Following two sold-out headline shows at The Roundhouse last year, Portico Quartet return with ‘Memory Streams’, their fifth studio LP continuing the journey first started with 2008’s Mercury-nominated debut ‘Knee Deep in the North Sea’. It’s a creative path that has seen the band embrace new technology and explore ambient/electronic influences alongside minimalism, jazz and beyond. It is a process that has encouraged change, with each album seeing them expand the scope and explore new trajectories.
From the gentle charm of their breakthrough debut’s inimitable mix of jazz, world and minimalist influences, the tight-knit brilliance of ‘Isla’, the electronic infused eponymous ‘Portico Quartet’ to ‘Art in the Age of Automation’ (their most electronic statement to date), they have never been artists to look backwards. Each record has been its own world, its own statement and offered its own meaning. It’s the mark of a singular group that has always stood its own higher ground, above being tarred with certain genre brushes, separate from any scene and prepared to challenge itself, find new things to say, and push its own limits.
It is an approach that has encouraged the band to plough their own furrow, with saxophonist Jack Wyllie commenting, “I feel more connected to other musicians these days and those relationships influence the sound we have in some way, but I wouldn’t say we feel a part of a supposed movement or fit in any pigeonhole. It still feels quite out on its own, which is cool, because it helps the music feel unique”.
The new longplayer ‘Memory Streams’ is part of the same continuum and yet, as the name hints, there’s a sense here of a remembering, shards of past influences, and hints of ideas re-forged. For Wyllie, Memory Streams “feels in some ways about the identity of the quartet, about the records we’ve made before, and the memory of them”. whereas for drummer Duncan Bellamy it suggests “a torrent of imagery, accessing and reliving archived memories, which perhaps aren’t even your own”.
Sonically, ‘Memory Streams’ embraces the classic PQ palette of drums, saxophone, bass and hang-drums, but nonetheless the output has modulated, become more modern, whilst still channeling the beauty and mystery which has always marked the very best of their music. It’s the sound of an outfit at ease with itself, who after a dozen years of recording and playing together, are able to simultaneously explore and embrace their own identity.
‘Memory Streams’ also marks a return to a more predominantly band orientated sound than ‘Art In The Age…’ and its partner release ‘Untitled’. Bellamy says “we wanted to create something that had texture, fibre and space to it. Something that felt vivid, real and alive”. During recording they re-amped a lot of the sounds, a process which lends a sense of depth and spaciousness to the audio. Wyllie adds, “we tried to reduce the elements to what really identified the group and also as a way to help us write – it’s not easy if you have unlimited possibilities. But it was also an interesting challenge, as it was about writing something new that felt like a development, whilst also drawing on the past”.
One of the first tracks they wrote for the new album, ‘With, Beside, Against’ has an expansive, quietly unfolding quality that makes it the perfect opener. ‘Signals’ is a creeping, mysterious piece that captures the spirit of the record. It’s hypnotic, rolling quality builds throughout with shades of a classic PQ tune, but with a tougher edge. The outstanding ‘Gradient’ is a more produced piece; mixing lo-fi and beautifully recorded acoustic parts together, it grows from a simple, repeated drum motif, outwards into a searching hypnotic crescendo. ‘Ways of Seeing’ is a synthesis of minimalism and more dancefloor-oriented rhythms. A lone pulse from the drum machine cuts through a haze of chiming, swirling hang-drums and pads built from shards of looped sax.
‘Memory Palace’ is a distant echo of the motif from ‘Gradient’, and is a bare, slow piano piece shrouded in a mist of saxophone noise. The punchy ‘Offset’ is all about motion and tension and Bellamy’s drums pound in response. ‘Dissident Gardens’ is an intricate, hypnotic track in 3 parts – almost prog-like in rhythm, but with a strong minimalist element, with Farfisa organs as the repetitive top lines. ‘Double Helix’ begins with string swells – stopping and jolting as if someone is switching TV channels before locking into a deep groove. The beautifully sparse, emotional heft of ‘Immediately Visible’ sits in a powerful lineage of Portico Quartet tracks like ‘Line, Rubidium’ and ‘Beyond Dialogue’. It was largely improvised in the studio and offers the perfect ending point for the album with its sense of journey and deep well of feeling.
An LP that locates their music in an age where we have unfettered access to a vast and ever-expanding archive of imagery and ideas, ‘Memory Streams’ both embraces and builds on Portico Quartet’s own unique music and legacy, and locates them firmly in the present.
