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.
The Cinematic Orchestra have shared a new live video for “Lessons” taken from their new album “To Believe”. Filmed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Brian “B+” Cross (Mochilla) whilst the band were in Joshua Tree, USA earlier this year.
B+ said of the video, “The desert has been an important reference for Jason and Dominic during the creation of this project. We took photos out there three years back in the beginning of the publicity for the campaign. It was wonderful to go back out to Joshua Tree and hear the music performed live by the full band. It was an honour to capture the energy in the room over six takes and then intercut it with some observational shots we created using a pretty sophisticated drone. Drone technology was created in Southern California and all the stark beauty it can capture underwritten by the military industrial narratives we live with here is present in the work. Thinking about these deeper themes is central to this new Cinematic project and it was a privilege to be part of these conversations.”
On the instrumental ‘Lessons’, a melodic, melancholic meditation is built around Luke Flowers’ drums, driving the track’s ebbs and flows of energy. Whilst the saxophonist is the ever present band member Tom Chant, who in many ways embodies the evolving symbiosis of the band: a friend-of-a-friend turned studio partner turned bedrock of the band’s live formation over two decades.
The Cinematic Orchestra (founded by Jason Swinscoe and now joined long-time collaborator and friend Dominic Smith), have always defied category and convention. Neither an orchestra nor a band, not a pure jazz act but full of its influence, not electronic but originally rooted in a London based electronic scene. Musical trends come and go but they have assuredly and defiantly stuck to their principles. A refusal to compromise, to bend to classification, to follow convention.
“To Believe” was released on 15th March on Ninja Tune to widespread acclaim
For our Greek-speaking friends:
Μία από τις μακροβιότερες εκπομπές στο ελληνικό ραδιόφωνο, φέτος συμπληρώνει 30 χρόνια on air και το γιορτάζει την Παρασκευή 7 Δεκεμβρίου με ένα ολονύκτιο party γεμάτο μουσικές από τα καλύτερά μας ραδιοφωνικά χρόνια.
Ο Νίκος Κομνηνός συνιδρυτής και δ/ντης προγράμματος του Offradio από το 2008, μετρά τρεις δεκαετίες αδιάλειπτης ραδιοφωνικής παρουσίας και εκπομπών, μέσα από τις οποίες μεταδόθηκαν και διαδόθηκαν μουσικές και καλλιτέχνες που σημάδεψαν τα καλύτερα μας χρόνια. Όλες αυτές τις μουσικές θα φέρει μαζί του – σε βινύλιο και CD- στο Death Disco στις 7 Δεκεμβρίου, για μία νύχτα που δεν πρέπει να χάσετε, και κατά τη διάρκεια της οποίας όλοι όσοι θα είστε εκεί, θα έχετε τη δυνατότητα να “παραγγέλνετε” επί τόπου τραγούδια μέσω PM!
Death Disco, Ωγήγου 16, Ψυρρή
Starts 00.00 | Entrance €5
#30yearsKOM #offradio #Μουσικάρες
Λίγα λόγια για τον Νίκο Κομνηνό:
Το να «μεταδώσεις» το Νίκο Κομνηνό γραπτώς δεν είναι απλή υπόθεση. Δεν είναι απλό να κλείσεις σε λέξεις καθημερινές εκπομπές μιας ολόκληρης 30ετίας, μεσάνυχτα ή μεσημέρια γεμάτα καλά φιλτραρισμένους ήχους, μουσική πληροφορία, αφιερώματα και το πάθος ενός ανθρώπου για μουσική και επικοινωνία, στο οποίο είναι ταγμένες τουλάχιστον τρεις γενιές μέχρι τώρα. Πίσω από το οξύμωρο της βραχνής χροιάς της φωνής του -αυστηρή και ρομαντική συνάμα- υπάρχει ένας τύπος αυστηρός τόσο με τον εαυτό του όσο και με τους συνεργάτες του, αλλά και μια ρομαντική φύση που κάθε φορά που πλησιάζει μικρόφωνο γίνεται εκείνος ο παθιασμένος πιτσιρικάς που ξεκίνησε εκπομπές παράνομα τη δεκαετία του ‘80 με τους φίλους του στην πολυκατοικία του πατρικού