When: 7.30pm on Saturday 22 June 2013
Where: Cornerhouse Annexe, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 5NH
We’re delighted to be working with former Portico Quartet member Nick Mulvey.
On a beach in Honduras in the summer of 2010, Nick Mulvey experienced his sink or swim moment. Surrounded by strangers, clutching an acoustic guitar, having just told the other members of his band, Portico Quartet, that he needed this two week holiday to decide whether he was permanently leaving them, he started to sing.
For the 28-year-old whose writing has already influenced acclaimed Mercury Prize victors Alt-J, who quote Portico title ‘Knee Deep In The North Sea’ in their jazzy ‘Dissolve Me’, picking up the guitar again felt like a homecoming after five years as Britain’s foremost player of the hang – the Swiss percussion instrument invented in the early 2000s. A steel War of the Worlds alien that gives out a warm melodic clang, its distinctive sound was in large part responsible for Portico Quartet becoming the most accessible Mercury nominated jazz act of recent years. Their debut album, Knee-deep in the North Sea, was Mercury nominated alongside Elbow, Radiohead and Adele in 2008, and led to several years of touring major venues for the band.
Mulvey essentially decided to leave Portico Quartet halfway through a lengthy global tour, but they remain firm friends, with Portico drummer Duncan Bellamy designing the artwork for Mulvey’s Fever to the Form EP, turning a score of the guitar parts into a pattern of dark blocks. He didn’t rush into this new acoustic freedom. This EP was a long time in the making. He’s hit the road hard too, touring in support of Laura Mvula, Rodrigo y Gabriella and Lianne La Havas.
Whilst the sparse, cleansed beauty of Nick Drake’s music can be heard (“He’s the main dude for me. It’s a reductionist thing, this boiled down music”), there’s a distinct sense of adventure more akin to the likes of Steve Reich, and even the guitar-picking intricacies of John Martyn that sits alot closer to his sound. It’s difficult to pinpoint but enriching to listen to. Mulvey listened over and over to songs such as Lennon’s Jealous Guy and Prince’s When Doves Cry, pulling them apart to understand their intricacies.
Following quality studio time with the likes of producers Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes) and indeed Alt-J favourite Charlie Andrew, Mulvey’s debut EP leads with Fever to the Form, ostensibly the record’s simplest strum but important to Mulvey as the first song he completed after leaving Portico. The Fever To The Form EP comes out through Communion Records (Michael Kiwanuka, Deap Vally, Half Moon Run), the independent label-du-jour co-run by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, on 17 June.
Support comes from Hitchin’s one-man bedroom project Rhodes.
This show takes place in the Annexe of Cornerhouse, Manchester’s main cultural hub, situated on Oxford Road.
This is a co-promotion with DHP.