Humbros | From 0 to 90
July 31st 2020
Phantom Limb announce the signing of French experimental duo Humbros for their debut album From 0 To 90. Formed from percussion and electronics, Humbros’ fried, fourth world-inspired, instrumental minimalism opens gateways to hazy, esoteric mythologies.
Having formed over ten years ago, as teenagers, Nantes duo Simon (electronics and sax) and Charles Dubois (percussion) construct the music of Humbros on a semi-improvised framework. Rhythmic patterns, samples and melodic phrases act as marker points along each piece’s winding, free-flowing narrative, a musical communication honed over their years of collaboration to reach From 0 to 90’s clairvoyant levels of improvisational understanding.
The record’s wealth of exploratory sonics stems from Humbros’ unique combination of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Simon and Charles line up recogniseable toms, congas, bells, and exotic wind instruments alongside a cryptic treasury of more curious artefacts: sound-distorting mirrors, wood, skins, metals, voice processors, and percussive stringed instruments. Combined with Simon's modular synthesis and treated saxophone, this journey from heady, pulsating polyrhythms to sparse, chirruping insects of tropical concréte digs deep into hypnotic, meditative textures (they are never “jams”) whilst maintaining a deeply philosophical, conceptual relationship with the energies generated.
Constantly positioned in an intersection, in balance between acoustic and electronic sound, Humbros acts as an exploration of the “in-between”, produced by the marriage of two distinct timbral approaches. They sit between repetitive minimalism and illuminative free-jazz; between angular patterns and lysergic, dripping textures; human fragility and sci-fi sound-design.
From 0 to 90 was recorded over the duration of a week at the end of 2019. Working in their own self-constructed studio, Simon and Charles set about creating a record relatively lighter and quieter than their live performances. Stacking textures, landscapes, structures and “lots of objects hitted with stuffs of all kinds”, the album traces the evolution of living beings - the numbers of its title refer to the angles at which organic life has been orientated, from crawling to standing. “We have passed through different shapes, landscapes and elements (a wispy swamp, an aquarium, a wet skate park, a thick cloud, a medieval kennel…),” they write.
Spending much of their musical career more visible in concert than in recording, Humbros have experienced - and reflected on the theory and the form of - the live performance as a medium since their inception. They have performed in a multitude of concert formats: nightclubs, village halls, an empty highway bridge, abandoned factories, art galleries, vineyard cellars, festivals and across France’s vibrant network of DIY venues. Their first recorded works - the self-recorded demo Night of the Toacas - emerged on Bandcamp in 2018 and immediately caught the ear of Phantom Limb’s A&R department.