If you've never heard DJ Food's music before, never sat back in awe at the mutating roster's incredible ability for shredding apart old records and reassembling them as the new sound of downtempo DJ music, then put the paper down and go buy Kaleidoscope. Even without a sense of the history that's behind this DJ outfit, you still might like it. For anyone familiar with the classic Jazz Brakes series or DJ Food's incredible Recipe for Disaster, Kaleidoscope is nothing at all like the brilliant material thrown out by the DJ Food that once was a side project of famed Coldcut members Matt Black and Jonathan More. There are very few cut-up or scratching antics -- notably the poolhall scenario spliced together entirely too well on "Break" and a hodgepodge of '60s cartoon chase-scene soundtracks whirled into "The Riff."
What current members Patrick Carpenter and Kevin Foakes have done, instead, is take the moniker DJ Food to the next level of its very namesake in an effort to continue pushing vinyl addicts in new directions. At first the result is odd; Kaleidoscope actually comes off as two short albums, with one part geared entirely for DJs to enjoy and perhaps throw into a mix here or there. The second half is nothing less than the next step on from DJ Shadow's Endtroducing, a fully fleshed-out major musical whole culled almost exclusively from old vinyl and found sounds. This second part sounds like a classical piece consisting of seven movements, and rightly so; Carpenter's been in school studying the Western musical heritage in an effort to better himself as a proper musicmaker.
This opus begins with a descent into the netherworld of sleep on the wings of "The Crow . . ." only to rest on a starlit pillow of shimmering vibraphone and flute harmonies in "Nocturne." Deep in the realm of "Nevermore" lies the climax of this curious work, as the distant din of choirs and spirits drift into the sampled string requiem of "The Sky at Night." DJ Food brings the mood back to the living with the soothing calm of the nine-minute "Minitoka," so sweet it would make your grandparents happy. Those who think they're masters of the wheels of steel now have a fresh, heaping plate of food for thought in Kaleidoscope, and it's one that's liable to keep them full for quite some time.