Underworld have announced details of DRIFT Series 1, that concludes on November 1, 2019 with a collection of new material released as a box set/LP/CD/DL and on streaming services. The box set features 7 CDs, a Blu-ray and an eighty page full colour book.
New track S T A R online everywhere now:
What is DRIFT?
• It’s precisely one year inside the minds of Underworld.
• It’s a journey that began on 1st November 2018 when Underworld released the track Another Silent Way and set off with no map, no fixed destination and a simple mantra (“Drift is the opposite of ‘normal’ or ‘usual’ practice; we’ll do this until we’re dust.”) ‘Rick Smith and Karl Hyde’s aim was to create and publish music and film episodically for 52 weeks and see where the journey took them. Within a few weeks, the experiment found its own path, prompting the electronic pioneers to react to previous releases and create new works accordingly. Over time, the duo’s innate curiosity opened up a unique space in which they could experiment, learn and explore new frontiers – together and with others (including Tomato’s Simon Taylor, Australian improv-trance band The Necks, techno producer Ø [Phase], Japanese noise band Melt-Banana, economics writer Aditya Chakrabortty and members of Black Country, New Road). During the 52 weeks, five self-contained episodes were released (respectively in November, January, March, May and August) – collectively, they formed DRIFT Series 1.
• It’s a unique and expansive audio/visual document of that open and constantly evolving recording process – seven discs of immersive and exploratory music that dive deep inside the band’s psyche. And it’s also a carefully picked single disc sampler that guides the listener straight through the centre of the project.
• It’s a series of extraordinary films that take you from Shibuya Crossing to the Moroccan desert to rural Essex via the inside of supercomputer.
• It’s a book that delves into process and explores the motivation behind one of the most ambitious creative endeavours ever attempted by a recording artist.
And… at the heart of it, there’s some of the best music Underworld have ever made – as much a progressive leap forward into the unknown as their classic debut dubnobasswithmyheadman.
DRIFT Series 1 collects the entire body of work and will be made available digitally on the 1-year anniversary of the first release. The DRIFT Series 1 Sampler Edition comes out the same day. The DRIFT Series 1 box set comprises 7 CDs, 1 Blu-ray, and an 80 page exclusive book documenting the entire DRIFT journey from start to finish in interviews with Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Tomato’s Simon Taylor along with pictures, poems, commentary and lyrics.
LuckyMe proudly present Dawn Chorus, the new album from Jacques Greene (out October 18th), and present lead single, “Do It Without You”. A bold step forward, Dawn Chorus is also Greene’s most collaborative project to date, featuring additional production and instrumentation from film composer Brian Reitzell (Lost In Translation), cello by London’s Oliver Coates, additional production from Clams Casino and original vocal contributions from ambient artist Julianna Barwick, rapper Cadence Weapon and singers Ebhoni and Rochelle Jordan, all sampled, processed and stitched back into the album.
If Greene’s 2017 debut album, Feel Infinite, was the soundtrack to a dream pregame – amping you up to lose yourself in the club – then Dawn Chorus resides in the post-rave reflective moment. A time of heightened sensuality and latent possibility.
Greene approached the making of Dawn Chorus as if he were a band. He lived in the studio for five months this past winter – half the time at home in Toronto, the other half in Hudson Mohawke’s studio in L.A. – and wrote these songs in a sprint to capture this chapter in his life. Ten years into the game and not yet in his thirties, his perspective on the value of dance music and where it rests with his daily life and inspiration bare out on this album. While samples played a big part in his early output, his creative process for Dawn Chorus revolved around recording a stellar cast of musicians, arranging new parts.
To craft the sound of the record, he thought about the artists he held dear and researched the gear they used as a means of being in dialogue with their emotional tenor. Some of the gear he sourced included the delay that My Bloody Valentine was renowned for, as well as a compressor used by French Touch producers Alan Braxe and Fred Falke. Working with mix engineer Joel Ford (of Ford & Lopatin), he created a rule book for the album’s sonics that saw each part, from the drums to the pads, be processed in a specific way, through guitar pedals and outboard equipment.
Dawn Chorus opens with “Serenity,” an all-back-to-mine breaks tune that Greene describes as “a weird, euphoric take on Chemical Brothers.” “Night Service” is a neon-lit hip house anthem helmed by Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon, who drapes a love letter to the club around Greene’s acid-dipped synths. Elsewhere, “Distance” blends ambient textures with sampled birdsong and the snaking lines of Oliver Coates’s cello.
