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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Strønen/Storløkken
Humcrush
Rune Grammofon

Rating: 7/10 ?


September 27, 2004
A Norwegian jazz academy sprouted from the hills of Trondheim, promptly making it a breeding ground for restive musicians. Here, it denotes the intersection at which Supersilent member Stale Storløkken befriended drummer Thomas Strønen, whose efforts in the lauded avant-jazz ensemble Food have recently spawned another fine addition to the Rune Grammofon, Humcrush: a set of improvised, jittery electronics and truculent jazz.

And, despite a predisposition towards improvisation, the proceedings are marked by cohesive structures, as though these were premeditated pieces of music unfolding along set paths, all the while maintaining a sense of spontaneity. As soon as one meets the opener, "Acrobat", one recognizes Stale Storløkken's patented sonic wiles - but they appear in a manner more playful and loose than his academic inclinations with Supersilent. Amidst Strønen's rolling drum patterns, snare swats and cymbal crashes Storløkken carefully plants his sloshy synth lines and warbling electric piano, until, as the piece progresses, these respective seeds sprout into a rather flamboyant din.

"Sport'n Spice" sallies forth on much the same route: crude electronics - where the sound shares a certain resemblance to someone feverishly spitting cashews into a metal bucket - mingle with scattered percussive shots to form a polyrhythm, whilst a simple, four-note keyboard motif holds these disparate elements more or less together.

What leaves a most indelible mark is how Humcrush attains variation in tempo, chance occurrences of displacement and empty space, while still crafting pieces that have the appearance of being meticulously crafted.

With this being said, not all pieces appear fully fledged - namely, "In The Cave", with its jumbled electronics, which sounds like a horde of coins shaken about in a plastic bag. For a while, the electronics surface only to fall back into hiding once again, as though unsure as to whether they ought to show themselves, but at long last they join hands with Storløkken's squall of keyboard noise. They lend something of a tangible shape and depth to the sound field, but by this point the piece has largely sung its song and makes little more progression.

More honorable are "Spectral Rock" and "Japan". At the onset of "Spectral Rock", crackling chimes are left largely on their lonesome to twinkle away intermittently, creating a wide-open sense of space which soon thereafter is followed by a dense weave of chirping electronics, filling the aural space like a horde of chanting monks. Meanwhile, "Japan" is marked by synths spooling woozy tonal waves behind choral samples, with building static coils of notes that vibrate like serpent DNA at the heart of the track.

Often, the effect is like a bird buzzing a hippopotamus, the electronics here, there and everywhere, the percussion static and sulky. The composition, just as many found within Humcrush, is impregnated by sci-fi, almost absurdist hues, especially in the wayward bleatings of Storløkken's horn and keyboard passages. Taken in consideration with the insidious, alien electronic commotion; Black Dice's Creature Comforts seems like brethren.

Much in the same manner, Humcrush presents an eclectic assortment of mischievous, seemingly chaotic sounds, flowering in a delectably melodic fashion. As an insightful rapprochement between improvisation and composition, Humcrush, though not without its pitfalls, succeeds admirably. Even more than this, these fruitful, at times roguish songs are simply a pleasure to which to listen.

Reviewed by Max Schaefer
Nocturnal qualms and eyes that brim like lamps betoken slender sketches, poetry and short stories strewn alongside piano playing, a fiddling of knobs and murmured dialogue with a medley of electronic gizmo\'s. A twenty-one year old person lodged within the University of Victoria, Max harvests organic sounds on a sullen sampler, watching water unwind like two broad lengths of ribbon and nursing a book below the canopy of a cheery-tree. Max believes that the world is made present by people\'s presence in it and that art is one such way in which a distinctive disclosure might be crafted.

See other reviews by Max Schaefer

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