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Food Quiet Inlet Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A magical hybrid of technology and improvisation, ambience and dance.

Colin Buttimer 2010

Quiet Inlet is Food's second album as a duo after the departure of Arve Henriksen and Mats Eilertsen in 2004. The group is joined this time by trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær and noise/ambient guitar star Christian Fennesz. Together they've produced a sumptuous and strikingly original record.

Thomas Strønen's percussion conveys a strong sense of the exotic. His playing is characterised by a sense of Zen-like space, each moment focused upon as it unfolds. He's able to switch from powerhouse rhythmic drive to reflective precision in the flicker of an eyelid. Factor in his deployment of effects and post-processing and he becomes an exciting and thoroughly intriguing performer.

Tenor and soprano saxophonist Iain Ballamy initially seems a very different proposition. His work is highly melodic and grounded in mainstream jazz, but like Strønen there's a strong sense of reflection and concentrated participation. This is a duo that really listens to each other. Ballamy contributes a swooning, and at times breathtaking, sense of keening beauty. It's the contrast between the two players that makes the music such an intriguing success.

Both Chimaera and Cirrina feature enthralling duets between Ballamy and Molvær, the former dipping and arcing like a swallow in slow motion while Molvær traces mournful vapour trails in a deep blue sky. Mictyris begins in muscular agitation, like a bad dream sci-fi movie, but unexpectedly evaporates into melodic, wistful fragments. Final track Fathom features Fennesz's faraway vibrato guitar and subtle coloration.

Quiet Inlet reveals a technologised rhythmic approach distantly related to jungle and two-step as well as connections with 1970s Miles Davis recordings, such as Big Fun's Great Expectations and Recollections. Food's music is a magical hybrid of technology and improvisation, Europe and America, ambience and dance.

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