Friday, 1 March 2013

Portico Quartet- Portico Quartet

Ethereal electronic soundscapes, weird harmonies. Jazz flavoured melodies, rhythms which have been borrowed from dozens of different world musics, and the inventive use of the Hang, a drum-like instrument not invented until the 2000s. This innovative instrument gives the group a distinctive sound and unique feel.

The tracks on this album show off the wide ranging influences, and skill of writing in the band- the majority of which are instrumental pieces, as opposed to songs. However “Sleepless”, which features the lyrical stylings of Cornelia, shows that this group can also pen a highly melodic song, as opposed to the more experimental soundscapes of “Window Seat”, or the ethereal groove of “Ruins”, which shows off the band’s take on melodic lines and harmonies from traditional East Asian music, whilst mixing them with a chilled-out 21st Century feel, mixing in an additional modern jazz element. Spinner shows off the band’s Jazz influences to great effect; opening with a swinging bass riff which is covered by a Jan Garbarek-esque Soprano Saxophone melody.
The biggest selling point of this group is the atmospheric nature of their writing style. The music can just wash over you and all of a sudden you’re at the end of the album without realising that you’ve listened to a full 10 tracks. This spacey grooviness is definitely one to put on and relax to.