Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Food

Molecular Gastronomy

(Rune Grammofon; US: 8 Dec 2007; UK: 26 Nov 2007)

Thomas Stronen, whose solo work as a percussive, intricately-patterned percussionist achieves an abstract density that is at times impossible to follow, has over the past five releases with Food (a duo with British saxophonist Iain Bellamy) provided something a little more accessible. This music is still completely experimental—ideas jumble out of the texture of the songs unexpectedly, without a discernible pattern—but it’s also often surprisingly tender. “Red Algae”’s repeated, held-out saxophone notes (layered drones of treble polyphony in the background), e.g., are quite hypnotic. “Nature’s Recipe” brings in melancholy Eastern tonalities and a shifting pots-n-pans percussion effect that’s both old and new-sounding. Molecular Gastronomy is largely improvised, giving Bellamy the room to alternately stab and create long, flowing, beautiful lines. What is perhaps more impressive is the fluid way Stronen attacks percussion—not afraid to use conventional drum machines (as on the bounding “Apparatus”), he still brings to the fuzzy beats the feeling that they could stumble to a stop at any minute, depending on the creator’s whim. That element of whimsy—essential to any successful improvisation, and occasionally buried in the esoteric flourishes of some of Stronen’s more austere work—is what makes Molecular Gastronomy a pleasure to listen to, and to return to. The link between experimental food and experimental music here may have to remain in the musicians’ minds. But the album nevertheless proves a worthy entry to Food’s and Rune Grammofon’s catalogue.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


Tagged as: food
Related Articles
18 Sep 2012
Members of fIREHOSE, Gumball, and the Cynics make up FOOD, who are off to a strong start with Four Pieces From Candyland.
By John Garratt and Will Layman
7 Dec 2010
Jazz is working all the angles these days. Is there any other genre that has as much range -- from solo instruments to big bands, from instrumental to vocal, from European musicians to both North and South Americans, from truly pretty music to raucously avant-garde "noise"?
25 Jul 2010
Quiet Inlet is an impressively inventive album that may be one of 2010’s best releases.
4 Feb 2007
Food, a relatively obscure Chicago group who released their only album, Forever Is a Dream, in 1969, get the reissue treatment from Fallout
discussion by

Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.