Deutsche Grammophon presents the Portico Quartet remix of “Rose in Abstract”, the lead single from Balmorhea’s DG debut The Wind. The new track has been specially produced for the extended edition of the album, The Wind – Deluxe, and follows on from the release of Joseph Shabason’s fresh take on “La Vagabonde” earlier this year. The “Rose in Abstract” remix comes out this Friday, 23 September, while The Wind – Deluxe will be released digitally on 7 October.
Like Balmorhea, Portico Quartet defy easy categorisation. Describing themselves as “widescreen minimalists”, the London-based band are renowned for their experimental approach and unique sound. From the Mercury-nominated debut Knee-Deep in the North Sea to last year’s Terrain and Monument, their seven studio albums so far have drawn on influences as varied as jazz, dance, electronica and ambient music, as well as minimalism.
They bring that eclecticism to their interpretation of “Rose in Abstract”. While adding intense new layers of texture to the sparser, more chamber-like original – the first Balmorhea recording to feature both Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller playing piano at the same time – the Portico Quartet version also captures to perfection its essential sense of mournfulness and yearning. One of the piano motifs runs pulse-like through the track, piercing through swells of rich instrumental sound. The sombre cello line is woven into this lush fabric, along with undulating brass and, as the track evolves, gently rippling percussion and wordless vocals. The music fades away to leave the ambient sound of the wind blowing.
“It was a pleasure for us to work with such beautiful parts, in re-imagining this track as something distinct,” says Duncan Bellamy of Portico Quartet. “The result is something quiet, ghostly, still, that carries traces of the original into an open space.”
Texas-based duo Balmorhea signed with DG in November 2020 and their Yellow Label debut came out six months later, to widespread critical acclaim (“beautiful, unexpected flourishes” – Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC Radio 6 Music). The forthcoming extended edition, The Wind – Deluxe, includes four previously unreleased tracks from the original sessions, together with the Portico Quartet and Joseph Shabason remixes and a rework of “Nos” by Christian Badzura.