At the 2004 WOMAD Rivermead festival, Duncan Bellamy and Nick Mulvey came across a Hang, a small Swiss pan drum like a flying saucer. They built a sound-world around the instrument, adding double bass, drums and saxophone with Milo Fitzpatrick and Jack Wylie to form Portico Quartet and produce a Mercury nominated album.
Their second album ‘Isla’ on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records builds on this sound.
“With ‘Isla’, produced by John Leckie, Portico have found their mojo: a thrumming, intensely textured and dynamic sound flowing between sax, bass, drums and hang. (Looks like a wok, sounds like a steel drum.) The subtle electronic shadowing and beefed-up bass recall EST, while the lead track traces a Balkan/Gypsy line and repetitious rhythmic measures reference Reichian minimalism without making you feel ill. All tracks are memorable and hang together like a suite. Brilliant.”
The Independent on Sunday (UK)