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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Portico Quartet: Art in the Age of Automation

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It's an inevitable rule that pretty much any piece of automated technology, especially digital technology, gets criticized for replacing something natural. The synthesizer invited a backlash when it was used (and yes, often misused) as a substitute for 'real' instruments--ditto the computerized tones and robotic timekeeping of MIDI and digital programming. Nonetheless, it's just as inevitable that after each seemingly soulless invention comes along, someone figures out how to use it in ways artistic and meaningful. Joe Zawinul made early ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2013

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Guinness Cork Jazz Festival Various Venues Cork Ireland October 25-28, 2013 Whether it was chance or fate is debatable but the fact is that had it not been for a cancelled bridge tournament the first Cork Jazz Festival might never have got off the ground. The 35th Guinness Cork Jazz Festival was officially launched in the Gresham Metropole Hotel, with a bit of the red carpet treatment for guests, sponsors and local dignitaries. It ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Portico Quartet: Portico Quartet

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Portico QuartetPortico QuartetReal World Records2012Change is inevitable, but when a group loses one of its founders and biggest conceptual fundamentals, can it really survive the loss? When Britain's Portico Quartet announced the departure of co-founder Nick Mulvey, whose hang (a UFO-shaped instrument that sounds somewhere between steel pans and gamelan gongs) was one of its most defining characteristics, the group's future certainly seemed in peril. Hard enough to replace any instrumentalist who's ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Portico Quartet: Montreal, Canada, October 2, 2010

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Portico QuartetL'AstralMontreal, CanadaOctober 2, 2010 It's a tough slog for a European band to break into the North American market. High work visa costs, expensive travel between cities distanced by hundreds--if not thousands--of miles add logistical nightmares to the fact that the North American market is so flooded with new music that you've got to be special to have even a small hope of rising above it all to be heard. Fortunately, UK's Portico ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Portico Quartet at Norwich Arts Centre, UK

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Portico Quartet Norwich Arts Centre Norwich, UK November 16, 2009 Portico Quartet is establishing itself at the forefront of the British jazz scene--a young band with a distinctive and recognizable sound that is both immediately accessible and also full of complex patterns and melodies that repay repeated listening. Their first headlining performance at Norwich Arts Centre saw the band play two sets to a packed, and hushed, auditorium. This date ...

INTERVIEW

Portico Quartet: Not Particularly a Jazz Band

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The history of Portico Quartet is brief, but it's also eventful. Since forming in 2005, this young British band have seen their first album, Knee Deep In The North Sea (Babel, 2007), become a Mercury Music Award Album of the Year, they've gathered rave reviews for their second album, Isla (Real World, 2009), and they've introduced a brand new acoustic instrument into the jazz repertoire. Although much of their music is recognizably “jazz," their use of the Hang creates a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Portico Quartet: Isla

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Having created a seismic sensation in Britain with its first album, Knee Deep In The North Sea (Babel, 2007)--which was a Mercury Prize Album Of The Year in 2008--Portico Quartet now releases that “difficult" second album. Can the group better its precocious debut? Yes it can. Portico has grown, as a collective entity and as individual musicians, and it's associating, rewardingly, with some heavy hitters: signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records and produced by John Leckie, whose credits include ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Portico Quartet: Knee Deep In The North Sea

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Portico Quartet are currently le dernier cri in London--awards nominations, MTV sync deals and top-end TV and radio sessions are being thrown their way like confetti. Knee Deep In The North Sea is the quartet's debut album and it proves to be great stuff, deserving of much of the media cavalcade.

Portico's USP is the inclusion of two hangs in the line-up. Two whats? Invented in the late 1990s by a pair of Swiss-based world music enthusiasts, the ...


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