Portico Quartet was once a jazz-based, experimental/minimalist project based out of London. However, the four-piece has since dropped down to a trio (and dropped the “Quartet”), and further dropped their music into the world of electronic and ambience. Lined with richly chaotic textures and explosive potential, Living Fields also features a few vocal guest appearances, adding to the experimental quality of the album.
Long time collaborators Jono McCleerly, Jamie Woon, and Joe Newman of Alt-J, contribute their vocals to the album, with only “Dissolution” being instrumental out of the nine-track collection. The ambient style of the record is closely linked to the guest vocalists original style, providing a spacey, whispering quality to his respective track(s) on the album, helping to contrast against the deep, dense percussion used throughout.
“Memory of Newness”, Jamie Woon’s only contribution is an excellent example of Portico’s ranging spectrum of tones. Intense bass pulses force there way overtop of Woon’s soft, airy vocals. “101”, which features the vocals of Alt-J frontman Joe Newman, is a stand-out track from Living Fields, with influences from chill-step and synth-pop brushing the surface, making it similar to a remixed version of an Alt-J song.
Most noticeably, the title track from Living Fields is an intense performance from both Portico and McCleery. A pulsating bass hypnotizes the listener before suddenly swarming the soundscape with a frenzy of synthesizers and drum machines, while McCleery adds a dimension to balance out the EQ.
Portico’s leap from the world of jazz into electronic/synth-pop is bold and exciting, especially since the newly shaped trio are doing it so well. Listen to a few of the tracks from Living Fields via Nextbop.com.