Portron Portron Lopez - Ice Cream Soufi (Dinked Edition)
- Dinked Edition 189
- Black vinyl LP
- Alt colour (green) screen-printed sleeve
- Bonus 13 track CD, “A Bakers Dozen
- Bonus vinyl 7” of two unreleased tracks
- 300 copies
20th May 2022
For fans of Mdou Moctar, Dirty Three, Scenic, Captain Beefheart, Music Ehtiopiques
Portron Portron Lopez don’t do concepts. There are no great discussions about where they should pull their influences from, or pre-planning about how to structure studio work. The Parisian-formed trio exist in spontaneity, a creative co-habitancy that relies on feel and groove – as evidenced on their three studio albums to-date. Exploratory odysseys that bely the potential pitfalls an improvisational-minded group might fall into during the recording process, they’ve moved between shades of psychedelia and Middle Eastern-inflected drones as well as more electronic and club-based touchstones, doing so in a way that feels effortlessly free. That sense of adventure is furthered still on forthcoming album Ice Cream Soufi.
“We need exploding ideas that allow us to build tracks that we can emotionally convey onstage” they say. “It's not about being a concept band, but about striking ideas that make sense. It’s not ‘our music’ we’re making - it’s transposing who we are into music.”
Portron Portron Lopez were formed in 2011 in Paris by guitarists and brothers Marceau and Valentin Portron. High school friend and drummer Lucas Lopez joined after a two-day long improvisation session in a Parisian wine bar. He left after two records – 2012’s beguilingly Beefheart-meets-Afrobeat set of tracks on Uh!, and 2015’s similarly acid-fried Moi Aussi J'ai Des Amis Qui Font Du Bruit – but his position was taken by Olivier Kelchtermans. The Belgian artist had contributed to PPL’s previous studio recordings as a saxophonist but switched to behind the kit in time for the 2016 tour dates and then the 2018 release De Colère et d'Envie’s mix of lo-fi hypnagogia and proto-punk recalling mayhem.
Ice Cream Soufi certainly doesn’t eschew all the chaos of that record, but the seven tracks that make up the group’s fourth LP lean further into their penchant for cross-pollination across globally inspired styles. Opener Comment Vas-Tu Rossignol’s roots are in western Iran and a recording Valentin made there of local musicians playing in the ethnographic museum of Sanadaj. The material served as inspiration for the resulting track, which leans on Kurdish folk style and structure while the trio whip themselves into a sense of frenzy around it.
Elsewhere, third track A Stranger I May Be came out of several improvisations based around the group’s goal of “getting to a country-techno song” – an on-paper incongruous mix that makes a hell of a lot of sense when listened to. It’s unwavering kick drum drives through the group’s duelling guitars and unburdened vocal shrieks, supplemented by musician and comedian Charly Fournier who adds a touch of knowing absurdity to proceedings.
Those two tracks bookend Pensée Sans Tête, which was improvised and demoed in April 2019 during a rehearsal, before being taken to an old barn in Normandie the following year to flesh out. The track’s repeato-riffs gradually spin quicker and quicker as the group underpin it vocally and with rolling percussion.