Feed Me invites us into the cinematic world of ‘Calamari Tuesday’ [Album Review]
It’s remarkable to think that Feed Me has yet to release a formal LP up to this point. Having been producing music under the guise of Spor for nearly ten years, Jon Gooch’s catalogue of singles is numerous to say the least. When Feed Me first rose to prominence in 2010, it was after the debut of Feed Me’s Big Adventure, the closest thing to a full-length album in his discography. Three years later, Feed Me presents Calamari Tuesday, 15 tracks of cinematic electro, dubstep, progressive house and more.
At the outset of the album, we are presented with 15 original productions, most of which are just seeing the light of the day for the first time. The sentiment is amplified when one begins the album. As the ominous orchestral synths of “Orion” introduce Calamari Tuesday, it’s as if Feed Me is opening the gates to a mythical mountain. Thunder clouds roll off in the background, a counterpoint melody develops, the instruments intensify… suddenly an alarming countdown commences. There’s no turning back; the percussion increases; finally, release! A dark beat commences, driven onwards by a booming kick drum and a thick, guttural synth. The track proceeds like a high speed train, pushing onwards with an unstoppable motion until a climax of silence. Welcome to Calamari Tuesday.
The intensity lightens up with “Death By Robot,” a jesting electro track with a fun, French feel. The interlude is short lived, however, as “Lonely Mountain” immediately pulls us back into the emotional, cinematic journey which “Orion” initiated. After an enlivening, chord-laden intro, “Lonely Mountain” shows off the zealous electro complexity which put Feed Me into the spotlight in 2010. The track has something of a hard rock/metal edge, characterized by its distorted guitar riffs and prolonged halftime drum break.
Next is “Ebb & Flow,” a track that has pervaded Feed Me’s live sets for a long time. The truest dubstep track on the album, “Ebb & Flow” features Tasha Baxter and feels like the natural successor to Feed Me and Baxter’s “Strange Behavior.” Rivaling the potency of his Gemini collaboration “Whiskers,” “Ebb & Flow” oscillates between melodic vocal components and screeching bass drops.
Progressive house fans will delight in the addition of “Dazed,” a track keenly reminiscent of Feed Me’s previous progressive stint, “Relocation.” The longest production on the album, “Dazed” builds and builds, patiently amassing a snowball of energy. The resulting drop is a clean, satisfying chord progression: easily one of the most elegant cuts on the album.
Much of the album features some true experimentation from Feed Me. “Ophelia,” for example, features the ethnic voice of Yadi and incorporates traditional dub elements into a mellow pop-dubstep fusion. Similarly peculiar, “In the Bin” employs a raspy, drumstep beat while “Short Skirt” is a funky/glitch hop track with considerable syncopation. The midtempo stint continues with “No Grip,” one of the more compelling productions on the album with its heavy moombahton feel.
In regards to the tracklist, a final word should be said on “Last Requests.” The album’s closer is an engrossing, emotional finale. The track inherently feels like a goodbye, as if we’ve explored Feed Me’s mystical mountain and now our time is up, the gates are closing, and this is our parting gift (that is, until we start the album afresh).
By the time the album wraps up, I find myself emotionally spent. The journey through Calamari Tuesday is a long one, albeit an absorbing one. While Jon Gooch experiments with a variety of styles on Calamari Tuesday, every production feels quintessentially Feed Me. The emotional outpour is consistent with previous productions, as we are privy to Jon’s captivating spiritual release. The dazzling grandeur that characterized such tracks as “Blood Red” and “Little Cat Steps” is more evident than ever on productions like “Orion” and “Lonely Mountain.” There is an overarching cinematic feel to the album as well: a conscious attention to delicate piano and string work. Some of the album’s most brilliant moments come in the form of these spontaneous instrumental bridges, vocal interludes, and sudden halftime drum sections.
I am ultimately most drawn to the album’s opening and closing selections. While the body of the work is undeniably impressive, some of the electro tracks in the middle felt a little lackluster in comparison to the emotional promise of the album’s opening and closing. At the end of the day, however, Calamari Tuesday is a fitting first album for Feed Me. The LP showcases Jon Gooch’s considerable production value and masterful genre-blending abilities; the extensive tracklist breathes life into the character of Feed Me, both solidifying and evolving the fiction into something very real and intensely compelling.