Portico Quartet: Next Stop EP (2022)

Portico Quartet: Next Stop EP (2022) – Gondwanda Records
Portico Quartet: Next Stop

Facts:

Artist: Portico Quartet
Title: Next Stop
Format: EP
Label: Gondwana Records
Cat.-No. GONDD044 / GONDLP044
Release Date: 18/03/2022 – LP//DL
Genre: Modern Jazz, Electronica, Ambient
At Qobuz available in 24-Bit  44.1 kHz – Stereo

Review:

On March 18, 2022, Portico Quartet released NEXT STOP on home label Gondwana Records, a dynamic, immensely intriguing 4-track EP recorded at the same sessions as the highly acclaimed November 2021 album Monument.

MONUMENT has been hailed as one of the Portico Quartet’s most accessible and direct records. Intricately crafted with fine detail, the album can be understood as an ode to better times. MONUMENT incorporated energetic electronic rhythm lines from dance for the first time and is one of the most melodic and carefully structured records the band has ever released.

NEXT STOP, the EP, is the brilliant follow-up, a pulsating, powerful four-tracker that also has a wistful, elegiac side and is perhaps a kind of coda to Monument.

CAPTURED TIME, the first track on the EP, is a melodic and atmospheric piece with layered synths and strings. The contrast between this flowing melodic simplicity and atmospheric density on the other hand, allows this track to slide towards an upbeat, ecstatic ending as the band takes the listener on an emotional journey as only Portico Quartet can.

Portico Quartet
© Hannah Collins

NEXT STOP, the second track, shows Portico Quartet at its best. It is probably one of the most rhythmically dense tracks the band has ever produced. The thunderous intro leads into a hypnotic groove with mesmerizing drum work, driven by a quirky 7/8 drum-and-bass groove that keeps ducking away only to, only to resurface thematically with an unstoppable intensity.

PROCESSION, the third track, is a beautifully contemplative track that starts with melancholic piano passages entwined with buzzing synth lines, eventually gliding toward a final calm with restrained horn sections and languorous strings.

YOUTH is a deceptively simple, nostalgic track, a tribute to childhood and simpler days, with Wyllie’s wistful sax melody perfectly underscored by the slow hip-hop beat of Bellamy’s drums. But it’s the beautiful strings that really make this track special.

Portico Quartet’s latest EP NEXT STOP, with a total running time just under 20 minutes, is the ideal soundtrack to escape these surreal times for a while, but without the band trying to make us believe in an ideal world.

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