HUMI – Dune

Humi was a duo formed by the late Hugh Hopper (bass, loops and electronics) and Yumi Hara Cawkwell (voice, keyboards and percussion). Concerning the latter, I remember having detested her vocalizations in another release on this imprint – Upstream with Geoff Leigh – so the nastiest thoughts were starting to materialize in my mind. Luckily, though Dune – released in 2008 – didn’t really manage to stir me up, it is in any case much better than that. This is due to its relative weirdness, explicated via a difficult-to-classify kind of improvisation that sees the protagonists meshing jazzy echoes (especially in regard to Cawkwell pianism), the trademark touch of Hopper on his beloved instrument, and bizarre concatenations of abstract noises, superimposed repetitions by means of a digital delay, backward tape-like effects, ritual chant – still rather unacknowledged here – and, particularly in the record’s second half, absurd “tunes” drenched with retro features (a vocoder???) and electronic sounds that are both amusing and tacky, a sort of soundtrack to a third-level horror movie. Yet one is attracted by the perverted charm of some of these eccentric tracks, unremarkable but at the same time endowed with a trait of uniqueness. At the end of the day, it all amounts to an interesting enough record, an oddity worthy of being heard. (Moonjune)

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