The core duo of Food, U.K. saxophonist Iain Ballamy and drummer/electronic artist Thomas Strønen, initially founded the band as a quartet in the late '90s, then pared down to a duo in 2006. On their second release for ECM, Mercurial Balm, the duo mixes electric and acoustic material with guest musicians Eivind Aarset on guitar and electronics, Indian slide guitarist and singer Prakash Sontakke, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær, and second guitarist Christian Fennesz. These four musicians are all over the musical map but are equally adept at improvisation and intuitively knowing what not to play. Recorded live between 2010 and 2011 at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in England and the Victoria National Jazz Scene club in Norway, with a studio segment that took place at Rainbow Studio in Oslo.
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell