Replete with bands who weave jazz, modern composition, and electronic music, the Rune Grammofon label captures a thriving scene of Norwegian improvisers and composers who work incessantly and incestuously. It makes sense, then, that Humcrush's second album should sound like a retread.
Both drummer Thomas Strønen and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken are well known for their work with other bands — Strønen plays with Food and Storløkken with Supersilent — and it's hard not to hear this record as an extension of their previous work. The CD collects 11 improvisations (there's another seven tracks on the vinyl version) that highlight the duo's strengths: Strønen is a graceful drummer who dissects (IDM style) groove-based beats highlighting the counter-rhythms at work in the spaces between downbeats, and Storløkken dabbles forcefully with chord-based melodies that explore odd synth patches and suggest mood rather than structure — think Aphex Twin's ambient works crossed with Wendy Carlos's Clockwork Orange soundtrack.
Gorgeous music, but the sounds and the techniques explored here are clean and comfortable, with no accidents to lead the musicians toward a new dialogue. On an improvised record, one might hope for a bit more risk.