The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Bakers Dozen: Portishead Choose Their Favourite 13 Albums
John Doran , August 31st, 2011 04:44

The chilly royalty of Bristol select their favourite long players in anticipation of ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror, New Jersey.

Portishead live shot by Andy Ennis/Shot2Bits.net

At Alexandra Palace this Summer, Portishead were almost too successful. They headlined both nights on the mainstage at (what we hope will turn out to be) the inaugural I'll Be Your Mirror UK festival from the good souls at ATP.

They came close to overwhelming the vibrancy of the line up on both days with a stunning but sepulchral set; and it was only partially down to the clever midnight scheduling of the caustically Balearic Factory Floor on Saturday night and the sun dappled Caribou on Sunday night, that punters still went skipping out into the North London night.

There were few moments of respite in amongst industrial throb of 'Machine Gun'; a repurposed 'Mysterons' howling with Bomb Squad-strength rage; 'Threads' hissing with intent and taking on sludge metal levels of heaviness. What should have been a notional breather, 'Wandering Star' was stripped down to a bass and guitar 'unplugged' version. It wasn't to be however as the strip show revealed the abject nausea at the core of the track. It was forced to sit in ugly prominence with no studio sheen to hide behind. I don't know if you could have heard a pin drop, but there was no talking where I was stood as Beth Gibbons’ singular voice echoed round the venue: “And the masks, that the monsters wear/ To feed, upon their prey/ Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved/ The blackness of darkness forever."

A significant factor in what made this weekend such a success and what has made Portishead such a singular band over the years is the fact that they are such avid record collectors and music fans. If you look at the band members as musicians, DJs, record label bosses, producers and curators, you can always see this aesthetic at work.

With this in mind we were very pleased when Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow collaborated on this list of their 13 favourite albums.

Click on the picture below to see their choices.

Portishead and ATP are curating the I'll Be Your Mirror festival, New Jersey, Sept 30 - Oct 2. Click here for more details.

Portishead_1314732858_resize_460x400



If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.