Portico Quartet - Knee Deep In The North Sea
Back in 2008, Portico Quartet were nominated for a Mercury Music Prize for Knee Deep In The North Sea and, while it didn’t give them as big a surge in popularity as some of the other artists, they can be safe in the knowledge that their record was a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff on that list. Enlisting John Leckie to remix the entire album, they’ve managed to make their modern jazz compositions sound even more detailed and enjoyable. None of that wanky lounge jazz here, Portico Quartet inject their music with melody, exoticism and a joyful experimentation. The delicate use of the hang on the title track succeeds in pulling at your heart-strings in a way that only instrumental music can at times, and the stunning new mix allows each instrument to breathe, never sounding overpowering, even on tracks like ‘Steps In The Wrong Direction’ with its frantic build up and intricate sax lines. If you didn’t catch this the first time round, then do yourself a favour and pick this up.