Portable – Albatross
Imagine being born in South Africa, then coming-of-age in London & finally finding dwelling in Berlin. The sense of a permanent home would become a foreign concept. Which is why the leading chant of Portable’s ‘Albatross’ ‘Which way, which way’ can be interpreted to be a call of a diaspora generation, open to new directions. Self-released in 2013 by now sadly dormant Süd Electronic label, the frostiness of the Cold War lingering in Portable’s now permanent home’s history with the spark of Alan Abrahams heritage. The end result is an oeuvre of creativity.
The track opens with a bunch of glass bottles being hit with the summon of Luther from The Warriors. Accompanying them is a delicate pad synth, resembling of a Moodyman record that timidly enters the picture. The swing of the bassline that kicks in is characteristically South African, dynamic yet loosening. The drum work is more cadenced than that of the European compatriots. See Culoe De Song’s remix of Goldfish Feat. Monique Hellenberg – Call Me for reference. Unlike his work under the Bodycode alias, where Abrahams takes a more Jazzmatic approach to the tracks structure in the similar vein to Kettenkarussell, ‘Albatross’ is more linear. A vocalist as well as a producer, Portable provides the solemn questions which carry the spiritual pursuit of Burning Spear.
The reach of the House scene rising from Mzansi is still underrated by the wider world, with only two Rainbow Nation’s DJs featuring in Resident Advisor Top 1000 list. Portable’s experience is unique, however, as his body of work has demonstrated over the years. The producer has previously remixed Efdemin’s ‘Nighttrain‘, recorded a set Live At Robert Johnson and regularly released on Frankfurt’s Minimal king Zip’s Perlon records. Thankfully, Black Coffee brings attention to the thriving South African deep house scene wherever he goes. Portable, another shining light, is a testament of its lustre.