Portico Quartet Ensemble - Terrain (Extended) – Live in Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session

Portico Quartet Ensemble - Terrain (Extended) – Live in Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session

20th October 2022
“The highlight of our anniversary sessions, it was a genuine thrill to see Portico Quartet return to Abbey Road with this unique project, fusing their modern soundscapes with strings in the room where orchestral recordings first began in 1931.” - Mark Robertson, Abbey Road Studios

When Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie – of Portico Quartet got together in their East London studio in May 2020 composing Terrain, much of the world was in the midst of the first lockdown. Allowing them time to take stock, re-think, and plot a new musical path. The result was one of their most complete and artistically satisfying works to date—a long-form composition drawing on the band’s unique brand of widescreen minimalism.

Terrain (Extended) features an expanded version of the composition re-arranged for the Portico Quartet Ensemble – a subtle re-configuration of the band that features a string quartet - and which allowed for the compositions deeper textures and resonances to be fully explored, along the way expanding the dialogue between tranquillity and a subtly unsettling melancholy, that makes Terrain such a beautiful, powerful piece.
Invited to be part of our 90th anniversary series celebrations, Portico Quartet were keen to make use of Studio One’s world-renowned acoustic. “We can’t imagine anywhere better in the world to record strings” says composer and arranger Jack Wyllie, whereas for fellow composer Duncan Bellamy it represented the chance to document the piece properly, “Terrain is probably my favourite of all of our albums, so to have the chance to revisit it in full with an extended ensemble, in a space as wonderful as this was an incredible opportunity”.

9 November 2021 ended up being a special session. The band (who had first recorded at Abbey Road for their second album Isla back in 2009), brought long term collaborator, recording and mix engineer, Greg Freeman over from Berlin to work with Abbey Road’s Chris Bolster as well as Marta Di Nozzi and Daniel Hayden assisting and Gondwana Records sent a film crew.

The resulting concert film Terrain (Extended) - Live in Studio One An Abbey Road 90th Session is broadcast on the Gondwana Youtube channel on Thursday 20 October at 8PM.

About Portico Quartet

Portico Quartet are an instrumental band from London, UK. They are known for their use of the hang, a modern percussion instrument. The band have defied categorisation over the course of six studio albums. From their 2007 Mercury Music Prize nominated breakthrough Knee-Deep in the North Sea through to the hypnotic, longform Terrain in 2021.

Their new electronic driven album Monument shows the band at their most direct, with a streamlined, rhythmic sound. Full of precisely sculpted ideas combining human touch with electronic efficiency, Monument displays the acclaimed widescreen minimalists at their best.

To coincide with this release, we sat down to talk to them about everything from creative processes and recording in Studio One, to tips for a great session and using the famous Challen piano used on countless The Beatles songs.


Watch all filmed sessions through the playlist below.

You can also read more on our previous sessions here.


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