Released 13 Dec 2016 : enquiries to

Fearful Owl Records is proud to present its first release – “The unquickening pace” – the debut recording of experimental viola da gamba player Max Hummus.

“The unquickening pace” is an album of stream-of-consciousness musicking. It is an exciting mix of different aspects of the instrument’s personality and history, combining conventional and unconventional sounds, some harmony, some noise and many mixtures – arresting fanfares, difference tones, ethereal incidental oscillations,  instrumental resonance, bow chiff, a song without melody, and quiet noise.

The recording has been engineered to reveal the quiet sounds that inhabit the instrument’s sonic halo, there are hidden sparkles for the attentive listener.

It is unadorned viola da gamba as you have (maybe) never heard it before.

Max Hummus plays viola da gamba
Max Hummus plays viola da gamba. Image © Mark Summers

Max Hummus is a pseudonymous musician who has been seen in public just once. He has studied long and hard with internationally renowned teachers, developed close working relationships with electronic musicians, and has stretched playing techniques to find the richness hidden below (and on) the surface of the viola da gamba.

Max said of recording the album: “Before getting to the studio in Sheffield, I had imagined the sessions would be like [the 2014 film] Whiplash, with Owen [Green, producer] as J.K.Simmons, goading me into ever more outlandish sounds. In reality, a lot of my time between takes was taken up with me getting the flu and curling up on Jeffrey [the rug, it really ties the room together] waiting for the painkillers to kick in, and so what we ended up with was a much more mellow album (mostly) than we were expecting. We spent a lot of time on the edit, deciding against a reverbed mush and daring ourselves to make the sound more intimate and naked. I had a lot of close listens where the hidden sounds of the instrument just took me by surprise”.


Viola da gamba played by Max Hummus
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Owen Green
Produced by Owen Green and Mark Summers

9/10 September 2015, USSS, Sheffield
10/11 November 2015, ECA, Edinburgh


The album can be purchased as a digital download or a CDR enclosed in a custom sleeve.

Buy it here:


The first recording studio for "The unquickening pace"
The first recording studio for “The unquickening pace”
The unquickening pace – Max Hummus – album cover
The unquickening pace – Max Hummus – album cover