Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" acutely depicts a dire moment in the Christian doctrine of salvation. With the passing of seasons, however, it has suffered many a touch-up, such that some have come to consider the work "repainted" rather than "restored."
Akin is this effort from Food. While holding true to their past affinity for
harmonic and melodic avant-jazz, as well as open-ended textures with no chordal
their own Last Supper
repaints their canvas with Thomas Stronen's
wise-hearted, imaginative choice of brushstrokes, the breathy, idiosyncratic
playing of Arve Henriksen's trumpet, and lyrical outbursts from Iain Ballamy's
soprano sax. Soft, almost cottony electronics interweave these disparate elements,
branching out from each, smoothing the edges into plumes of enchanting aural
"Exeter Opening" plunges into a display of Stronen's fractured, loose rhythm,
recalling such European improvising drummers as Paul Lytton and Paul Lovens.
Weaving an intricate web of sparse cymbal crashes and snare rattles, Stronen
forges a rhythmic foundation around which Henriksen's plaintive, shakuhachi-like
trumpet cries softly; wafting electronic threads twist together,
tug apart, unravel, knot and gnarl, like multiple radio signals bleeding together
on a long drive at dusk.
The most noticeable alteration from Veggie,
the group's previous, much-lauded
creation, is the stark atmosphere of Last Supper
's opening four pieces.
Here Henriksen's hand acts as a waterwheel, drawing slowly churning motifs from
his instrument amid oscillating, thinly saturated electronic drones. In such
a foreboding disquiet, the plodding dirge "Christcookies" develops a prayer-like
feeling of incantation, a sullen piano treading alongside a murmuring array of
The appropriately entitled "Junkfood" then subverts all that came before; as
offering an abundance of scents to one hastening through country flowerbeds:
an animated pot-and-pan clatter, nimble trumpet and heavyset electronics performing
something of a torrid waltz, with a bashful bystander lending support by shouting "Yeah,
go!" every now and again. The plush trumpet melodies of "Daddycation," which
initially appeared on Rune Grammofon's Money Will Ruin Everything,
Henriksen's solo work in Chiaroscuro.
The tension between Henriksen's tender trumpet and Ballamy's sax, each instrument
cueing the other in an ongoing collaboration, speaks to the group's sense of
economy and invention. Indeed, the near-symbiotic relationship of the two instruments
affords interlaced harmonies, a mirthful spontaneity, and alluring shapes, form
and substance. As the title implies, Last Supper
may well see the present
members about to part. For all that, this final touch-up allows attentive listeners
to revel in the free play of imagination and understanding.
Note: For more info, check out the Rune Grammofon site