Huma-Huma ~ Theme Songs for Invisible Motion Pictures

Theme SongsHawai’i’s native fish is the humu-humu, short for the fun-to-pronounce humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa.  This name gives us a hint of what to expect from Huma-Huma: happy music, guaranteed to inspire smiles.

Huma-Huma is all about happiness; “happy” is even one of their tags.  In fact, they have so many tags that it’s nearly impossible to choose adjectives to describe their music: childlike, playful, whimsical, magical, fun.  They’ve done our work for us.  And that’s the nature of the team.  Huma-Huma is more than just a recording act; the collective also offers music for licensing, and to date has accumulated approximately 400 tracks in a vast library, all free to download.  Every once in a while, they release a single, an EP or an album; Music for Invisible Motion Pictures is the latest of these.

Many of our readers have probably heard Huma-Huma before, although they may not know it.  I first encountered the band three years ago when I chose “Hello I Like You” for a video feature.  A reworked version of that track starts the new EP; the video is shown below.  But there’s plenty more where that came from.  Use the search box on Vimeo and you’ll find a cavalcade of work, from the straightforward (“The Most Quoted Man in News”, from The New Yorker) to the sweet (“Colosse – A Wood Tale”), plus commercials for Cadbury, Toyota, and Windows.  The band can carry a video on its own, or provide a backdrop; in films such as “Milk Run” and “Waiting Out Winter”, the sound design is impeccable.

“Music Box”, another early showcase piece, is also included on the new release.  The Showtime video bears hints of Origamibiro.  One sees the instruments as they are being played, from handheld toys to a deconstructed piano, à la Trimpin.  While some of the other tracks on the new release date back to the same time period, none of the others are attached to films; thus the title Music for Invisible Motion Pictures.  The films don’t exist yet, but listeners are invited to make them!

“2525” (perhaps an homage to Zager & Evans) is shuffling and sedate, while “Rained Out” (a follow-up to the Rainy Weekend EP) sports a Peter Hook-like bass.  The stuttering “Carbohydra” seems tailor-made for a soda spot; “Light Leaks” (as well as much of the Huma-Huma library) bears a resemblance to Lullatone.  The band has wisely chosen to highlight some of its longer pieces here, but everything is still single-length; no idea is stretched too far, but no piece ends abruptly.  Those who like what they hear should go directly to the Huma-Huma website, where one can listen to the band’s output from breakfast until dinner without repeating a single track.  Music for Invisible Motion Pictures is just the tip of the iceberg, but the whole iceberg is worth exploring.  (Richard Allen)

Release page (download in Library or on iTunes)

One comment

  1. Pingback: ACL 2014: The Happiest Music of the Year | a closer listen

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