25/11/2018: “Ruins” by Portico Quartet

Presumably there are people who could listen to “Ruins” and not enjoy it. Perhaps Jazz snobs who feel it is too watered down. Maybe the sort of people who keep Justin Bieber in the charts. But I do feel that on the whole, it’s a sublimely brilliant song, and most people would enjoy it.

The star of the show is the beautiful saxophone, which plays an ethereal melody which practically glistens, such is its lustrous timbre. The bass is warm and reassuring, probably more prominent than a more traditional jazz song as well.

The group incorporate a lot of electronic effects, which is something that they used more of after their hang player left. It’s a shame, because although you can still hear the hang (which is the sort of steel drum you can see in the video), it’s a very expressive instrument that is worthy of it’s own solo, even to the point where a song composed of just a hang can be entrancing.

Sometimes when jazz groups attempt to be more contemporary, some of the swing and soul can be lost. But here, the balance is struck right, and the cacophony of reverb and other effects add to the atmospheric feeling of the song.

The song is from the band’s eponymous 2012 album, which received a slew of positive reviews from critics. Rightly so!

Quite hypnotic…

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