Mandible Chatter:Food for the Moon

cover Mandible Chatter:Food for the Moon
(Manifold - 1997)

If variety truly is the spice of life, then one could say that Mandible Chatter's newest offering, Food for the Moon  is a flavorful, zesty, zingy and mouth-watering sampler platter of sound... (if it weren't just too silly of a way to say it!)

I've loved their previous disc Grace  in all its strange and beautiful variety, and wondered how could they possibly follow up such an interesting piece of work...

I'm happy to report that Neville Harson and Grant Miller have done it in their own flagrantly genre-defying style! Like its predecessor, it's all over the place stylistically... even moreso, having 2 vocal "songs" bookending the whole affair.

Sad Tree Song is a groovy, low key "alternative-ish" number, reminding me of the Meat Puppets (for a sound comparison), but not as loud and with a better beat. It ain't ambient, but I like it lots. A sweet ditty... it's like the title says, really.

After an acrobatic jungle yodel sample from New Guinea, percussion and whirling background effects become Twilight of the Idylls, a mutated gypsy dance. Slurry pipes tweedle round and round whilst the drums pound. Swirl is a pretty lil' acoustic guitar piece, plain 'n' simple; Windham Hill would book these guys in a heartbeat based on this 2:40 track.

If you've heard Grace , you must remember the twisted journeys, Beyond the Valley of the Blue Rosebuds and Night of Falling Trees... Food for the Moon 's counterpart is the utterly surreal Blessings from the Kingdom of Silence. More than 13 minutes of cinematic soundscape, evolving, building, getting weirder and louder, more chaotic... far too many twists and turns to mention here. Turn this up loud; it's like riding a geyser up out of Hell and finally being spit up onto the surface. I'm grinning everytime the ride ends!

The Dust Blows Forward is a much more tranquil zone, a thick atmosphere wih various slowly floating layers and some wind sounds. Peaceful and nostalgic. I'm suspecting some backward effects here... beautiful, nonetheless.

The title track clocks in at over 32 minutes and passes through several distinct phases in its meanderings. It smoothly and interestingly morphs from an acoustic guitar/percussion opening to distorted effects/drone to electrostatic interference and bursts to pounding tribal drumbeats to a weak, wheezy electric breathing to a fog of drone and a slow-motion reprise of the guitar opening. Believe me, it's much less simplistic than my break-down seems.

The disc closes with "So Hot", an acoustic guitar ballad... vocals and all. A cover of a Spaceman 3 song, I hear; the only track not written by Mandible Chatter. Once again, not ambient, but very nice.

Often if an album trys to be so many different things it seems unfocused and schizophrenic... Mandible Chatter though, know exactly what they're doing and are having a great time doing so.

If you're up for some blatant (and spicy!) musical disparity, check this out! One avid Thumb Up!

1 thumb up
If you're interested further (and you should be!), visit Manifold Records.
This review posted January 28, 1998

previous home next
  a-h i-q r-z