Jazz is almost a dirty word for most young musicians.
The term raises images of middle aged men in turtle necks, reciting appalling Beat poetry whilst a heroin addict with a horn wails discordantly behind them. As amusing – and, at times, eerily accurate – as that image is, the reality is that jazz is as open and inspiring a term as any. Like every other genre, the boundaries are where you place them.
And Portico Quartet like to place their boundaries a helluva long way away. Fusing electronics with near classical levels of composition, there’s is a music which takes inspiring liberties with sound, texture and form.
New album ‘Live / Remix’ is as good as stopping off point as any. Following on from last year’s eponymous album, the remix section finds a series of young producers re-working the band’s output in their own image.
The live portion, though, is something quite special. On record, deeply composed and cerebral, Portico Quartet really come to life in front of an audience. Allowing their music to spill out, to spiral out into new shapes, contortions, the band’s improvisationary techniques mean that every show is quite unique.
Recorded at historic London venue the Roundhouse, ClashMusic have been handed a live rendition of ‘Laker Boo’. Buoyed by an itchy, funky rhythm, Portico Quartet veer into avant techno before indulging their jazz roots; impossible to score or define, this is music that simply has to be experienced.
'Live / Remix' is set to be released on March 25th. Looking ahead, Portico Quartet are set to play London venue KOKO on April 17th.