Food’s ‘Last Supper’ features state of the art electro-acoustic improvisation from the Norway-UK all-star quartet whose previous three albums made a well-deserved splash. Fronted by British saxophonist Iain Ballamy, Food consists of highly renowned Norwegian improvisers; Thomas Strønen (drums, electronics), Mats Eilertsen (bass) and Arve Henriksen (trumpet, voice). The outfit utilises electronics and many of the sounds and textures of ambient music to create their own beautiful post-jazz electronica full of half-note trumpet tones, woody acoustic bass, shiny percussion and sweet sax notes. The blend of Iain Ballamy’s distinctive and lyrical sax and Arve Henriksen’s breathy trumpet textures is the perfect foil for the entrancing bass and drum trips created by the vital rhythm section that consists of Mats Eilertsen (double bass) and Thomas Strønen (drums). The gritty production and electronic soundscaping courtesy of Deathprod, aka Helge Sten, add even more colour to the rich sonic palette that is “Veggie”.
Wrote All About Jazz in its review of Food’s latest album ‘Last Supper’ (Rune Grammofon): “On “Last Supper” Food still opts for open-ended textures with no chordal center. The subtle use of electronics by all Food members and the focus on harmonic and melodic playing demonstrates the affinity between these players. Last Supper offers unique dreamlike soundscapes, highlighting the idiosyncratic playing of Henriksen, a whispery mode as if he were playing the Japanese shakuhachi flute (very close to Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's style, especially solo or in duets with his partner, pianist Satoko Fujii), and the lyrical and restrained playing, mainly on the soprano sax, of Ballamy. But this release introduces Strønen as the key player, supplying irregular, fractured and loose rhythms in the tradition of great European improvising drummers such as Paul Lytton, Paul Lovens or Tony Oxley, but always keeping a rhythmic center, except on his own “Daddycation,” the only track on which he does not appear. Strønen's wise and imaginative choice of brush strokes, delicate touches of the cymbals and hand drumming define Last Supper as Food's most mature release. Strønen take the lead part on only one track, the too-short, upbeat “Junkfood,” in which Ballamy, Henriksen and Eilersten try to catch his driving rhythms. As usual with Rune Grammofon's meticulously done releases, a beautiful minimalist sleeve of Kim Hiorthøy matches this beautiful music.”
BBC Online is equally as positive: “Attempting to summarise Food's music is something of a challenge. A number of seemingly disparate elements are arranged successively or in combination. These include gentle electronic ambience, folksong keening, chain-rattling worthy of Marley's ghost, impassioned paeans to nature, wistful and highly melodic unison lines, crazed scat singing and lively jazz improvisation. "Daddycation" (first heard on Rune Grammofon's Money Will Ruin Everything anniversary release) is heart-meltingly gorgeous. "Exeter Opening" begins pensively and ends up in a lengthy passage that would do a Miles Davis 70's group proud. The title piece and final track on the album sounds as if Food were soundtracking an Ingmar Bergman or Andrei Tarkovsky film. It's medieval, mythic and haunting with a beguiling solemnity that belies the album's occasional humour to deliver a mourning farewell. Try listening to Last Supper in headphones while walking through your local shopping centre. It may just make for a transporting, surreal experience: the music gave me the feeling that I was a traveller out of time, a brief visitor from another place entirely. Last Supper is a moving antidote for our beleaguered times.”
The Independent: “State of the art electro-acoustic improvisation from the Norway-UK all-star quartet whose previous three albums made a well-deserved splash. This may well be the best of the lot, though much of it is closer to a kind of musical version of the Shipping Forecast than it is to jazz. Themes ebb and flow as musical tides turn, from chilled and lyrical loops to free-improv tempests, but such is the mastery editing that nothing outstays its welcome and the disparate parts coalesce into a very satisfying whole. The opening piece is audio-heaven: Arvo Pärt meets ”In A Silent Way”. 5/5.”sd
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Genre\Jazz, Tours, Outside Norway