sat 15/06/2024

CD: Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet

CD: Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet

Less jazz, more trance from Mercury nominated Londoners

Portico Quartet's 'Portico Quartet': a natural progression

Although they’ll still be filed under jazz, Portico Quartet’s third album takes them even closer to the ambient and trance they’ve been edging towards since they attracted attention in 2007 after the release of their Mercury-nominated debut, Knee Deep in the North Sea. It’s partly to do with the departure of founder member Nick Mulvey and his replacement with keyboard/percussion player Keir Vine, and also a natural progression.

Much that’s familiar remains: Milo Fitzpatrick's pulsing, snappy bass, Jack Wyllie’s drifting, occasionally dissonant, sometimes squalling sax and the precision of Duncan Bellamy’s busy, plugging-the-gaps drumming. The Gamelan sound of the hang remains too, as do their Philip Glass/Steve Reich leanings. But there’s a greater reliance on loops and a keyboard wash, giving the whole a floating quality, placing them alongside current kings-of-drift like Walls.

Their exotic edge also hasn't been lost. “Rubidium’s” opening shot wears its south-east Asian influence, but the loops weaving through its percussive clatter are pure trance. On “Ruins”, however, the two approaches coagulate more successfully, the synth wash and insistent bass meshing. The addition of vocals to the glitchy “Steepless” underlines that this is the sound of a band moving into new territories. Although transitional and more about texture than ever, it’s still possible to get lost in Portico Quartet.

Watch the video for “Ruins” from Portico Quartet’s Portico Quartet

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