January 30, 2012

V4YS Album Review - Portico Quartet - Portico Quartet (Real World Records)

Portico Quartet are back with a self-titled groundbreaking new LP, out on Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

Since their beginnings in 2007 the London-based band has been associated with a mysterious nu-jazz signature sounding like no other. One of the reason is their mastering of the Hang a relatively unknown percussion instrument created 10 years ago in Switzerland and carring in some way an exotic caribbean drums flava. But their originality also lies in their ability to blend many influences into their music, reflecting their immersion into a bubbling London scene forbidding barriers between jazz, electro, broken beats or indie rock's worlds.

If the quartet line-up has changed with pianist Kier Vine replacing percussionist Nick Mulvey, the most important turn this time is the appearance of an electronic/digital dimension into their work.

This evolution hasn't been planned, it rather happened as a natural process that started on stage while touring following the release of their second LP Isla.
Sound effects, loops, samples slowly but surely appeared on these accoustic musicians's arsenal. One thing leading to another, these digital add-ons stimulated the band's creativity and became a major asset when they started to work on this third album.

As a telling example, their work on the "Hang" : if it is still present on this record, it is almost as a new instrument. Not recorded live anymore, it was mainly used through finely reworked samples, creating a totally different sound. More generally, besides the digital gimmicks, even the rythmic structure of several tracks borrows from the electro world with deep and regular drums and double-bass lines often reminiscent of the deep techno universe.

All in all here is another splendid effort by the quartet. A truly fascinating tribal feeling emanates from this record, as if jazz and trance were quietly dating to naturally end up getting married during a peaceful ceremony. Not to be missed live during their forthcoming european tour where the record should take all its dimension !

Below an extract, Spinner, as well as a little "making-of" video of the LP :

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WeGoFunk !

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