Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

153

Humcrush with Sidsel Endresen: Ha!

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
That so many artists can place themselves in a position of ultimate risk on a concert stage, attempting to create something from nothing, speaks of a certain intrepid spirit. That some of those same artists not only succeed at pulling form from the ether, but actually do so night after night, with a distinct and recognizable voice, speaks of something even more special. Not every night is equally successful, however, and between cell phones and YouTube, artists have lost control over deciding what is worthy of permanent documentation. Of course, what constitutes worthy by the artists and their fans may be two very different things; but at the end of the day, artists always deserve the right to determine how their music gets out into the world.

Humcrush—the now seven year-old collaboration of keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Elephant9) and percussionist Thomas Strønen (Food, Meadow) has been collaborating with singer Sidsel Endresen for a couple years now, delivering a particularly strong set at the 2011 Oslo Jazz Festival. But it was their 2010 show at Switzerland's WIllisau Jazz Festival that provided the perfect grist for Ha!, where a largely continuous performance has been broken out, in post-production, into nine discrete pieces—each with their own shape but collectively creating a narrative different than what went down, yet standing as a better permanent document of this fearless improvising trio.

Endresen's unique form of improvising—based on small vocal cells honed to perfection and subsumed into a larger vernacular that combines melody, distinctly unvocal-like extended techniques and a spoken language that would likely blow up Babel Fish, yet functions with its own logic and cadence—has been advancing in leaps and bounds recently, both alone and in duo with enemy-of-orthodoxy guitarist Stian Westerhus and symphonic solo saxophonist Hakon Kornstad. But with Humcrush, she gets the chance to explore music of a more decidedly rhythmic nature, though the pulses Strønen and Storløkken create are as likely to be staggered and jittery as they are settled in any kind of continuous groove.

Between Storløkken's remarkable control—his tones as spontaneous as the notes played—and Strønen's frightening ability to sample his own kit, reprocess it and feed it back into the mix at the speed of light, Endresen is working in a significantly different context, one as rooted in Oliver Messiaen and György Ligeti as anything else. What's most impressive about these nine constructed tracks, ranging from just under two minutes to a gradually unfolding nine, is how these three players respond to each other with nanosecond precision, whether it's Endresen reacting to a single drum hit that Strønen samples and returns as a rapidly increasing echo, or the singer's oblique melody driving Storløkken's haunting dissonance which, in turn, inspires Endresen to follow as if it were planned all along.

While not exactly for the faint-at-heart, Ha! remains an absolutely inspired and inspiring set for those capable of leaving convention behind, forgetting about what Humcrush isn't, and celebrating what it is: improvised music with a paradoxical combination of reckless abandon and an unmistakable and underlying sense of purpose.

Track Listing: Ha! 1; Ha! 2; Ha! 3; Ha! 4; Ha! 5; Ha! 6; Ha! 7; Ha! 8; Ha! 9.

Personnel: Ståle Storløkken: keyboards; Thomas Strønen: drums, electronics; Sidsel Endresen: voice.

Title: Ha! | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Ha!

Ha!

Rune Grammofon
2011

buy
Rest at Worlds End

Rest at Worlds End

Rune Grammofon
2009

buy
 

Rest At Worlds End

Rune Grammofon
2008

buy
 

Rest At World's End

Rune Grammofon
2008

buy
 

Hornswoggle

Rune Grammofon
2006

buy
Humcrush

Humcrush

Rune Grammofon
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019