Nathan Bell (Lungfish,Television Hill) and Dave Heumann (Arbouretum,Bonnie “Prince” Billy) could be the musical equivalent of Civil War re-enactors. Their conspired effort, Human Bell, creates an atmosphere akin to that of an organic battlefield – a dirge-y sweep of chaos, simultaneously cold as metal and mellow as a field of grass droning with insects.
Through wave after wave of this seemingly cathartic sonic expedition, songs alternate between the quiet, such as “Ephaphatha (Be Opened),” swaying in a brassy swaddling of horns, and the forceful, calculated twitchiness of “The Singing Trees.” Human Bell’s self-titled release is a test in endurance, but should be savored for its meditative qualities. The duo lives up to their name (an uncanny combination of the musician’s surnames), their music widely resonating even during their live shows, when two skeleton guitars must manipulate the body of their recorded music. (On their album, Bell and Heumann host guests such as Matt Riley, Michael Turner, Pete Townshend and Ryan Rapsys.) Human Bell encapsulates a quiet beauty that is at once reflective, progressive and sparklingly macabre.