Hüm – ‘don’t take it so personally’ – London Jazz News
Hmm- don’t take it so personally
(Losen Records. Album review by Rob Mallows)
First albums. A big deal for any band or musician. Get it right and capture your audience’s imagination, and you’re on your way to something special. If you get it wrong, life gets a lot harder later on.
don’t take it so personally is the debut album by a Norwegian trio new to me, the obliquely named Hüm (no, I have no idea; Google Translate said “Huh?”). I’m happy to say that, based on these nine tracks, the band – Bojan Marjanovic at the piano, Bjornar Kaidefoss Tvelte on bass and Magnus Sefaniessen on drums – has a lot to offer.
The album opens languorously, almost dismissively with Dream beliefsa slight piece without a real rhythmic center which serves rather as appetizers to the rest of the album
Hmm is, according to the album notes, “where European jazz tradition meets contemporary music”, and that’s exactly what I heard on Kringsjå blah, with its carefully constructed main theme and soaring low-end bass. Within a tightly composed superstructure, on this track and others, the three musicians have ample opportunity to head out into the badlands and see what they find. Tvelte’s solo on this second track is particularly complete. When Marjanoviç kicks in, he produces thrilling gravity-defying ups and downs in and around chords, but as a listener, you never feel like you’ve lost touch with what each is. piece.
title track don’t take it so personally is charming, if a tad unadventurous, but Twelte’s bass solo – again – is top-notch, but be warned: the mix will provide a real workout for your speaker cones.
after hours has a trippy bass vibe reminiscent of the wee hours of the morning, over which Marjanoviç picks out rich, chosen chords that focus on his limbic system as the melody wanders pleasantly over Sefaniessen’s economical but insistent stickwork.
More of the same on Sedmaya until mid-song the trio throws a rhythmic handbrake turn and the mood changes brilliantly.
arctic ice has the simplest of top hat designs under which Tvelte’s bowed bass and Marjanoviç’s piano play a simple, eerie melody in unison. Stripped down, sparse, but full of punch.
As for jazz vocabularies, the one used by Hüm on this album is powerful and full of idiomatic surprises. The line between composition and exploration is brilliantly opaque, so one can reasonably expect this band to be a lot of fun live. Like any piano trio, the inevitable EST comparison is always there in the background.
Hmm may also share three letters in their name, but they seem to have enough musical moxy to dig their own groove and stand out in what is a burgeoning market for contemporary piano trios.