219

Food: Last Supper

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Food: Last Supper On the basis of its title, Last Supper may be the final recording of the Anglo/ Norwegian group Food. And that's a shame, because over the course of four albums Food has evolved from a group of interesting free improvisers to an ensemble that organically blends electronics with said free improvisation, creating a distinctive voice that reflects not only the strong personalities of all involved, but a group identity that manages to be strangely accessible and highly compelling.

Last Supper may in fact be the group's most approachable recording yet, but that doesn't mean that Food has made any sacrifices or compromises. While Thomas Strønen's percussion work is as abstruse as ever, with precedence in the kind of found-sound colouistic approach of Tony Oxley, there are times, as on "Exeter Ending," where he actually settles into an uncharacteristic groove. And Mats Eilertsen, a bassist whose firm support anchored Jacob Young's lyrical Evening Falls (ECM, '04), is more fragmentary here and, like Strønen, more disposed towards texture than form.

Which doesn't mean there isn't any preconceived construction to be found. In fact, on tracks like Strønen's "Daddycation" and saxophonist Iain Ballamy's "Quinoa" there are clear unison themes that give way to improvisations which demonstrate just how in each others' pockets these players have become. But as tender and evocative as the more strictly composed pieces are, it's the group improvisations that are the real crux of what Food are about. The almost symbiotic relationship that Ballamy and trumpeter Arve Henriksen       share often results in an intriguing serendipity; so attuned to each other are they that intertwined harmonies seem to appear out of nowhere. And these are not mere moments of confluence. Their simpatico, along with the intuitive contributions of Strønen and Eilertsen, truly turns these collective improvisations into something more: true spontaneous compositions that have shape, form, and substance.

And, as the group has evolved, the musicians have brought electronics more into the mix without disturbing the natural flow. "Exeter Opening," with a repeating sampled wash that gives the piece its centre, and the piano sample-driven "Christcookies," suppose how Brian Eno might sound if he were more concerned with improvisation and less with the mathematical form of things. Miniatures like "Temporary," with Henriksen's trumpet and Strønen's samples commingling, and the more rhythmically-driven "Junkfood," where Henriksen's samples drive Ballamy's saxophone, demonstrate the group's sense of economy and invention.

If Last Supper is indeed Food's swan song, then it is the perfect ending to an illustrious existence. Honing their approach into something that is easily identifiable, adventurous and completely engaging, Last Supper provides an easy entry into free improvisation for the uninitiated or fearful, yet pulls no punches for those already committed to the myriad potentials that true spontaneity can yield.

Visit Arve Henrkisen and Iain Ballamy on the web.


Track Listing: Exeter Opening; Christcookies; Quinoa; Temporary; Junkfood; Daddycation; Exeter Ending; First Supper; Last Supper.

Personnel: Thomas Strønen: drums, electronics; Iain Ballamy: saxophones, electronics; Mats Eilertsen: bass, electronics; Arve Henriksen: trumpet, voice, electronics.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Rhythm and Romance" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythm and Romance
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles" CD/LP/Track Review Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!