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Some Thoughts From Portal’s Scott Sinfield

Shortly after I posted my review of Portal’s Waves & Echoes, I received a couple e-mails from Scott Sinfield explaining some of the album’s ideas and themes. Thinking that there might be others who would be interested in this info, I asked him if I could reprint his messages on Opus, to which he graciously agreed. Enjoy.

It’s funny how many reviews we’ve had over the years that refer to shoegazing’, Ride, Slowdive et al when it’s a style of music that we’re not influenced by at all! July Skies and a few of our other labelmates are, but I think cos we’re a bit older than them, we’re more influenced by 80s stuff (for us its more New Order, early Cocteaus, Pink Industry, OMD etc) and more experimental electronic artists since then.

The song titles on this LP were meant to mislead slightly, as is the sleeve imagery. The LP title “Waves & Echoes” refers to the consequences of actions (social, environmental and moral). The title track is about an Iraqi family I read about in a newspaper, who had lost their wife/mother in the American bombings, being told that they’d been “liberated.” Likewise, “Bloodline” is my anti-Bush/Blair rant, “Trace” is about surveillance (a big favourite of the UK government), “Consumed” about capitalism and “Light at the Centre” about looking inside ourselves for reasons to act, rather than looking to religion or whatever. I didn’t want the album to be escapist — hence the sounds and repetition that grate slightly or disturb any sense of bliss’. Maybe it doesn’t all work, but before we hang up our guitars (“Waves & Echoes” will likely be our last album except for a compilation CD), I felt that I had to at least try to say something arising from my frustrations about the times in which we live — I’m acutely aware that music of this ilk rarely seems to address big’ issues, so I’m hoping that we’ll make at least one person think about these kind of issues who might not otherwise have done so.

And concerning the album’s last track…

I should also mention that the 12th track, “Music for Broadcast (2)” isn’t meant to be considered as part of the album, hence the ten minute gap between it and the preceeding track, “Light at the Centre.” “Music for Broadcast (2)” originally appeared on a limited edition Swiss CD single that seemingly no-one outside of Switzerland could get hold of. Rather than re-press it myself and charge people for it, I decided that if I put it on the end of the new CD, then people who’d asked about the track (and there were quite a few) could get it for free. The other track on the Swiss EP was “Quartet” that appears in the same version on the album. If the CD runs beyond its inital 1000 copies, “Music for Broadcast (2)” will not appear on the later editions.

More information on Portal and their music can be found at their website.

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