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Portico Quartet

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Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet logo 2017.png
Portico Quartet's logo as of 2017
Background information
Also known as Portico (2015-2016)
Origin London, England
Genres Jazz, ambient, electronic
Years active 2005 – present
Labels Babel Label
Real World
Ninja Tune
Gondwana
Website www.porticoquartet.com
Members Duncan Bellamy
Milo Fitzpatrick
Jack Wylie
Keir Vine
Past members Nick Mulvey

Portico Quartet are an instrumental band from London, UK. They are known for their use of the Hang, a modern percussion instrument. Their debut album, Knee-Deep in the North Sea, was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize and was Time Out’s Jazz, Folk and World album of the year 2007.

The group consists of Duncan Bellamy (drums and electronics), Jack Wyllie (saxophones and keyboards), Milo Fitzpatrick (electric and double-bass) and Keir Vine (keyboards).

Their name comes from when one of their early gigs was rained off in Italy and they ended up playing under a portico.[1]

All of the groups album covers, artwork and graphic design is done by the drummer, Duncan Bellamy, who has a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins.[2]

History

The band was formed from two groups of childhood friends (Jack Wyllie and Milo Fitzpatrick from Southampton, and Duncan Bellamy and Nick Mulvey from Cambridge) who met in 2005 while studying at university in London.[3] Bellamy and Mulvey had originally spotted the hang at the Womad Festival.[4]

The group initially honed their style by busking regularly outside the National Theatre on London’s Southbank.[5] At the time they all lived together in a shared house with Jamie Woon.[6] They were part of the One Taste Collective (with artists including Kate Tempest, Little Dragon and Jamie Woon).[7]

In 2007 they signed to be the first release on the Vortex imprint of Babel Label. Their debut album, Knee-Deep in the North Sea, was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize and was Time Out’s Jazz, Folk and World music album of the year 2007.[8]

They subsequently signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records and released two albums: 2009’s Isla and 2012’s self-titled Portico Quartet.

In 2011 founding member Nick Mulvey left the group to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter.[9] He was replaced by Kier Vine.

In 2014 the three remaining founder members signed to Ninja Tune under the name Portico and released the album Living Fields. They considered this to be a new group[10] and radically changed their musical style to experimental electronic pop.

In 2017 the band announced that they had signed with Gondwana Records and that their fourth studio album as Portico Quartet - Art in the Age of Automation - will be released in August 2017.

Music style

The group predominantly makes modern instrumental music. They are known for the use of the hang, a modern percussion instrument. Their main influences are jazz, ambient and electronic music.

The band’s first two albums are largely acoustic recordings, reflecting their origins as a live busking band. These are based around the hang drum, double bass and drums, with the saxophone playing the melody line.

Nick Mulvey’s departure from the band in 2011 heralded a notable change in style. The group had already been exploring use of electronics, live samples and looping when touring their second album Isla in 2010.[11] Without their main hang player, for their self-titled third studio album Portico Quartet the group turned to sampling the hang, as well as using a hybrid mix of electronic and acoustic drums, and electronically treated and looped bowed bass and saxophone lines.[12]

The Living Fields album featured another change style, focused on experimental electronic pop music rather than instrumental compositions. Reflecting this the group chose to release it under the name Portico rather than Portico Quartet, considering it to be a separate band.[13]

Discography

Album Year Label Bonus tracks/EPs
Knee-Deep in the North Sea 2007 Vortex/Babel Label
Isla 2009 Real World EP01 - Abbey Road
Portico Quartet 2012 Real World EP02
Live/Remix 2013 Real World
Living Fields (as Portico) 2015 Ninja Tune Bonus CD
Art in the Age of Automation 2017 Gondwana

References

  1. ^ "Back To Busking: An interview with Portico Quartet". SoulCulture. 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  2. ^ "Interview: Duncan Bellamy of Portico Quartet". www.londonjazznews.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  3. ^ Jazz, All About. "Portico Quartet: Not Particularly a Jazz Band". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  4. ^ Rogers, Jude (2008-08-17). "The buskers who came in from the cold". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  5. ^ Rogers, Jude (2008-08-17). "The buskers who came in from the cold". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Jamie Woon On Portico Quartet". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  7. ^ ideajunction.co.uk. "OneTaste Collective". onetaste.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  8. ^ "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 2017-08-18. 
  9. ^ Lamont, Tom (2014-05-10). "Nick Mulvey interview – 'My aim is to appeal to your subconscious first'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  10. ^ "Living Fields by Portico". Ninja Tune. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  11. ^ Jazz, All About. "Portico Quartet: Montreal, Canada, October 2, 2010". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  12. ^ "Portico Quartet » Real World Records - World music label". realworldrecords.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  13. ^ "Living Fields by Portico". Ninja Tune. Retrieved 2017-08-18.