28 June 2007

Eve Risser's Philosophy of Food

If you’ve ever seen Jeunet’s 'Delicatessen', then you may be prepared to meet Eve Risser. A musician and composer who makes the term avant-garde seem quaint, Risser is doing her part to invert the paradigm on both sides of the Atlantic. Performing a solo improvisation for an electronic ‘Barbie Guitar’ last December at Baltimore’s Red Room, even the stoutest of jaws among the audience slackened in a mixture of awe and bewilderment. Her piano and drum duo ‘Donkey Monkey’ has just released its first CD on Umlaut Records and is touring Europe throughout the summer. She will be coming to the US for a stay at the Peabody Conservatory this fall. We are certainly looking forward to her visit.

Being a Parisian, Risser has a certain affinity for food. I asked her about the possible connections between food and art. This is what she had to say.

“I find connections between food and art when I think of ‘MAKING FOOD’. I often get those kind of ideas in my mind when I'm cooking, or when I see Joel cooking, or my mum, or my friends. I like to observe, compare, analyze the way they use different elements to make something good.

“For me food, is like everything else. The food of someone is like the state of one's desk, it's like one's home decoration, one's way of wearing clothes. I think it's one of the artistic aspects of taking care of Life.

“In music and any art there are ingredients. We all know that the more experience we have with ingredients, the more we will guess what they will give as a result [i.e. the better we know something, the less we rely on recipes]. That's why I like to compare food with musical improvisation. When you cook without a recipe, it's exactly like when you improvise and play music without a sheet.

“The more you progress, the more the food changes. It gives something different from your first idea, but something coherent. Same in improvised music. [Often] you change your sound texture just with feeling, intuition. [Well,] you do the same when you improvise food: more spinach? more tofu? more salt?

“You also learn how to make something with just what you have: saucepan and oven [is analogous to] instrument and venue. Time… gestation of time… gestation of space… of situations: what an Art!”

Eve Risser will be a featured performer at this year’s High Zero festival in Baltimore, MD. Listen to tracks from Donkey Monkey's new album.

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