Portico Quartet

Next Stop EP

Gondwana • 2022

The **»Next Stop EP« can be seen as a kind of coda to »Monument«. That says the label information of Gondwana Rercords, Matthew Halsall’s holistic refuge of free-spirited jazz renewal from Manchester. Recorded during the sessions for »Monument«, the vibe of what is probably Portico Quartet’s most accessible album to date finds its continuation in the four tracks, whereby the overall mood here seems somewhat more reflective. That inconspicuous moments give rise to epic, slightly blue-tinged anthems is the basic pattern here. Their alloy of jazz, ambient and not infrequently groove components filtered out of UK breakbeat genres has long since passed its baptism of fire, the synthetic-organic electronic-instrumental hybrid is set – accordingly pleasant and unagitated is the way things go here. The trademark sound character of the Hang has also been toned down a bit and now operates as one sound colour among many. Another plus point is the continuation of the collaboration with Simmy Singh (violin) and Francesca Ter-Berg (cello) – the lively string sounds are a meaningful extension of Portico Quartet’s sound palette. The EP’s central piece is the title track in 7/8 metre, in which drum’n’bass patterns meet minimal music phase shifts. Only the occasional grossly motoric shenanigans with the stereo panorama in the form of jerky jumps and gaps in the panning leave an unmotivated impression.