του και που άλλαξαν τα όνοματά τους για να μην καρφωθούν στην αστυνομία. Είναι ίσως ο μοναδικός «πειρατής» του ραδιοφώνου που δεν λοξοδρόμησε στην πορεία, παραμένοντας πιστός στο μέσο και τη μουσική, στις αξίες του και τον ακροατή. Η δόξα, τα χρήματα, η αναγνωρισιμότητα και τα «τυχερά του επαγγέλματος» δεν τον συγκίνησαν ποτέ, όσο τον συγκινούν τα «δυσεύρετα πια» καλά τραγούδια και αυτή η μυσταγωγία και η οικειότητα συνάμα της επικοινωνίας με το κοινό που μόνο στο ραδιόφωνο μπορείς να έχεις. Ο πιτσιρικάς πειρατής των ‘80’s, ήταν από τους πρώτους που η ελεύθερη ραδιοφωνία έφερε στον FM100 της εποχής Κούβελα στη Θεσσαλονίκη και εν συνεχεία στον FM101, το πρώτο νεανικό ραδιόφωνο από το οποίο «αποφοίτησαν» μεγάλες καριέρες του σήμερα. Από τότε μέχρι σήμερα, ο ίδιος έχει βάλει την προσωπική του σφραγίδα ως δ/ντης προγράμματος σε τρία ραδιόφωνα που άφησαν εποχή στη Θεσσαλονίκη και όχι μόνο: 88μισό/Μύλος, Republic 100.3 και OFFRADIO – το δημοφιλέστερο online ραδιόφωνο με έδρα τη Θεσσαλονίκη, φανατικό κοινό σε όλη την Ελλάδα και ακροατές σε όλο τον πλανήτη.
Sasha and La Fleur to release debut collaboration ‘Förbindelse’ on LNOE
Watch a video of La Fleur playing Förbindelse at Melt!:
Sasha and La Fleur release their much-anticipated collaboration ‘Förbindelse’ on Last Night On Earth. The release also features a solo track from La Fleur.
Sasha’s collaborations with other artists are always driven by mutual respect and admiration for one another’s craft. His LNOE imprint is recognised as a platform to spotlight exciting fresh talent, and he has been supporting La Fleur since her debut on the label in 2015. After the Swedish producer remixed the acclaimed ‘Trigonometry’ for the label head last year along with playing the renowned Last Night On Earth boat party in Miami, fans have hoped further collaboration might be on the cards.
‘When I first approached Sasha to present some music for his label I couldn’t have dreamt he would suggest a collab together!’ La Fleur says.‘It was a great honour to say yes to the challenge. It has taken some time and a lot of drafts going back and forth to end up with this track together, when it just felt right.’
La Fleur’s career has blossomed exponentially over the last few months – from a game-changing back to back set with Cassy and B.Traits at Radio 1 Weekend, to standout sets at Bestival, Junction 2 and Melt Festival. Still on a high from delivering a flawless Essential Mix, she continues a summer of pivotal achievements including some exceptional releases, which continues with LNOE.
Whilst having two very different musical histories, these two artists are both trailblazers in their own right, constantly pushing forward and bringing the electronic music scene something fresh and exciting.
‘As the track name suggests, our ‘connection’ (in Swedish, ‘Förbindelse,’) made us start and finish this project. We are very happy that we can now share this with you.’
‘Förbindelse’ drops on Last Night On Earth on Friday 26th October.
Sasha & La Fleur – Förbindelse
La Fleur – Rooned
Niklas Paschburg Releases Hypnotic Video for ‘Anew’. The video uses footage from legendary surfer and filmaker Bruce Brown’s ‘THE ENDLESS SUMMER’.
Niklas Paschburg was born in Hamburg in 1994 – but he knows how to charm and bewitch with melodies and notes; mesmerising sounds and a cinematic atmosphere, intense crescendi and a pop flavour that moves and fascinates. Following his first EP “Tuur mang Welten”, he released his debut album ‘Oceanic’ with 7K! back on in February: a moving trip full of both melancholy and energy; twelve instrumental songs between neo-classical, ambient and electronic music, inspired by nature.
