Monday, March 9, 2009
Portishead - Live at Roseland (1998)
I fucking love this album by one of my favorite bands.
"Recorded with a full orchestra on a cold, rainy day shortly after the release of their second record, Portishead, the project doubled as a live album and the soundtrack for a BBC documentary. In addition to being economical and perhaps lucrative, the disc demonstrates how sampled and sequenced music can be re-created in concert without losing any of the charm or dynamics of the original recordings. All it takes is a 22-piece string section, some horns, and a band whose tightness is exceeded only by its creativity. At times the performances on PNYC sound even more breathtaking and cinematic than Portishead's original recordings, as humming theremin, skittery scratching, and gliding strings mingle with stealthy guitar lines and sultry vocals."
Here's some background info on Portishead for those who are new to their music.
"Portishead are a band from Bristol, England, named after the small coastal town of Portishead, twelve miles west of Bristol in North Somerset. They were initially known for their use of jazz samples and some hip hop beats along with various synth sounds and the hauntingly beautiful vocals of singer Beth Gibbons. Their current sound drops the samples in favor of a harder, more abrasive edge, but retains Gibbons’ vocals.
The band was formed in 1991, by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons. Barrow had previously worked with two other bands from Bristol, Massive Attack and Tricky, and decided to name his new endeavour after his hometown.
After releasing a short film (To Kill A Dead Man) and its accompanying music, Portishead signed a record deal with Go! Beat and their first album, ‘Dummy’, was released in 1994. It featured heavy contributions from guitarist Adrian Utley. In spite of the band’s media-shyness, the album gained universal critical acclaim and was successful on both sides of the Atlantic, spawning two hit singles, “Glory Box” and “Sour Times”. The album won the British Mercury Music Prize in 1995 beating albums such as ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis and Leftfield’s ‘Leftism’.
Their second album, ‘Portishead’, was released in 1997, and featured the single “All Mine”. A live album featuring new orchestral arrangements of the group’s songs was recorded primarily at Roseland in New York City and released in 1998, as well as a DVD of the Roseland concert."
but don't despair