Music is often seen as a more expressive art form that may unlock once emotions become too vast for words. Portico Quartet takes the idea of music expressing nuanced emotions even further, transporting the audience to the realm of lucid dreams with their masterfully designed sound and carefully thought-out harmonies. In their 2020 concert in Sala Apolo, Barcelona, Jack Wyllie, Duncan Bellamy, and Milo Fitzpatrick pushed the boundaries of the perception of jazz, introducing another interpretation of two of its latest songs, “With, Besides, Against” and “Signals in the Dusk” (Portico Quartet).
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By combining the synthesizer sound with the staccato rhythm of the percussions, Portico Quartet has created a trans-like mood and a subversive experience that had an almost dreamlike, pliable quality, thus reflecting the key conceptual idea of their latest album.
The use of percussions in “With, Beside, Against” makes the composition dissipate and takes the most whimsical forms that are left to the audience’s interpretation. In turn, the incorporation of the strings sets a wistful tone that, while being subtle, sets clear expectations for the further development of the atmosphere. As a result, the “Signals in the Dusk” that follows with a much more trans-like rhythm allows the creation of a layered and nuanced sound that evokes distant and dreamy emotions (Portico Quartet).
The unique manner of combining sound adds to the sense of experiencing a lucid dream as new elements and sounds are added into the mix, creating an increasingly complicated tapestry with a clear motif underlying the entire performance. Consequently, the melody leads the audience into the state of trance, reinforcing the sense of experiencing a colorful yet very convoluted and complex dream. As the winds become distinctively clear in the harmony and gradually take charge of the composition, the complexity of the performance intensifies, allowing for a layered and nuanced experience.
Moreover, the specified technique allows for creating an almost hypnotic mood, contributing to the general experience of a trance and allowing the audience to immerse into the music, thus, familiarize with it on a particularly intimate level.
Thus, the careful choice of how the sound is constructed and layered during the performance, especially when transitioning from one composition to the other, helps to build a truly unique and exhilarating experience. The effort to combine the seemingly incompatible digital and analogue elements also contributes to the development of the sound that makes the band distinctively unique and allows its music to shin through the rest of the sound that dominates the genre.
As a result, “Signals in the Dusk” and “With, Besides, Against” serve as the gateway to a new aesthetic dimension, where sounds are interlaced effortlessly in a tapestry of minimalist rhythms that create a seemingly simple yet delicate and meaningful pattern (Portico Quartet). The experimental nature of the sound and the tendency to combine what might seem as incompatible at first makes Portico Quartet one of the bands that define the trends within the genre and shape them, thus allowing it to evolve further and encompass new opportunities for artistic expression.
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Incorporating the sound of a synthesizer with the rhythmic beat of drums, Portico Quartet takes its audience into the state of trance with their recent hits “With, Beside, Against” and “Signals in the Dusk.” Although each song produces a unique impression and leaves a specific aftertaste, both pieces comprise a single experience that culminates in the feeling of euphoria and aesthetic catharsis. Thus, the concert exemplifies perfectly the dreamlike quality of Portico Quartet’s music.
Portico Quartet. “Portico Quartet — Live at Sala Apolo, Barcelona, 10.03.20.” YouTube, uploaded by Portico Quartet, 2020. Web.