Posted on Feb 25th 2008 10:05 pm
Rune Grammofon 2008
10 Tracks. 46min26secs
It’s been three years since Food’s previous release, the rather prematurely named Last Supper. In that interval, the one-time quartet has slimmed down to the duo of saxophonist Iain Ballamy and percussionist Thomas Strønen. I had the good fortune to catch them performing at a concert celebrating the founding of the state of Norway in 2006. Strønen sounded like the future as he explored virtual, hyper-speed sampling in mercurial fashion. Ballamy was, as always, highly melodic and more stately, a signifier of the human in otherwise distinctly William Gibson-esque soundscapes.
Molecular Gastronomy is a hugely welcome statement and, perhaps surprisingly, the group’s sound doesn’t suffer for the departure of trumpeter Arve Henriksen and bassist Mats Eilertsen. If anything, Food’s ambient/electronic/improvisational/folk focus has become less ephemeral and more focused. The skeins of sound Strønen and Ballamy tease out resolve themselves into impressive stretches of textural detail. I’m thinking particularly of tracks such as Red Algae and Nature’s Receipe here. The rapid pitter-patter of brushes, the etiolated traces of digital samples and the eastern taint of the alto make for an attractive soundworld.
True to form, Kim Hiorthoy’s artwork communicates the duality of futurism and humanity with a sweet undertow of humour. The music is consistently challenging, but functions quite happily without becoming intrusive or domineering. It may seem as though the wave of innovation wrought by the likes of Bugge Wesseltoft, Eivind Aarset and Wibutee around the turn of the millennium has been becalmed. However, Food in its current incarnation continues to be a torchbearer for creative new music that explores the interface of acoustic and electronic music.