On Hum, waves of noise crash down, one after the other, an 11-piece army of woodwinds, brass, strings, accordion and percussion thrown at the listener all at once. After the bullrush of “CO2,” instruments and electronics share the burden of building tension on “Hullun Paperit,” a wash of sound, powerful and lush. Hints of melody tease the promise of warmth, a promise honored half-way through the album with “Reliever,” a plaintive sax buoyed by an undercurrent of soft horns, cymbal rides and gentle effects. As if to prove it isn’t a bait-and-switch, Pesonen releases the strings for a cheerful rendition of Mingus’s “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” proof that their sonic aggression was a byproduct of experimentalism and not a lack of jazz chops. “Space Race” provides further evidence with a composition that allows strings and horns to layer solos in parallel lines, giving the sensation of listening to different facets of the same notes all at the same time. Hum ends with a nifty cover of the Beatles’ “Day in the Life.” Elena Setien turns a neat phrase on vocals, and the ensemble brings the noise while also flirting with a Dixieland/Fab Four mash-up. The musicians sound like they’re having a blast, and Pesonen’s compositions provide the space to improvise without leaving the reservation.
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