Portico Quartet still sound like nothing you ever heard before. The Mercury nominated East London based outfit's unique brand of hypnotic minimalism has expanded to embrace new sonic territories. Drawing on the inspiration of electronica, ambient, classical and dance music as they take their strange, beautiful, cinematic, future music to exciting new vistas where the inspiration of Burial, Mount Kimbie and Flying Lotus rubs shoulders with the textures of Arve Henriksen and Bon Iver and echoes of Steve Reich and Max Richter. But all underpinned by a shared joy in collective music making as the band push their inimitable music into the future.
Their journey over the last five years has seen them rise from gritty street performances on London's Southbank to countless international shows from Berlin to Paris, London to New York and beyond. Their self-produced debut album 'Knee Deep In The North Sea' was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize (alongside Radiohead, Robert Plant and Elbow), and they subsequently signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World label. Their second album 'Isla', produced by John Leckie and recorded at Abbey Road, explored wide-angle filmic themes and textures. Now they return with their eagerly awaited self-titled third album that finds the band expanding on their trademark sound of eerie hang, ethereal sax, earthy bass and drums via an organic use of electronics and effects diving headlong into an epic, cinematic sound palette. They've done all this while integrating hang player/keyboardist Kier Vine (an old friend of Milo's from Goldsmith's University) into the line-up alongside drummer Duncan Bellamy, bassist Milo Fitzpatrick and saxophonist/keyboardist Jack Wyllie after the band's original hang player Nick Mulvey left to explore pastures new.
Expanding their sound to embrace electronics was a natural progression in an age where integrating effects, real time looping and samples is second nature to many musicians. In the process Portico Quartet maintain an authentic acoustic core sound that's magnified through skilled electronic manipulation. As saxophonist and keyboard player Jack explains; "When we were touring the last album we were trying to find ways of going beyond the sounds of our own instruments, for me that was using effects pedals and then looping it - Duncan ended up taking a feed from my saxophone so he could affect what I was doing. Then Milo had some effects on his double bass and now Duncan has now got wholly electric drums, alongside his normal drum kit - so you've still got the warm acoustic sound of the instrument but it's being manipulated. So you get that warm acoustic feeling but you also have digital manipulation." And for all the digital trickery behind these sounds, there's both a human being and a soulful intent behind every sound created and note played.