Album Review

Untitled [coll] – [Humbug]

abacus   2/26/2014   A Library, CD


The Humbug label out of Norway started in 2001 and released close to 100 releases, mostly very limited CDRs and other handmade goodies, before dissipating and/or going on hiatus in 2011 and cater primarily to the Norwegian underground experimental scene, from noise to electronic to improv. In 2010 the label head went on to open a Cafe in Stavanger under the same name that has become a central hub for performing experimental music in the region, on top of being a record store and coffeshop. The compilation here was started early on in the label life but completed in 2004 and is meant to be a showcase of the DIY aesthetic of the Norwegian underground in late 90s early 2000s. Lots of odd sounds ranging from ancient funeral drones to circus pop drowning in radio static. Not a lot of ‘harsh’ noise per se, other than Lasse Marhaug’s projects Nordic Miracle that grants all apocalyptic desires. Equally unnerving is his solo piece, an inconsistent buzz that doesn’t know top from bottom or start from finish. Mostly just ear tickling odd sounds, like the retinal brain scans of Test and Collagoll or the flacid balloon chime migraine on Kommode. Some artists like HOH, Dr. Poliakov, and the Detonators evoke mangled guitars toppling about themselves. Several found sound featurettes make appearances also. The icing on the cake is indeed the pixie pop trips that close each CD, a pleasant liquid release to the broken roller coaster rides of each CD. A wide variety that any adventurous soul can find their path on, as challenging as it all is. Easy listening for difficult people. Dig in

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