Christopher Port: Everything In Quotes "DARK" EP

- Rising Australian beatmaker Christopher Port is back to show us what he’s been up to. A little more than a year after his Vetement EP he delivers another bitesize offering, except it comes with a mouthful of a title because it’s the Everything In Quotes “DARK” EP. Apparently the name is derived from a lecture by fashion designer Virgil Abloh and it’s because Port wants you to:

...hear my music exactly how I made it, yet still be able to perceive it in your own way. To me "Everything in Quotes" personifies this. You are hearing my music in the exact form I created it, similar to a direct quote. I believe this makes the connection between the artist and the listener much stronger.

That sounds cool, but unless he’s including the Pro-Tools sessions he used to knock up these tracks, I’m not entirely sure what he means by it. Port does like to construct his music layer by layer though, just take Nobody Chose You, starting with a simple, snappy snare, adding an equally simple but lush synth line, vinyl hiss and a diva vocal sample on top of that and so on: perhaps that’s it?

It does show that he’s still constructing music along some of the same lines as he was before. After only a year that’s not really surprising. There are some variations on the Port theme, however. More or less self-identifying as a UK Garage and 2-Step producer, nonetheless he’s only seemed to partially fit the job description in his previous work.  Both of those styles have a strong affiliation with house but, often, the eclectic upbeat energy of Port’s beat collages hasn’t sounded anything like that. The thing that hit me, right off the bat, is how much more his new EP sounds like both UK Garage and 2-Step. Back with Nobody Chose You, sure, you’ve got that hypercolour, ambient synth, but, wait for that beat to hit and bang, it’s the deliciously syncopated house of 2-Step.

It’s strange because, usually, I much prefer it when artists step outside the strictures of genre and do their own thing. There’s so little 2-Step about though and, like not a few house devotees I guess I’m a slave to the music. Even if you’re not, Port offers, once again, a lot to choose from in just a few numbers. The pitch-shifted, sedate, even submerged croon of Baby It’s Not My Will is a great change of pace after the opener, before he really gets his dancing shoes on with what I imagine is a club VIP of a tune of his I haven’t heard before, Raver. It’s only four minutes long and that’s my only complaint, there would’ve been no problem making it eight. Part of the reason I like it so much -and call me unimaginative but- I’m always hearing echoes of Burial in Port and this track has him in spades: the sparse but mutating beat, the ghostly vocal samples and of course, the ubiquitous tape hiss. Like Burial it seems to be telling some very early-morning, urban fairytale, without the use of words. Actually, it might as well be an eight minute track, folding nearly seamlessly into EP closer Uppers which offers...almost exactly the same thing. As per my previous comment, that is totally not a problem.

Christopher Port is taking a low risk approach: tinkering with his beats and sending back little progress reports to see how the punters like the results. As it turns out the minute modifications he makes are just what it takes to keep me interested. Like Burial, I feel he could release a lot of these dancefloor fragments before anyone would get tired. I’m very keen to hear what the accompanying Light EP will offer in 2018. More Australian producers could take a note of what Port is doing: working stylishly in a stylish sound.

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: Everything In Quotes "DARK" EP
Artist: Christopher Port
Record Label: (Pieater / Future Classic)