20 Sep 2021
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Hummucide - Single Review: Exothermic Feat. Luca Sturny

06 May 2021 // A review by David McGurk
Hummucide’s 2020 self-titled EP was a collection of older pieces written by the group in high school. It highlighted the quality of the musicianship but felt more like a collection of reigned-in jam sessions than precise compositions. Their new single Exothermic feels more considered. It was written in response to New Zealand’s lockdown killing the energy normally transmitted between audiences and musicians. The concept results in a focused piece that shows a band maturing.

Drummer Lennox Grootjans channels Yussef Dayes and, along with the ghostly bass of Hugo Olsen-Smith, constructs a foundation rooted in the mid-2010’s London jazz scene. Exothermic twists skillfully on this base through a garden path of different time signatures; it’s easy to forget that most of the piece is in 7. A luscious guitar solo at the 2-minute mark from guest collaborator Luca Sturny is a highlight so I hope Hummucide collaborate with him again in the future. A touch more kick drum in the mix may have added some punch to the warm edges, but otherwise the recording sounds full and clear – a triumph considering it was tracked in the lounge of keyboardist Ben Stewart’s parents. While Exothermic doesn’t have urgency of Yussef Kamaal’s Black Focus (nor should it), the influence is evident. I wonder if Hummucide will take note from Dayes’ brilliant recent collaboration with Tom Misch and consider featuring vocalists in future work.

Exothermic’s artwork features a grainy angular photo taken by Stewart of concrete walls and rusted steel. An odd pair of gangly creatures painted in by saxophonist Toby Leman looks like something Stanley Donwood might have hidden in background of The King of Limbs. It’s a striking cover that moves away from the floral symmetry of Hummucide’s earlier artwork and is a fitting change; an evolution in imagery running parallel with a maturing sound.

Three of the four members of Hummucide are in Dr.Reknaw, a group of Wellington regulars and jazz school alumni playing earthy reggae music. Having lived through one too many waves of Kiwi reggae I have had my fill of it, but that is the great thing about Wellington’s tight-knit jazz scene - our small group of versatile musicians with their hands in several pies can find different audiences for different projects. I am far more interested in hearing what Hummucide does next.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Hummucide

Born out of the thriving music scene in Te Aro, Wellington, Hummucide is a four-piece minimalist-rock-jazz group. From BadBadNotGood to Aphex Twin to Yussef Kamaal, their influences come from far and wide. Their goal is to get you dancing and feeling something special.

The band comprises of Toby Leman on saxophone (Dr. Reknaw, Revulva, General Vibe), Ben Stewart on keyboard and synths (Sky Canvas, Dr. Reknaw), Lennox Grootjans on drums (Dr. Reknaw) and Hugo Olsen-Smith on bass (O and the Mo, Evolving Wilds). They all started out at the prestigious Te Koki NZSM, before traveling their own musical roads and coming back together to form the Hummucide sound.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hummucide

Releases

Hummucide
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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