Food is an experimental jazz group formed in 1998 by Norwegian drummer and composer Thomas Strønen and UK saxophone player Iain Ballamy. Food originally recorded four albums as a quartet which included Norwegian musicians Arve Henriksen (trumpet/vocals) and Mats Eilertsen (double bass). Since 2006, the group reverted to its core duo while inviting like-minded musicians (Christian Fennesz, Eivind Aarset on guitars or Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet amongst others) to play and record with them.
Underpinned by lush sound textures, Iain Ballamy’s soulful saxophone and Thomas Strønen’s grooves on drums, bells and percussions carve a unique soundscape. Essentially drawing inspiration from improvised live performances (every concert is recorded), Food thrives on this constant and subtle balance between acoustic instruments (horns/percussions) and electronics (laptops, sampling, effects and distortion pedals).
After Quiet Inlet in 2010, Mercurial Balm is Food’s the second recording for the ECM record label and was released in 2012. The duo partnered for the first time with Indian slide guitarist and singer Prakash Sontakke on three tracks. On a track like “Moonpie”, Ballamy and Strønen are joined by regular collaborators Nils Petter Molvaer and Christian Fennesz for a superb dialogue between saxophone and trumpet.