Portico Quartet are on a roll this year. Following the release of Terrain back in May, the outfit of Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie have announced the release of a new album titled Monument. Both albums were recorded at the same sessions but whereas Terrain reflects a darker time as the pandemic swept the globe, the upcoming album looks ahead in an optimistic way. Speaking about Monument, Wyllie comments:
“It’s possibly our most direct album to date. It’s melodic, structured and there’s an economy to it that is very efficient. There’s not much searching or wastage within the music itself, it is all finalised ideas, precisely sculpted and presented as a polished artefact.”
“Monument sits somewhere between our albums Portico Quartet and Art in the Age of Automation. It has perhaps a more overtly electronic edge to its sound – there are more synthesisers and electronic elements than we have used before and the music is often streamlined and rhythmic”.
Monument will see the light of day on November 12th through Gondwana Records and ahead of it, they’ve shared the first stunning and shimmering single, ‘Impressions’. Take a listen below.
Photo: Hannah Collins
Portico Quartet have a new album on the way entitled Terrain. Consisting of a three-part suite, in addition to their own musical language, the album sees them explore a new sonic terrain drawing on American minimalism and ambient. Terrain is reportedly closer to previous works like Line and Shed Song (Isla/2009), Rubidium (Portico Quartet/2012) and Immediately Visible (Memory Streams/2019), as the bands’s saxophonist Jack Wyllie explains:
“We’ve always had this side of the band in some form. The core of it is having a repeated pattern, around which other parts move in and out, and start to form a narrative. We used to do longer improvisations not dissimilar to this around the time of our second record Isla. On ‘Terrain’ we’ve really dug into it and explored that form. I suppose there are obvious influences such as American minimalism, but I was particularly inspired by the work of Japanese composer Midori Takada. Her approach, particularly on ‘Through the Looking Glass’, where she moves through different worlds incorporating elements of minimalism with non-Western instruments and melodies were at the front of my mind when writing this music”.
Speaking about the recording, drummer Duncan Bellamy stated that it “felt a bricolage of conflicting, shifting signs, subtle tension and multiple narratives. Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘Mirror’ and British artist John Akomfrah’s incredible ‘Handsworth Songs’ were pivotal points of reference for me.”
Terrain is set for release on May 28th through Gondwana Records and ahead of it they have shared the sublime ‘Terrain II’. Take a listen below.