Port St. Willow’s Holiday was an expansive yet personal record that was quietly self-released in early 2012, creeping its way into the ears and hearts of listeners. One of these people was ambient mastermind Brian Eno, who waxed poetic about the band in an interview with Mother Jones
“I just heard a record last month by Port St. Willow… which I became completely entranced by,” he said. “I just thought how amazing that somebody could take the same few chords, pretty much the same sorts of sounds – it’s quite hard to tell what is original about it, but I just know I’ve never heard it before. It’s such a fabulous record.”
Port St. Willow’s sophomore effort, Syncope, uses the same focus on rhythm, texture, and voice to revisit a world that Holiday built. Nicholas Principe, Port St. Willow’s principle songwriter, returns to this world with an expanded palette of colors and language to explore the things that unwind us and bring us back to ourselves.
Written and recorded with a focus on improvisation, Principe sought to capture the moments just after an idea is found. Working closely with engineer Victor Nash, the energy of these performances makes Syncope feel alive and breathing. Arranged after the fact as a continuous piece, the listener is placed in a bed of noise and rhythm that intersect to create new moments across each listen. Guided by Principe’s clear falsetto, each piece becomes an image described, coming into focus against a backdrop of sirens and metal, waves and light.
In the spirit of the original effort, contributors Will Epstein (Nicolas Jaar, High Water), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), and David Moore (Bing & Ruth) all deliver performances captured and unedited.
This is visual music with an emotive core. An expression of love in response to sudden change, and the patient steps forward of a rebirth.
In the language of: Talk Talk, Susumu Yokota, Brian Eno, Tim Hecker
released January 27, 2016
All Music Written and Performed by Nicholas Principe
Recorded at DESTINATION: UNIVERSE! Portland, Oregon
Engineered by Victor Nash
Produced by Nicholas Principe
Mixed by Victor Nash & Nicholas Principe
Quality Control by Andrew Dunn
Alto Saxophone by Will Epstein (High Water) on Ordinary Pleasure
„Fuzz“ by Peter Silberman (The Antlers) on Ordinary Pleasure
Cascading Piano by David Moore (Bing & Ruth) on Syncope
Piano by Hana Tajima on Opal
French Horn & Trumpet by Victor Nash
Trombone by Andrew Dunn
Mastered by Jen Munson at Taloowa
Photography and Artwork by Hana Tajima