Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Humus - Whispering Galleries 1999

What an incredible find we have here! First I would thank gnosismen Dave and Tom (yes, he from the sister blog cdrwl and under the radar cds) for alerting me to this unbelievably brilliant band, that has been performing now for some twenty + years, down to the present day!
Next, amazingly, master musician Jorge Beltran himself from the band has given his approval to post it for us to enjoy, thanks to undertheradar cds for the connection. I am glad to be able to share this with you with his seal of approval, because I haven't stopped listening to it for days on end now. Also, please check the posts on utr cds regarding the history of humus and their work. http://undertheradarcds.blogspot.ca/search/label/Humus

This record was created as a limited edition on vinyl of 300 copies, unfortunately never released to CD. It is indeed rare to get a hold of and it will be a treasured possession for me-- for many reasons.

Let's start with the stunning foldout cover which without doubt is as beautiful as the masterpiece cover art paintings from the past. How rare it is to see so much work applied to a painting which in this case channels perhaps the great british painter Francis Bacon or american Philip Guston, with a De Chirico feel to it.

Consider just the second track, Suctoria. We start with some gorgeous hard guitars playing a doomy deep blues riff in G, as if Kim Thayil had decided to do progressive music after an intensive Berklee compositional education. Suddenly at the end of the phrase the guitar bends upwards to play F sharp, instead of the expected 7th note of F-- brilliant! The record is full of musical surprises like this. Then one minute in, very abruptly the tempo switches to some wild chromatic figures, then switches out again to deep stairs-like patterns in I think E. It's a bit reminiscent of how Alcatraz created hard guitar prog, but definitely uniquely in a different league. Slowly the guitars attempt to climb their way out of this dungeon of bizarre chromatic notes to get back to the blues in G, like sysyphos, they seem to keep falling back down to the deep E note. Finally a lead guitar makes his way back to a solo as if singing his gorgeous way to freedom in sounds that are almost atonal they are so far away from the usual ledzep-rulebook of blues solo. Or what if indeed Arnie Shoenberg had taken up a dodecaphonal guitar concerto? Then listen to the power chord ending-- a majestic E flat (no 3) an A minor with F, then the G finale-- wow! It's tempting to think no ending like it has ever been heard before in rock history.

I love how they're referencing grungy alternative, especially in the third track with its Hole-like Seattle or insecticide singing. The record is full of surprises along these lines, it's like a dissertation in how to do progressive, with its tempo changes & complex compositions. The long track on side 2, called Whispering Galleries, is a magnificent novella of darkness and light, traveling through worlds of hardship and difficulty, heartbreak and trials, as if the transcription in our tympanic membranes of an imaginary Jorge Luis Borges story that we are seeing for real in our ears, discussing the depths of time and space and the extent of eternity with the stylus of a meandering amplified guitar and perfect rhythm section.

From Mr. Jorge Beltran:

"We still have original CD's of our first three albums... [that are easily available for purchase]
...and also we have a new album on itunes, amazon, etc...it is called HAPPY DAYS AHEAD...please grab your copy (but do not rip one that yet, please!)
(by the way, you can get a physical copy from amazon)


If you need more info, please check out:


From wikipedia:
"Early history
Humus was founded in 1987 by Jorge Beltran as a one man band, where he played all instruments in home recordings made through the ping pong recording technique. He chose the name "Humus" based on the earthy, humus-like sound caused by sound degradation caused by the reduction mixing. During the late 1980s and early 1990s Beltran released five cassettes, causing interest in the underground quarters of Mexico City, where there had been a long history of progressive rock that managed to exist despite all the adversity a Latin American country faces in terms of making independent music business.

Jose Luis Garnica, a long time friend of Jorge's and a rock connoisseur, was very much impressed by the quality of sound of these recordings, but mostly by Beltran's musicianship, so he became producer of Humus's first LP, Tus Oidos mienten in June 1992. The album finally gave recording status to Humus, and soon international reviews from the U.S., Germany, France, and in particular from Italy began to emerge, praising the new band from Mexico.

