Knee-Deep in the North Sea

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Knee-Deep in the North Sea
Portico Quartet Knee-Deep in the North Sea album cover.jpg
Studio album by Portico Quartet
Released 5th November 2007
Recorded February/August 2007
Studio Livingston Studios, London
Genre Jazz, world
Length 47:47 (67:22 deluxe edition)
Label Vortex/Babel Label (Deluxe edition: Real World)
Producer Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet chronology
Knee-Deep in the North Sea
(2007)
Isla
(2009)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The 405 8.5/10[1]
All About Jazz 4/5 stars[2]
Contact Music 4.5/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
MusicOMH 4/5 stars[5]

Knee-Deep in the North Sea is Portico Quartet’s 2007 debut album. It was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize and was Time Out Magazine’s Jazz, Folk and World album of the year 2007.

Background[edit]

The songs for the album were developed by the band while busking outside the National Theatre on London’s South Bank.[6] The songs are notable for their use of the hang, a modern percussion instrument.

The album was originally released in 2007 on the Vortex imprint of Babel Label. In 2011 the album was re-mixed by John Leckie for Real World Records and re-released as a deluxe edition. This included three additional bonus tracks. It was the first time the album was released on vinyl.

The name for the title track comes from when founding member Nick Mulvey attended a rave by the sea in Norfolk.[7]

The album was an important influence on the band Alt-J, who listed it as one of five records they wouldn’t exist without.[8] The title track was referenced in their song Dissolve Me, from the album An Awesome Wave.[9] Joe Newman described it as “the best song of the noughties”.[10]

Music from the album was used as the soundtrack to the BBC Radio 4 play Curious Under the Stars.[11]

The artwork and design for the album was done by the drummer, Duncan Bellamy, who has a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins.

Critical reception[edit]

The album was very well received on its release. It was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize and was Time Out Magazine’s Jazz, Folk and World album of the year 2007.[12]

The week after the Mercury Prize awards show it debuted on the UK Top 200 Albums Chart at #186.[13]

The album was praised for its sense of melody. All About Jazz wrote that it is “mellifluous, exuberant and jaunty, full of catchy tunes and strong hooks”[14] and Drowned in Sound called it “remarkably restrained for a debut record…melodies are carefully thought-out and arranged for the greatest dramatic effect”.[15]

Other reviews highlighted the album’s atmosphere and combination of influences, Music OMH highlighted that “where the quartet succeed is in the atmosphere they steadily build up throughout the album, with each track also working on its own as a mini-suite of contrasting moods”.[16] The 405 called it “an incredibly diverse album…refreshing to hear such beautifully layered, complex sounds created with instruments alone”,[17] and Contact Music described it as “a finely constructed masterpiece…blending influence of contemporary classical and film composers (Philip Glass and Steve Reich et al) and world musical cultures”.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed, arranged and performed by Portico Quartet.

  1. News From Verona – 4:24
  2. (Something's Going Down on) Zavodovski Island – 4:22
  3. Knee-Deep In The North Sea – 4:52
  4. Too Many Cooks – 5:32
  5. Steps In The Wrong Direction – 6:09
  6. Monsoon: Top To Bottom – 4:14
  7. The Kon Tiki Expedition – 4:29
  8. Cittàgazze – 4:47
  9. Pompidou – 3:08

(Hidden Track: Prickly Pear - 5:47)

The deluxe edition moved Prickly Pear to be a discrete rather than hidden track.

Additional bonus tracks on deluxe edition:

  • All the Pieces Matter (live) - 5:18
  • Knee-Deep in the North Sea (live at Copenhagen Jazz Festival) - 6:10
  • Steps in the Wrong Direction (live at Copenhagen Jazz Festival) - 8:07

Personnel[edit]

  • Jack Wyllie - saxophones
  • Milo Fitzpatrick - double bass
  • Duncan Bellamy - drums, hang
  • Nick Mulvey - hang
  • Produced by Portico Quartet
  • Co-produced, engineered and originally mixed by Sonny Johns, assisted by Kevin Feazey and Simone Filiali
  • Deluxe edition mixed by John Leckie
  • Design, artwork and collages by Duncan Bellamy

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Portico Quartet Knee-Deep in the North Sea (reissue)". The 405. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Portico Quartet Knee-Deep in the North Sea". All About Jazz. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Portico Quartet Knee-Deep in the North Sea (Deluxe Edition) album review". Contact Music. 
  4. ^ "Portico Quartet: Knee-Deep in the North Sea - review". The Guardian. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Portico Quartet Knee-Deep in the North Sea". MusicOMH. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  6. ^ Rogers, Jude (2008-08-17). "The buskers who came in from the cold". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  7. ^ "Nick Mulvey: Going Solo". http://www.port-magazine.com. Retrieved 2017-08-19.  External link in |work= (help)
  8. ^ "Our Interview with Alt-J". News. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Nick Mulvey: Going Solo". http://www.port-magazine.com. Retrieved 2017-08-19.  External link in |work= (help)
  10. ^ "Dissolve Me by Alt-J Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  11. ^ "Curious Under the Stars, Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  12. ^ "Look Back at the Best Rock, Hip Hop, Dance, Jazz, Folk and World Music Albums and Tracks, and the Best London Gigs of 2007". Time Out London. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  13. ^ Official Album Chart for the week ending 20 September 2008. ChartsPlus. Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd (369): 5–8.
  14. ^ Jazz, All About. "Portico Quartet: Knee Deep In The North Sea". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  15. ^ "Album Review: Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea (deluxe reissue)". DrownedInSound. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  16. ^ "Portico Quartet – Knee-Deep In The North Sea | Album Reviews | musicOMH". www.musicomh.com. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  17. ^ http://thefourohfive.com. "Portico Quartet - Knee Deep In The North Sea [reissue]". The 405. Retrieved 2017-08-19. 
  18. ^ "Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep In The North Sea (Deluxe Edition) Album Review". Contactmusic.com. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2017-08-19.