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Portico Quartet|Monument

Monument

Portico Quartet

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By combining the saxophone with the hang (an acoustic percussive instrument similar to the Caribbean steel pan), Portico Quartet can always be sure of having a unique sound identity. A sense of difference resonates throughout Monument, released on the excellent Mancunian label Gondwana Records just six months after Terrain. Since their formation in 2005, the British group have always occupied a special place in the teeming contemporary English jazz scene. Spotted by Peter Gabriel who signed them to his Real World label, the band caught the limelight with a jazz sound that comes laced with post-rock, worldly, serial and even electronic sounds. The group embraces technological evolution as one of the key drivers of their project. From Radiohead to the ECM label, from E.S.T. to Steve Reich via dubstep, ambient or krautrock, Portico Quartet have always been full of pleasant surprises for the eyes and the ears…

Even though these two 2021 albums were recorded during the same sessions, each has its own, almost opposite idea and form. Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie made Terrain a dark snapshot of the pandemic, before penning an ode to better times on Monument. Without being a dance record, Monument exudes an unprecedented rhythmic energy. Wyllie is quite clear on the subject: “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.” Designed with far more machines and synths than usual, the album modernises the ideas of the minimalist movement by taking them to a kind of imaginary dancefloor. An addictive seventh album. ©Max Dembo/Qobuz

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Monument

Portico Quartet

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1
Opening
00:02:50

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Francesca Ter-Berg, Cello

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

2
Impressions
00:03:44

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BackgroundVocals

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

3
Ultraviolet
00:05:12

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BassGuitar - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, MixingEngineer, BassGuitar

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

4
Ever Present
00:04:48

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Piano, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BackgroundVocals, BassGuitar - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

5
Gateway
00:01:14

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, MixingEngineer - Jack Wyllie, Composer, MixingEngineer

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

6
Monument
00:04:40

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

7
A.O.E
00:05:35

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Piano, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BackgroundVocals, BassGuitar - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Saxophone, MixingEngineer - Francesca Ter-Berg, Cello

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

8
Warm Data
00:08:16

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BackgroundVocals, BassGuitar - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Piano, Saxophone, Vibraphone, MixingEngineer

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

9
Portal
00:01:09

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Jack Wyllie, Composer, MixingEngineer

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

10
On the Light
00:06:28

John Davis, MasteringEngineer - Greg Freeman, MixingEngineer, SoundEngineer - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer, Drums, Piano, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer, BassGuitar - Jack Wyllie, Composer, Piano, Saxophone, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Francesca Ter-Berg, Cello - Simmy Singh, Violin

2021 Gondwana Records 2021 Gondwana Records

Album review

By combining the saxophone with the hang (an acoustic percussive instrument similar to the Caribbean steel pan), Portico Quartet can always be sure of having a unique sound identity. A sense of difference resonates throughout Monument, released on the excellent Mancunian label Gondwana Records just six months after Terrain. Since their formation in 2005, the British group have always occupied a special place in the teeming contemporary English jazz scene. Spotted by Peter Gabriel who signed them to his Real World label, the band caught the limelight with a jazz sound that comes laced with post-rock, worldly, serial and even electronic sounds. The group embraces technological evolution as one of the key drivers of their project. From Radiohead to the ECM label, from E.S.T. to Steve Reich via dubstep, ambient or krautrock, Portico Quartet have always been full of pleasant surprises for the eyes and the ears…

Even though these two 2021 albums were recorded during the same sessions, each has its own, almost opposite idea and form. Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie made Terrain a dark snapshot of the pandemic, before penning an ode to better times on Monument. Without being a dance record, Monument exudes an unprecedented rhythmic energy. Wyllie is quite clear on the subject: “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.” Designed with far more machines and synths than usual, the album modernises the ideas of the minimalist movement by taking them to a kind of imaginary dancefloor. An addictive seventh album. ©Max Dembo/Qobuz

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