Here’s a video of Portishead’s Adrian Utley sitting down in his Bristol studio with an Arturia MiniBrute and exploring its sounds and features. Utley not only discusses the various aspects of Arturia’s first real analog synth, but also shares some of some personal views on why he works with synths, analog vs digital gear and synths in general, so even I weren’t interested in the MiniBrute (which I am) I’d still find this interesting.
Portishead, of course, is one of Britain’s premier trip-hop bands. If you’re a fan of artists like Tricky and Massive Attack it is safe to say that you’d be wise to acquaint yourself with Portishead’s music as well – that’s the route I took to discovering their music anyhow. They’ve made some absolute classics over the years that should appeal to those who weren’t fortunate enough to be around in the nineties when this kind of music was at its most popular.
Portishead isn’t an extremely prolific band. At the peak of the trip hop phenomenon they only released two albums, their debut album Dummy in 1994 and then Portishead in 1997.
I’ve always seen Portishead’s music as largely sample based (as with all trip-hop, pretty much) and also using electric and acoustic instruments more than many others, but synths (and a theremin) does play important roles as well on some tracks. It is my impression that as a member of Portishead Adrian Utley has spent a lot more time with guitars and the bass than with synths, though. He nevertheless has an extremely impressive studio, sporting the kind of gear you only really find in a real programmer’s place. Not a lot of romplers with thousands of presets in them, that’s for sure.
Portishead’s last studio album Third was released in 2008, and is – along with their previous works – already considered a classic by many. From what I hear they are also working on a new album as we speak. I certainly hope the wait for that one won’t be as long as the one we had for Third. While waiting for its release, however, I’ll still be listening to their previous releases, which sound great to this day and will continue to do so for a long, long time to come.
Thanks to SourceDistributionTV for the video.