In the Food Chain


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In the Food Chain Review

by Johnny Loftus

Collagist theory continues to be the guiding principal for some of the best new chaos of the mid-2000s. Floating in an ancient cistern, laptop perched on his chest, Brooklynite Jukeboxer (aka Noah Wall) assembles drag-and drop-composites of indie electronica and post-rock, fitting in tiny guitars, shimmering cymbals, and left field instrumentation (is that an accordion?) over squelchy polite beats and melodies that meander in grandeur. Indeed -- twin openers "Pilgrim" and "Missing Link" are gently-paced but powerful, forming bodies from flecks of both analog and digital sound and walking out of the cloudy ether to say hello. The vocal layers of collaborator Amy Jones throughout Food Chain and in particular on "Chance Openings" recall Magnetic Fields' Wayward Bus. But it's fellow techno-organics like Four Tet/Fridge who Jukeboxer more often suggests, as well as the thriving experimental folk scene that's been home to everyone from Animal Collective to Six Organs of Admittance. All of this flits through Food Chain's deliberately tranquil, yet always inventive tickle. The collage's colors crisscross landscapes and generations. "Thursday" triggers burps of computer percussion over a near-raga drone, while "Opportunist" builds from thunderstorm samples and snips of vocal and backwards Cakewalk files into a lullaby of acoustic guitar and manufactured hiss. It sounds like a chorus of harpsichords and nylon strings in the intro to "Russian Doll," which is then joined by a stately Jones vocal and a doddering keyboard, conjuring images of courtiers and lawn-reclining aristocrats. Jukeboxer knows the secret to creating a collage is keeping its potential reigned in. After all, just because you can use every software program and musical instrument in your closet, doesn't mean you should. In the Food Chain makes good use of the 21st century's wider sonic palette, but always favors melody over random experimentation.

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