Portico Quartet’s Jack Wyllie Teams Up with Senegalese Percussionists for Paradise Cinema
'Paradise Cinema' LP is available on October 9.
Wyllie recorded Paradise Cinema in Dakar, Senegal in collaboration with mbalax (the national popular dance music of Senegal) percussionists Khadim Mbaye and Tons Sambe, who provide the rhythmic backbone. There are traditional elements of mbalax rhythm across the album, but they’re often deconstructed or played at tempos outside of the tradition, so while it hints at a location, it occupies a space outside any specific region.
The album’s dream-like quality is inspired by Wyllie’s experience in Dakar, when “the music around the city would go on until 6am,” he recalls. “I could hear this from my bed at night and it all blended together, in what felt like an early version of the record.”
Atmospherically, we’re told that the music is vaporous and enigmatic, but also percussive, “existing in a paradoxical sound-space that’s amorphous, yet still purposeful, serene, but propulsive and aesthetically sharp,” Gondwana Records, the label explains.
Paradise Cinema is also informed by notions of hauntology, an idea developed by French philosopher Jacques Derrida, in that it reflects on possible futures that were never realised, and how directions taken in the past can haunt the present. It refers to a handful of old cinemas in Dakar built around independence, that are old and derelict but feel “like monuments to that period, when the city was flooded with utopian ideas about its potential futures,” Wyllie says. As such, the music is situated in an imagined culture that never came to pass.
The album artwork is a photo of Dakar’s Digital Palm, a telecommunications mast disguised as a palm tree. “As a modern piece of technology that on first glance looks natural, it mirrors the album’s combination of modern and acoustic elements,” Wyllie says.
For more information on Wyllie, check out his XLR8R podcast as part of Portico Quartet here.
01. Possible Futures
02. It Will Be Summer Soon
06. Digital Palm
07. Paradise Cinema
08. Eternal Spring
Paradise Cinema LP is available on October 9 digitally and on vinyl and CD. Meanwhile, you can pre-order here and stream “Possible Futures” below.