Now 29, Greene has been making music “about the club” for over a decade. His sound could be described as an emotional haze, in that its balance of sonic elements work to illuminate the overlapping feelings that lie between the familiar binaries. Outside of his own releases, Greene has explored his relationship with the club in a variety of contexts, from remixing Radiohead to producing for Katy B and Tinashe and touring with The xx.
He will tour Dawn Chorus in Europe and North America this October. An intimate first live show at the St Pancras Old Church is already sold out in London and another show has been added.
Dawn Chorus Tracklist:
2. Drop Location
3. Do It Without You
4. Night Service
6. Let Go
7. For Love
Larry Gus (real name Panagiotis Melidis) returns to DFA with Subservient, his fourth release for the label. More pop-oriented than his previous albums, Subservient is a lush combination of “crisis funk pop and trad Mediterranean grooves.” Lyrics sung in Greek and English address Larry’s overwhelming struggles with being a father, husband, artist, and human in 2019. In the artist’s own words, this album is about “trying to understand empathy and act with it on everyday life,” as well as “the imperative of empathy above everything else.”
Listen to the first single, “Taped Hands Here”:
Subservient is sample-free, a first for Larry, who plays every instrument himself: a drum kit, an SM57 microphone, a guitar, a bass, a TE OP-1 synthesizer, and a Roland JV-1010 synth module. This is fourth-world power pop, as if Alex Chilton was produced by Eno and Hassell. The thoughtful, upbeat arrangements and gentle vocals are spacious and warm, and tend to offset whatever darker tone the lyrics might imply. Larry confronts more acute tensions, such as being a father in Greece during the crisis, and the parallels of a child’s sicknesses and adult ailments, as well as larger, more existential pressures – the grasp of nostalgia, the weight and meaning of making decisions, and the desire to move from hermeticism towards sociability.
The record graciously explores the nuance that can be found within delineated lines: pop and folk music, rooted in Greek tradition; internal anxieties and empathy expressed outward; the tightrope struggle of living in the present and wallowing in the past.
Larry will also be releasing a 7-inch single alongside the album, which features two A-sides, “Kerkis (Judas-Tree)” and “Foreign Steps,” from the same recording sessions as Subservient. The lyrics to “Kerkis (Judas-Tree)” were written by Efthimis Filippou, an award-winning screenwriter known for his work with director Yorgos Lanthimos on films like Dogtooth, The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The 7-inch precedes an upcoming audio play, written by Efthimis and scored by Larry, to be produced with the Onassis Stegi (AKA Cultural Center) sometime next year. The audio play will be released on DFA in 2020.
Preorder the record here.
01. Total Diseases (Subservience)
02. A Likely Projection
03. Text of Intent
04. Taped Hands Here
05. In This Position
06. Ayler the Pilot
07. The Sun Sections
08. Readers & Authors
09. Classifying a Disease
Montreal by way of Berlin electronic duo Blue Hawaii (comprised of Raphaelle “Ra” Standell-Preston and Alex “Agor” Kerby) share new single “All That Blue” and announce their new album “Open Reduction Internal Fixation” out October 11th via Arbutus Recordings. “All That Blue” brilliantly sets out the stall for record, with its deep bassline and house inflections, anchored by Ra’s dreamy vocals as they warped and vocodered and guided by an irresistible saxophone line. It really works its magic over 5 minutes and the 90s nodding visualiser is the perfect accompaniment, watch above.
“All That Blue” is a dance-floor friendly slapper written in early spring of 2019, in Berlin and Montreal. It features Ra delivering a syrupy, relaxed verse wishing away the dregs of winter and grey skies, contrasted against a belted chorus demanding all that blue and sunshine. Deep bass, spacey acoustic guitar, saxophone, heavy vocoding, and hypnotic drums form the basis for the lyrical feeling, chugging forward towards good vibes. – Blue Hawaii
Recorded in the wake of the release of “Family Portrait” and constructed with the dancefloor at the forefront of his mind, the three tracks assembled on “Epiphany” 12” are sleeker and tougher than his acclaimed debut album but his signature warmth and personality is ever present. For the title track in particular, he drew inspiration from sci-fi movies. “I was watching a bunch of these films like The Thirteenth Floor, The Matrix (happy 20th anniversary) or Fifth Element, and I wanted the release to play on the idea of a desolate physical and social landscape becoming a utopia from a communal epiphany – or revolution”.
“I wanted to capture a more expansive, epic, sound.” he continues. “Following from the previous video for ‘Pale Blue Dot’, which centred around my parents. I named the 12” and track after my sister, Epiphany, and wanted it to be about her as much as a literal epiphany. The term feels like a step towards the bigger and expansive sound that I was going for, while naming something after my sister, who is one of my idols. I wanted the 12” to reflect a communal realisation, one that comes politically, or when you’ve escaped everything in the midst of the rave—hence the title of one of the tracks, ‘The Revolution’ too.”
