Release Date: Apr 2, 2013
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Ambient Pop
This all starts a ways back. A year ago, Port St. Willow self-released their debut LP, Holiday, with the album slipping by largely unnoticed. The record itself marked a new beginning, as Nicholas Principe—the solo multi-instrumentalist behind Port St. Willow—had moved from his home back east to ….
Holiday, the debut album from Brooklyn sound collector Nick Principe's Port St. Willow project, begins with "Two Five Five Two," a rolling wave of ambient tones and buried found sound samples. While it's common practice for pop-leaning indie albums to start with some kind of tonal bedding, what's striking about this particular intro is just how long Principe lets its hazy layers linger before breaking into the low percussion and falsetto vocals that begin the next song, "Hollow." Minutes into the album, a sense of controlled purpose is established that very much guides the project.
Nick Principe, the sole proprietor of Port St. Willow, has made a record of falsetto-heavy, atmospheric mope-rock played at lugubrious tempos. He insists that it should be be listened to as a whole. This is not the sort of thing that gets you noticed in 2012. But while his debut LP Holiday lacks ….
Port St. WillowHoliday[Self-released; 2012]By Brendan Frank; August 14, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGThe serene symmetry of Holiday’s artwork accurately captures the atmosphere that Port St. Willow attempt to cultivate on their debut record. It’s awash with ambient textures, steeped in a glistening beauty that mirrors the elegance of Nick Principe’s voice.
Quietly self-released in 2012 and championed by ambient master Brian Eno, Holiday, the debut album from Port St Willow, is now given a fully fledged release by Downtown. Port St Willow, consisting of main driving force Nicholas Principe and collaborator Jake Nussbaum, have boosted the re-issue by including a 25 minute four-part suite, Soft Light Rush, composed by Principe to serve as an accompaniment to the album. Earning the endorsement of Eno is no mean feat, and it is apparent from the opening track Two Five Five Two why this may appeal to the ex-Roxy Music legend: this is ambient noise that could easily have been crafted by Eno himself.
If you’ve listened to either of The Antlers’ two records over the past three years, and if you come into Port St. Willow’s Holiday with the knowledge that Willow’s lone member Nick Principe has worked with the Antlers’ frontman Peter Silberman, it’ll be pretty difficult to listen through Holiday without thinking of the Antlers. While on the surface this may read as a criticism or a complaint, by the time this re-released version of this 2012 album finishes, it will become apparent that it isn’t.