Review: Flux Gourmet

SEAL OF APPROVAL

Chef: Peter Strickland

Stars: Fatma Mohamed, Gwendoline Christie, Asa Butterfield

Serves: All

Ingredients:

  • 7 performers (misc nationalities)
  • 1 country estate
  • 6 – 12 oscillators, modulators, spectrometers and nanosynths
  • 1 flanger (non-negotiable)
  • Misc fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (absolutely no meat)
  • Olive oil, for stairs

Cooking time: 111 minutes

Method:

First, lay out your stall. It’s another of your wickedly absurd, hermetically sealed worlds. Kindred to previous offerings (The Duke of BurgundyIn Fabric), sharing many of the same ingredients, yes, but unique. And just as uniquely yours. Establish your setting: The Sonic Catering Academy where, under the preening eye of director and fashion clown Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie), a trio of malcontent performers are taking up residency for three weeks to hone their audio/culinary artistry.

Add a dash of European flavour with non-English language narration courtesy of Stones (Makis Papadimitriou); a self-described ‘hack’ employed to document the experiments of your chosen musicians. They are Elle (Fatma Mohamed) – belligerent conceptualist; Billy (Asa Butterfield) – denim-clad, gloomy egg fetishist; and Lamina (Ariane Labed) – dour technical expert and reluctant exhibitionist.

Commence low noise-making. Slowly set forth a number of repetitious rituals. Synchronised morning routines. Compulsory after-dinner speeches. Workshops with Jan Stevens that mine the humdrum absurdity of a distinctly British pastime; “popping to the shops”. Most importantly, the band’s weekly performance set-pieces.

Here, allow yourself to flourish as your musicians do. Use these spaces to wryly acknowledge the humour in self-serious artistic experimentation. The inherent comedy in pretentiously labored art that also comes fuelled with creative passion and drive. The schism between these sensibilities and their innate union.

Now add zest. Within these sections, get curious about the boundaries of taste (if you’ve established a giddy preoccupation for farts early on in your recipe then your later extremes will be more palatable). Explore the relationship between food, gastronomy and cinema. Fully investigate the boundaries of acceptability. Coprophagia will link you dangerously to Salò. Cannibalism to a smorgasbord of horror and exploitation dishes. Be sure to let your diners know that you’re only playing. A knowing wink will serve you well. No need to sour those taste-buds beyond remedy!

Turn up the volume. With the aid of a variety of collaborators, dig deeper into your fascination with micro-audiophilia. Tunnel into those feedback loops, those walls of white, brown and pink noise. Every crack. Every pop. Weaponise your sonic palette for it’s richest eccentricities. Add a dash of harpsichord when observing surly walks around the grounds of the country estate. It will amplify and broaden the experience immensely.

Now bring those visuals to the boil. Compliment your audio explorations with collages of sublime, sensorial close-ups. Oil sizzling. Dials turning. Fruit pulping. Your concoction should recall the cavernous investigations of one of your previous dishes, Berberian Sound StudioDon’t forget to flaunt the finesse you’ve honed over the intervening years. Relish your interior worlds and it will add immeasurable richness to the recipe.

Where previously you have implemented usage of Fatma Mohamed to merely season, here it would be wise to allow her to fully flavour your creation. Make Flux Gourmet her centrepiece. The results will be divine. You have a regular company of actors now. Rearranging their prominence will bring out renewed piquancy. The addition of the likes of Butterfield, Laped and Papadimitriou will be as welcome as the returning notes proffered by the aforementioned Christie and also Richard Bremmer, whose Dr. Glock can provide a serpentine sensation of schadenfreude.

Heavily season with comedy. Wry observations of character, cadences of speech. Dust generously with bawdy spice. Play up your predilection for kink. Now simmer. Those fetishistic notes will register everywhere. From the tapping of fingers on a doorframe to an unfurling appreciation for young men rendered delirious by older women (is this something from your own history one is moved to wonder…?).

As things coalesce and now that we’re quite far through the recipe, why not bring something new to the table, such as a gleeful homage to 1910s French serial Les Vampires? Note, such an exercise will allow for quite another layer of kink to reveal itself; rubber! Make sure your soundscape quietens here so that every bodily scrunch can be savoured.

To finish, remember to unify through those established routines and repetitions. Make your meal feel as though it’s deep within one of the feedback loops generated by Lamina’s machines. It will bind your disparate elements together. It will seal your dish.

If everything has been done successfully, serve with your trademark coquettish zeal. Have confidence that, though your dish has many tart flavours and will surprise and even shock the uninitiated, things really begin at digestion. Here, in the aftermath, your patrons will discover yet more facets to their feast. A most delectable and prolonged aftertaste.

Bon appetite!

10 of 10

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