The ‘Epiphany’ video builds on these sentiments as director Theo Nunn (Lisbon Studio) explains: “‘Epiphany’ guides the viewer on a breadcrumb trail to collective transcendence. Through our journey we follow the traces that chart the transformation of a culture, it’s abandoning of scientific conventional progress and the evolution of a musical enlightenment and psychedelic renaissance.”
Having graced stages at Coachella, Glastonbury and Sonar By Day so far this year, Ross from Friends returns to North America in September for shows in Brooklyn, Chicago, Austin, Portland, San Francisco and more. On his return to the UK he will embark on a month long DJ residency at London’s Phonox in October 2019.
“Epiphany” is out now on 12”/Digital via Brainfeeder.
Ilton has released his debut EP, Good & Gone. Incorporating pulsing synths and elusive guitar riffs wrapped in introspective moody vocals, Ilton delivers an evocative EP that takes into account the avenues of self discovery and the struggles of releasing the past.
Good & Gone presents Ilton’s musical journey in exploring who he is not only as an artist, but as an individual. The title track, “Good & Gone” highlights the struggles of breaking away from the past while maintaining one’s own self integrity. The track blends electronic pop rhythms with mesmerizing synths to captivate his listeners and serves as a complex anthem. The second track, “Closer”, defines one urgent desire to reach self success despite feeling any sense of doubts and fear. This track displays uplifting beats and electronic balance to keep the listener engaged throughout. The EP is lined with hypnotic elements and entrances the listener into Ilton’s world.
Ilton and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Greece at a young age to seek opportunities and growth in a new home. Now Brooklyn based Ilton cites inspiration from New York’s local community of artists and finds solace in the support given between creatives outside of the music industry. Ilton started writing and producing for others in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2018 that he joined forces with Unisex Records that Ilton decided to take a step in his own light and create solo pieces. His debut single, “Going Up” began his underground following that allowed him to perform at multiple venues throughout New York City.
With two upcoming music videos on the horizon, be sure to keep an eye out for this blooming artist.
Taken from the upcoming album ‘Voyage Voyage’ : https://COMA.lnk.to/VoyageVoyage
Music producer, Biologist and Ecologist, Dominik Eulberg has a clear message within his music. Creating a plea to save the biodiversity of nature, his forthcoming album, ‘Mannigfaltig’ pushes forward the importance of preserving our earth’s ecosystems and warning of the danger posed to it by humans.
Ahead of the album’s release via !K7 Records, Dominik unveils the next single, ‘Fünffleck-Widderchen’ which translates as ‘New Forest Burnet’. With each album track from ‘Mannigfaltig’ aptly named after varying native animal species which bares a number in its name in German, ‘Fünffleck-Widderchen’ derives from the name of a distinctive species of moth with five red spots on each forewing. Looking to celebrate the many shades of nature and its beauty, Dominik offers a near extra-terrestrial take on ‘Fünffleck-Widderchen’. Electrical currents tick and crackle as feather light bells and synths harmonise before the unleashing of a weighty, punching kick.
“With Fünffleck-Widderchen I wanted to build a hypnotic and almost transcendental journey. For that I created polyrhythmic sequences which are also sometimes triplet, but their transpositions are still in the classic 4/4 scheme. In interaction with its broken beats and the wide Oberheim theme with no clear start and ending, it develops its own vortex this way. Fünffleck-Widderchen (English: New Forest Burnet) is a moth with five red spots per forewing. This is why it is track-number five on my album Mannigfaltig.”
As he seeks to showcase nature at its most raw and magnificent, a series of stunning and nature-centric music videos will also accompany the album. With the recent release of previous single ‘Goldene Acht’, Dominik worked with one of Germany’s leading documentary film makers Jan Haft to create the music video. The upcoming video for album track ‘Eintagsfliege’ has also been recognised by the UN Decade Of Biodiversity, gaining ‘An Outstanding Contribution’ award whilst also receiving recognition from the Federal Agency of Nature Conservation who will feature the film as their ‘Project Of The Week’. Alongside the new single ‘Fünffleck-Widderchen’, Dominik also reveals a series of album tour dates that will see him perform across Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Spain.
Dominik Eulberg’s ‘Mannigfaltig’ will be released via !K7 Records on 6th September. Pre-order here.