Releases 29th September 2014 on CD and download.
An extraordinary voice only truly becomes so if utilised in an extraordinary fashion. I first came across Portia Winters performing in a basement somewhere sometime what feels like… a long time ago. Cradling a strange minimal set-up this unassuming girl in the corner gently ushered in a nursery rhyme-like lament before suddenly letting-rip smashing a black hole into the room and blasting the world into a new oblique angle. That song appears here as I Won’t Be There.
epicotyl is the debut album from Portia Winters and as such brings the long opening chapter of this story to a culmination with all channels wide-open. Portia has summoned up a set of songs that pivot sound not just as aural sensation but also as physicality and gesture. Sculpting ideas through experience epicotyl is shattering music stitched from micro-fragments of herself. Intimate with almost insectoid backing, Portia’s voice is both instrument of expression and source of instrument being deployed as texture for most of the beats and riffs alongside contact mic’d mbira, analogue modular synth, piano, and guitar amongst others.
The songs on epicotyl are all derived from overlapping threads of emotional and sensory experience sometimes calm and sometimes violent but always reaching for something… higher. Moments are pulled together into story as the purely physical becomes soundwave. Interior sonic shapes are twisted and inverted into songs as Portia’s re-manipulated and live voice takes centre stage of each creation.Each song is like a photograph of a singular isolated moment where breath, voice, electronics and instruments have over-ridden the static silence to reanimate the frozen fragment.
In epicotyl Portia translates the sensations of the skin, the pin point-able moments that spear into the belly and push and pull at life’s coordinates. She builds texture, sculpts sound and takes as inspiration techniques used in electroacoustic music and musique concréte, referencing ideas but untethered by baggage. The end result is a unique universe – a singular fusion that sits at the hinterland where Bjork’s Medulla and Mica Levi’s soundtrack to Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin never met. It’s also a great pop album and you’ll wonder how you got by without it.