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Portico Quartet

Art in the Age of Automation

Gondwana Records
Portico Quartet - Art in the Age of Automation
With its original blend of jazz, neo-classical soundtrack touches and electronic beats and bass, Portico Quartet’s 2012 self-titled second album on Real World was excellent, a more cutting-edge follow-up to their Mercury-nominated debut. After a spell on Ninja Tune as a pared-back Portico, the Quartet have returned with a sound closer to their best record. It’s less dramatic, more restrained, and very beautiful, wreathed in strings, gentle saxophone, and on the title track, interlaces hang drum and bittersweet synth-work. ‘RGB’ returns to the syncopated grooves they’ve dabbled in before, its broken beats and funk bass overlaid with disconsolate instrumentation. The closing ‘Lines Glow’ is a more optimistic blend of cascading synth arpeggios and rolling percussion that would fit a Nordic noir TV show. Now that Ólafur Arnalds and Jóhann Jóhannsson are enjoying such success with similarly excellent music, Portico Quartet deserve to be recognised too. This album should be the breakthrough.