MUSIC OR AMBIENCE? Mette Henriette: Mette Henriette, Food: This Is Not a Miracle

So, when does music stop being considered music and re-classified as “background sounds”? Here are a couple albums to help that discussion along.

Mette Henriette puts 35 songs together on this two disc release; some under a minute, others up to six. There are almost half as many musicians as songs, ranging from strings, trumpet, trombone, bandoneon to drums and saw. The result is a collection of moods, with Henriette focusing on long tones on ambient pieces such as “So,” “The Taboo” and “But Careful.” There are piano reflections by Johan Lindvall on a variety of pieces like “oOo” (how could I make that title up?) and strings work in solo and group form. The result is an almost Eno-esque collection of moods like sonic wall paper, but without any electronics or synthesizers. The secret life of plants soundtrack returns?

The band Food consists of the ingredients Thomas Stronen/dr-key-elec, Iain ballamy/sax-elec and Christian Fennes/g-elec. Notice the abundance of electronics by the musicians? Yes, there are rhythm patterns by Stronen, but along with it there are long tones on Ballamy’s tenor as on “The Concept of Density” as well as guitar effects to the point of Hendrix during “Sinking Gardens of Babylon.” The trio is most successful on the impressionist pieces, with calm rhythmic ripples for the tenor sailboat on “Death of Niger” or the pensive mood with mysterious guitar and sax musings on “Earthly Carriage.” Tasty, but not quite filling.

ECM Records

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