Second Album and Lineup Change

From the second album, called simply Humus (released Dec. 1994), the one man band concept changed to a live performing band, which included old time school friend and bass player Victor Basurto, with whom he had formed their first band, Stomago Sagrado in the late 1970s. Victor had designed the cover for Tus Oidos Mienten, and has been in charge for the art of all recordings both musicians have been involved with ever since.

Several local tours took place, and the drum stool was occupied by no less than 8 drummers during the 1990s and well nigh into the 21st century.

Third and Fourth Albums and Side Project

A third album, Malleus Crease was released in 1995. This album, along with brother Project Frolic Froth's album Ouroboros were also released in Italy by the D-dabliu label in LP format. Humus 4 degrees, released in 1997, is the band's only album to exist only in CD format, all others were both CD and LP productions. This album was released through Smogless Records and newly formed Nuggetphase productions, and from there all albums produced by either of the bands leadered by Jorge and Victor have been released in the Nuggetphase label.

Also in 1997 Humus found themselves in an international tour of England and Italy . In Exeter They recorded an album with American Dave Tor who became singer for the only vocal album ever made by either Jorge or Victor, and for this project a new name was devised: Euphoric Darkness, since it detached completely from the instrumental approach always favoured by Humus. The resulting album was named Colours You Can Hear and only 100 hundred copies were made.

Fifth Album - Present Day

In Pesaro they recorded Humus's fifth album, Whispering Galleries, under the production of Italy's doom metal legend Paul Chain, who also contributed to the album. Three hundred numbered copies were made.

Since 1998 Humus has recorded no less than five albums, though none has been released yet.[clarification needed] The band continues to be active, though members live in different continents: Jorge Beltran lives in Mexico and Victor Basurto lives in The Netherlands. The manage to continue playing together through the use of the new communication technologies. Because of their limited press runs, Humus albums have been rare, and some of them reach up to US$250 in international distributor listings. However, late in 2006 Smogless Records put out new CD editions of the first three Humus albums, Tus Oidos Mienten, Humus and Malleus Crease. A totally new album called Happy Days Ahead was independently released on July 23, 2011, the first one in digital format only, available through some of the main digital stores.

Please make note of the comment, Victor is in charge of all cover art, because all their covers are quite masterfully done.

The band uploaded the second song on youtube which you can sample here:


Please note that I have reuploaded many of the mp3s that were cut off by filejumbo service unavailable. Let me know if there are any I missed.


Tristan Stefan said...


Anonymous said...

First, I want to thank Tristan for seeking out and finding this wonderful album. I had been looking for it for years -- and have to say, it was worth the wait.

Also deserving of thanks and support is Jorge Beltran, an amazing guitarist who authorized Tristan to post "Whispering Galleries." A very generous gesture on his part. Thank you very much, Jorge.

BTW, his band Frolic Froth is also quite good. I encourage all PNFers to give "Whispering Galleries" a listen ... and to support Humus by buying some of the band's music.


Anonymous said...

thanks so much, tristan and jorge! from me too, I have been looking this a long long time. it is beautiful

Unknown said...

I'm speechless, Vielen Dank Tristan! =)

Tristan Stefan said...

bitte sehr herr morgan

Anonymous said...

Thank You Very Much !!!

xhouse said...

Thank you. Have any more Humus such as 4 degrees?

Anonymous said...

thanks! this is the music i want to hear more on my life.

Jorge Beltrán del Paso said...

Hello, I am Jorge from HUMUS. a friend told me that the links are not working anymore...I tried myself and it seems true. could you check it out please? We would like to keep on sharing the album...THANKS!!

spunkie said...

Please reupp the link thx

Tristan Stefan said...

wow, thanks for the note, Jorge
I will get to it this weekend (June 15th 2013)
and thanks again for sharing this great record

Tristan Stefan said...


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