electronics, Endresen fills much of the space purposely left free by the two, yet she remains very respectful of their unit and often pulls back to let them take the lead again, going as far as stepping out completely on Ha! 2, as Strønen builds a busy structure, tainted by discreet keyboard touches, and Ha! 8, which finds the two in somewhat much more reflective mood.

Elsewhere though, Endresen’s earthy voice occupies the extremely volatile space between keyboards, drums and electronics with aplomb. Her great capacity to listen and instantaneously adapt to whatever her collaborators throws at her are clearly thrilling to Humcrush who take her on a chaotic journey through fragmented pieces of varying density, from the fairly peaceful and minimal forms of Ha! 1 or Ha! 6 and the almost meditative ambiences of Ha! 3, Ha! 5 or Ha! 7 to the more sustained grooves of Ha! 4 and the exhilarating explosions of Ha! 9.

Thomas Strønen and Ståle Storløkken proceed with more subtlety here than on previous records, keeping their respective contributions under tight control for most of the record, but this actually opens up a new expressive path, which they investigate with clear delight. This results in a series of particularly beautiful minimal pieces which see Strønen building up some of his most complex rhythmic constructions to date, and Storløkken crafting some wonderfully atmospheric moments. These serve Sidsel Endresen extremely well, and while the existing partnership between Strønen and Storløkken is still very much palpable here, it is the relation between the three musicians and their incredible understanding of each other which gives this record all its depth and meaning.

4.8/5

Humcrush (MySpace) | Sidsel Endresen | Rune Grammofon
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD

 

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  1. [...] by Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, and more recently, she collaborated with Humcrush on the impressive Ha! Her latest project sees her teaming up with maverick guitarist Stian Westerhus, who occupies [...]