Human Bell, the collaboration between David Heumann and Nathan Bell, is an instrumental afghan, one that is woven through and through with nickel-wound threads, winding from the opening notes, crawling gradually at an organic pace. The eight compositions on its self-titled release offer little more than background music upon first listen, a warm familiarity on the second, but by listen three, the subtle guitar work and modest repetition overwhelms, spreading with hand-knit care.
Heumann and Bell are no strangers to indie music, nor are they far removed from textured explorations as part of Arbouretum and Lungfish, respectively. Together, they weave the amorphous “A Change in Fortunes,” amble hesitantly into “Outposts of Oblivion,” and dangle solemnly while “Hanging From the Rafters.” And while each of these meditations is bolstered by width and depth, rarely do they cover significant cosmic ground, but rather revel in repetition.
David Heumann and Nathan Bell, along with Paul Oldham (who recorded the bulk of the album), have long embraced a unique approach to music, and Human Bell is no different. This eponymous release is marked by limited journeys, but its hard to make progress when weighted down with ever-cycling textures.
Human Bell is out now on Thrill Jockey Records.