Music Review//Portico Quartet - Live/Remix

The power of music is often hard describe in words alone. When we first experienced  Portico Quartet live we knew we'd found something special. The release of their self-titled album in 2012 propelled them into our Crucial 20 list and when we heard about this revisiting of their essential sounds we just had to listen.

When you hear the words 'live' and 'remix' in an album title it's often accompanied by a sense of trepidation. But when you listen to Portico Quartet's take on the much trod paths these albums might suggest you're instantly transported into another dimension. The first disc takes the live element ofthe bands performance and presents it amiably as an experience to be savored like the finest of audio feasts. 

There's a filmic quality to the recordings, with their unique blend of genres making for an experience rich in emotion. The Live takes of these tracks differ little from the album versions instrumentally but the richness of the live environment gives them an added intimacy that brings them out if the digital trappings they were created in. This is noticeable especially on the songs that expand their territory in an almost organic way in the live setting. There are without a doubt some Jazz elements in the band's effective blend of genres and the extended versions of Rubidium and Laker Boo are proof that the live setting brings out the best in the songs. Rubidium's gradual build up is thrilling yet in it's own way spine chilling and an extended take on Steepless (featuring Cornelia on vocals) is essential listening.

Remix takes a band curated left turn from the beauty of their live material and throws it into the hands of a variety of remixers. The results are rich and flowing adaptions of already excellent source material that is never a task to listen to. In many ways these remixes improve on the orginals but never surpass them in terms of beauty. The sequencing flows perfectly and it's music that can act as ambient yet cutting edge aural companionship or a main event to set the day perfect.

Higlights include SBTRKT's take on Line the drum n bass adding the vibes of a cutting edge evening in your favorite club lounge. It's a chill out experience yet it never distracts you from the fact you are in excellent musical company. A remix of City of Glass by LV adds an avant garde sense of modernity to the timeless feel of the original 
that works perfectly as a chill wave experience all of it's own. Add to that the atmospheric found sound effects that add a filmic edge to Steepless on a remix by Capac and you've got an audio-visual experience that is hard to beat. 

Ignore the title that barely captures the beauty at play here and listen to some music that is truly life affirming in it's intricacy. 

Review by Sebastian Gahan. 

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