♫♪  Port St. Willow - “Motion”

Holiday, in my opinion, was a criminally underrated album, even after it received a vinyl pressing. The few reviews written about the work mostly regarded it as a poor man’s S. Carey, the “friend” of the guy in Antlers, and therefore an implicit derivative of their work. I suppose that’s the nature of our game though, taking two things and imagining them kin. Holiday was my first interaction with Nicholas Principe and his project, Port St. Willow. The artist seemed to emerge as quietly as the crescendos in his music: fully formed, delicate as an ivory horn, confidently arranged, and possessing a tremendous use of white space — something that indie and electronic music had certainly been lacking.

Whereas Holiday was very much a bedroom project, produced and self-released on Bandcamp — not to mention the extensive use of reverb and atmospheric ambience that seemed to compensate for the innate “placeless-ness” of a bedroom album made by one dude in Brooklyn — the upcoming Syncope has many guest players and many surprises. The album flows as one movement, and there are fewer melodies, with more emphasis on assembling and untangling enigmatic drone passages. Two things remain as pillars of Port St. Willow’s subdued style, and they are illustrated well on “Motion.” First, Principe’s falsetto is a constant among a sea of musical debris, floating above tabletop percussion and suburban windchimes. Second, Principe shows he’s as much a competent percussionist as a competent songwriter, which gives his music considerably more of a foundation than like-minded nymphs of quiet melancholia.

Here’s a music journalist thingy: Port St. Willow is like a migration of monarch butterflies, flooding the forest with noise and color at just the right time of year.

Pre-order Syncope from People Teeth, watch the album trailer here, and check out “Motion” below.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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