Reviews 2114

Over the course of three previous records, they´ve demarkated a unique patch of ground, pitting drums and live electronics against each other sounding at times like mid-2000s Autechre or the robot-spider funk of Nik Bärtsch´s Ronin, and at others like Tangerine Dream ... Endresen´s presence on several cuts makes the crucial difference here. Her performance on "4" is astonishing, easily the disc's high point. She repeats syllables and sounds manically, almost like a malfunctioning voice chip, at times recalling AGF. Her voice, though, is achingly human. Behind her, drummer Strønen pounds the kit faster and faster, building to almost drum´n´bass speeds while retaining free jazz´s time-fracturing complexity ... on the album´s ninth and final track the trio truly erupt, and it ´sa perfect climax to an unexpected and thrilling record.
The Wire (UK)

Endresen, with a thirty-year pedigree of extensive work behind her, is able to integrate fairly seamlessly into Humcrush´s musical vocabulary. The concert had been chopped into nine short, untitled pieces, varying in mood and texture. For a few of these Humcrush revert to their normal duo status as Storløkken and Strønen conjure eerie passages of creeping ambience, but the bulk of the recording features the new trio. Endresen huffs, gargles and wheezes, at times singing in excitable breathless tongues as Humcrush build a rattling head of steam which she responds and reacts to with impressive intuition, making this a collaboration which will hopefully be pursued further.
Rock-a-Rolla (UK) 

It grumbles, groans, makes a sound. The Norwegian exceptional singer Sidsel Endresen hardly uses correct words and sentences with meaning and syntax. Her language creations are based on a primal world of sounds, on little-researched laws of contemplation and ecstasy. And so Endresen's eruptions and sound research seem strangely archaic. Who knows to what extent she unconsciously adopts vocal techniques that are among the rituals between life and death in distant ethnic groups! At Humcrush w / Sidsel Endresen, old jazz dreams that turn in circles in love turn into unchecked forward drive. The outrageous plays a major role, and the certainty of good taste doesn't help. These furious unpredictabilities will not convince anyone from the Diana Krall fan club. But whoever thinks that jazz might be about other things than skilful rumination of nostalgia events in memoriam Ella Fitzgerald in high-gloss costume, this music will feel under your skin and it won't be a pillow to rest on. You can also tell really exciting stories with sounds beyond the language.
The time (DE)

It is hard to believe that the Norwegian experimental vocalist Sidsel Endresen once made her first merits as a front woman in a soul band in the 1980s. Since then, she has consistently embarked on ever crazier sound adventures, sometimes on the side of Django Bates, sometimes on the side of BuggeWesseltoft. From the very beginning, she has belonged to the narrowest circle of musicians trying to explore the possibilities of combining improvisation and electronics at the Kristiansand Point Festival. However, with her onomatopoeia, which has become a trademark, she has never ventured further into the abstraction of pure sounds than at the side of the electronica duo Humcrush. Behind them are keyboardist Ståle Storløkken and percussionist Thomas Strønen, who as Humcrush have already presented some filigree masterpieces.
Stuttgarter Zeitung (DE)

Humcrush is actually already a summit meeting, as a fusion of Ståle Storløkken, keyboarder at Supersilent, Elephant9, Bol, Arve Henriksen etc. and Thomas Strønen, drummer at Food, Meadow, the Mats Eilertsen & Maria Kannegard Trio etc. Ha! (RCD 2114) now brings another step up, namely her encounter with Sidsel Endresen at the Willisau Jazz Festival 2010. Yes, Ha! The final counter, which is also an attraction in itself, stands out among the vocalists because it offers something different than the usual tongue-tongue. She sings, but like a medium. Slurping, stuttering, she tries to articulate the sounds and syllables of an unknown language. If anything, this glossolal mouth painting reminds a little of Erika Stucky, especially Track 6, or Shelley Hirsch, especially Track 7. Her partners prepare her a bridal bed made of stippled, ticked, poached, ripped flakes with gamelan flavor and pillows made of a prepared piano sound or organ down. Or they rock passionately like Nordic satyrs, nature boys with electrified limbs. Strønen is a whispering gnome, Storløkken is a shapeshifter, a phantom in iridescent camouflage. Endresen gives the possessed, who does not have her tongue under control, sometimes hesitant, sometimes enthusiastic mouthpiece of another power. But then she also dictates her spells like one of the Sibyls or like Circe. Track 4 rocks as a primal troll dance. On track 5, the keyboards dream in electronic percussion dribbles, end counters breathe, virgin impregnated by the logos, in 'Ecce ancilla Domini' humility. Track 8 resembles a delicate organ meditation by Messiaen, gently rocked. The final counter, which has remained silent, climbs in again for a reel-like tongue-in-cheek finale, which Strønen rocks powerfully to Omega.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

What kept the visitors of the Willisau Jazz Festival in 2009 at a late hour works even more intensely on record: the improvisational encounter between the electro-acoustic duo Humcrush and the singer Sidsel Endresen. Here you get a concentrated selection of what this trio has explored on the border of analog and digital sound production in Willisau. It is a fascinating sound book with different chapters in which the sounds drip and trickle and shimmering rhythms switch on and fidget away in a matter of seconds. How rarely do these atmosphere specialists - Storløkken is the keyboarder of the Quartet Supersilent - succeed in weaving electronic and acoustic instruments into one another and thus generating fragile and captivating moods in which one hardly dares to breathe. Reverse beats roll over breakbeats, the drummer breaks through and the voice also gets going. But these are rather rare events. For a long time, the music on this album opens up like a calm river that flows calmly towards its destination, although it fidgets and twitches in the depths and misleads the strangest sounds along its banks. 4/5.
Jazz´n´More (DE)

In any case, the role model function of Sidsel Endresens is out of the question. Very consistently and without reproducing herself, as the most innovative European jazz singer, she makes her way into increasingly brittle soundscapes. It has always been somewhere else, while others are treading water. With the experimental duo Humcrush by drummer and electronics engineer Thomas Strønen and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, she performs avant-garde sound experiments, deconstructs abruptly in wordless sound paintings, builds sound mountains in front of sound machines. No song, nowhere, instead a shaman's voice calls over unsecured terrain. It casts a spell over the audience without pandering to them.
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