Live recordings, performances captured at Oslo's Bla club and the Molde Festival, in 2007 and 2008
Quiet Inlet is the perfect title for this project by the duo Food, co-led by drummer Thomas Stronen and saxophonist Iain Ballamy. An exercise in texture music via electronica, Stronen and Ballamy take their time constructing lush, late-night vistas of layered sounds, with depth more important than pace. Hardly any variation in tempo can be heard, as sparse percussion accents prompt Ballamy's expansive tenor or soprano saxophone sounds. Only on the funky "Mictyris" in 7/8 time does the ensemble veer away from cloudy soundscapes. Special guest trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer - a true pioneer of modern electronic film noir-type music - is heard invading the space during "Dweller," while guitarist Christian Fennesz takes a subsidiary role on select tracks, rather than a frontman's stance. As dreamy music goes, this CD is not only a departure from the ECM catalog, but could be a portent toward the future of a new style of contemporary music.
All Music Guide
An album of lyrical improvisation, spacious atmospherics and dark pulses from the Food duo of Thomas Stronen and Iain Ballamy, joined by Nils Petter Molv?r and Christian Fennesz - in performances captured at Oslo's Bla club and the Molde Festival, in 2007 and 2008.
A decade earlier, Molde had hosted Food's debut when English saxophonist Ballamy was invited to join three Norwegian players - Stronen, Arve Henriksen, Mats Eilertsen - for an experimental concert. The group 'chemistry' felt so right, from the first notes played, that the players continued as a band. For the next eight years, a Food quartet toured the world, also recording a series of well-received albums. In 2006, the group was revamped, with the core duo of Stronen and Ballamy henceforth joined by guests for special concerts and projects.
On "Quiet Inlet", Food's sixth album, and their first for ECM, Austrian guitarist and electronics player Fennesz is featured on the tracks "Tobiko", "Mictyris", "Fathom", while Norwegian trumpeter Molv?r appears on "Chimaera", "Becalmed", "Cirrina" and "Dweller" (making this NPM's most extended appearance on ECM since "Solid Ether"). In these open ended improvisations, the contexts are shaped by Food's priorities, the emphases upon melodic playing, textural development and the creating and exploration of sound-environments. The acoustic aspects of Food's music, with drums, bells, blocks gongs and lyrical saxophone, are enhanced by the use of live sampling as a structural element. The scope of expression runs, in Food's words , "from minimalist to very turbulent."
Both Iain Ballamy and Thomas Stronen are well-known figures in contemporary jazz and improvisation. Ballamy, who came to international attention in the 1980s as a member of the Loose Tubes collective and Bill Bruford's Earthworks, continues to play with Django Bates in configurations including the group Human Chain. He has also worked with an extraordinarily wide range of bands and projects - from Hermeto Pascoal, Gil Evans and Mike Gibbs to Charlie Watts, the Karnataka College of Percussion and Billy Jenkins,- led his own ensembles, written music for films, and taught at London's Royal Academy and Trinity College. Food's first recordings - "Food" and "Organic and GM Food" - were released on Ballamy's own label, Feral Records.
Last year Food - Stronen /Ballamy plus Arve Henriksen - appeared with the London Sinfonietta, premiering a new work by Iain Ballamy, "Gold Acre." The work was commissioned by BBC Radio 3, who had previously presented Food with the Innovation Award in the wider context of the British Jazz Awards.
Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz came out of the Vienna techno scene of the 1980s to spread his layers of electric guitar and processing textures across a broad span of music. Amongst his many musical associations: work with Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian (he is prominently featured on Sylvian's recent "Manafon" album), and free improvising guitarist Keith Rowe... Albums issued under Fennesz's name include a series of critically-acclaimed recordings for the Touch label.