The video for ‘Anew’ uses original footage from a short film shot legendary surfer and filmmaker Bruce Brown, who became famous for producing and shooting much of the film footage for ‘The Endless Summer.’ It features skateboarding manoeuvres performed by a group of young boys, using slow motion and a variety of camera-angles which were not typical in 60’s.
Paschburg’s story is intriguing: Paschburg spent as much time as possible on the coast throughout the past year, catching the mood, breathing in the sea breeze, listening to the constant flow of the waves and transposing it all into his music. This period was a defining experience for the young German composer, grown up as a pianist and then attracted by the so-called “neo-classical scene”: “As a teenager I used to listen to Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Hauschka and all that world, and my EP was influenced by those artists. Then I moved in other directions: for my first record I really wanted to make something different, something between piano, classical and electronic music, but also with some pop flavours incorporated – not in harmonies, but in the songs’ structure”.
The result is a soundtrack of a landscape with echoes of Bonobo and Kiasmos, on the electronic side, and with Bon Iver as Paschburg’s main pop reference, co-produced and mixed by Gijs van Klooster (who has previously worked with Joep Beving and Tom Trago). And another feather in the cap for 7K!, the hub launched by the Berlin-based company !K7, to promote neo-classical, ambient and experimental music.
28th October – SIlent Green Kulturquartier, Berlin (Germany)
31st October – E-Werk, Erlangen (Germany)
22nd November – Šv. Kotrynos bažnyčia, Vilnius (Lithuania)
5th Decemver – Nochtwache, Hamburg (Germany)
23rd January – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht (Netherlands)
25th January – Westerliefde, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Tricky has recruited heavyweight Italian producer and fellow !K7 artist DJ Tennis to remix ‘Running Wild feat. Mina Rose’, the third single to be taken from his universally acclaimed 13th studio album, ‘Ununiform’. Drawing on more than two decades of experience, DJ Tennis AKA Manfredi Romano has built up his reputation as an eclectic DJ and versatile producer.
The Life and Death label head twists Tricky’s hypnotic original with haunting electronics and brooding synths for an absorbing reinterpretation that is certain to entertain fans of Tricky and DJ Tennis alike.
Inspired by the emotive elements of the original, electro duo LA Riots infused their own adept house artistry to bring the single to newer heights. Keeping all the essential heart-rendering tonalities of the track, the pair turn ‘Running Wild’ into a sizable, four-on-the-floor thriller, enlivened by a fusion of deep drum patterns, full-bodied synths, and skillfully placed vocal chops.
‘Ununiform’ is the first album made since Tricky moved to Berlin, three years ago. While many people move to the clubbing capital of Europe to party, this was a clean break in every sense of the word. “I like it here because I don’t know anybody. I eat good food, I go for walks, I’ve got a bike. I’m trying to look after myself. I don’t drink here. Some people call it boring, but I wake at 9am and I’m asleep by 11 o’clock at night. I’m looking after myself.”
Tricky also credits much of the freedom of ‘Ununiform’ to something more grounded: “This album now is the first album I’ve made (in years) which isn’t going to pay off some kind of debt. So it’s more relaxed!” Referring to his previous albums, False Idols, Adrian Thaws, and the Skilled Mechanics project, he says “I was doing these records thinking ‘the quicker I do this album, the quicker I pay off the tax people.’ So ‘Ununiform’ has been very chilled out. Now, I own the label, I pay for everything myself. I’m a truly independent artist. Now I do what I want. Freedom is a beautiful thing.”
Tricky will also be touring throughout the last two months of 2017 and will be hitting the following dates:
20th November – Warsaw, Poland – SOLD OUT
21st November – Poznan, Poland – SOLD OUT
22nd November – Krakow, Poland – SOLD OUT
23rd November – Wroclaw, Poland
28th November – Berlin, Germany
29th November – Hamburg, Germany
30th November – Cologne, Germany
1st December – Amsterdam, Netherlands
13th December – London, England
15th December – Paris, France
16th December – Strasbourg, France
19th December – Leuven, Belgium
20th December – Liège, Belgium – SOLD OUT