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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Humus, Mexico

Humus - Whispering Galleries. 1999 W Dabliu (Italy)

It's been a long time since the CDRWL was sitting on a pile of rarities to report on. In the last year, I've focused my music time on newly created albums (I tell ya folks - the current progressive rock scene is as exciting as I can remember. There are a lot new bands that are absorbing the old days, but adding new twists. And I don't mean metal, indie, and techno either. I mean albums that sound like they were made in 1973 - except they aren't copying - but creating something completely anew within that context) as well as going through my existing collection and listening to albums I haven't heard in many, many years. On the latter, I've made feeble attempts to report them on my Unencumbered Music Reviews site with varying success (many albums get heard without the virtual pen being pulled out once - hey, what can I tell you, I'm lazy!). As for the former, I'm afraid I have a similar tale, though I've been amiss in publishing some of these that are already completed on my Under the Radar blog. As well, I finally managed to finish the Midwest Progressive Rock List which is published on RYM. That was an on-again, off-again project for over 6 months. And I still have a lot of work to do on it, as suggestions come pouring in. I suppose I should mention I really do have a day job, house, and a family, and that does manage to get in the way frequently with my playtime....

So where to start? Well, I think this Humus album is probably the most overdue. This has been sitting here for a year, and I finally got around to listening to it. The story began with a friendly conversation I had with Humus leader Jorge Beltran, after I had featured the brilliant 3rd and 4th albums by his band. My good friend Tristan Stefan over at ProgNotFrog was intrigued about my reviews of these albums and I put him in touch with Beltran, letting Tristan know that Humus has a 5th album that is impossible to find and one I wanted to hear as well. Jorge was kind enough to send it to him and allowed permission to post it. This lead to this excellent post by TS.

"Whispering Galleries" really is an obscurity. I was already a big fan of Humus in the 1990s and bought all of their albums as soon as they came out from any of the dozen dealers worldwide I dealt with. And this one never surfaced anywhere. It was pressed on the same Italian label as previous albums, but distribution was non-existent at the time. And to this day I haven't seen an original, though our Gnosismeister does possess one.

And of course it's never been pressed on CD. Which gets us here, doesn't it?

One primary characteristic of Humus that I picked up is that each successive album was more sophisticated than the last. Given the album covers, it almost seemed the band was evolving in a Darwinian state. And as TS so eloquently states in his blog piece, the cover here is astounding. While I wouldn't necessarily say "Whispering Galleries" has taken this to a new level of complexity (not even sure how they would do that honestly), I would say this is a nice sideways move for the band. The guitar trio arrangements are still dizzying complex, and Humus continues to possess that unique primo-era Sensations' Fix space rock vibe. Amongst the more standard Humus fare, there is an atmospheric/experimental keyboard piece, a female vocals number with some splendid electric blues guitar soloing, a modern interpretation of what seems like a Group 1850 improvisation, and an all-in 22 minute space rock number. Must listen TV here.

Priority: 2

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