Knee-Deep In The North Sea

Portico Quartet

Released 31 January 2011

  1. News From Verona
  2. Zavodovski Island
  3. Knee-Deep In The North Sea
  4. Too Many Cooks
  5. Steps In The Wrong Direction
  6. Monsoon: Top to Bottom
  7. The Kon Tiki Expedition
  8. Cittàgazze
  9. Pompidou
  10. Prickly Pear
  11. All the Pieces Matter (BBC Media Vale Session)
  12. Knee-Deep In The North Sea (live in Copenhagen)
  13. Steps In The Wrong Direction (live in Copenhagen)

Liner notes

In 2007 Portico Quartet moved from busking on the South Bank in London to a recording studio and, with the remains of the money from their student grants, created their first album, Knee Deep In The North Sea (released on Babel/Vortex). This was a turning point for the band, the album attracted attention from DJs, bloggers and critics of every stripe, and was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.

Now, re-released on Real World Records, Knee Deep In The North Sea has been remixed by John Leckie (The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Muse and producer of Isla) and features three new tracks.

A short film about the making of the album


  • It's always a delight to discover an album that captivates despite belonging to an unfamiliar genre, and anybody who missed this jazz-fusion masterclass last time around would be well advised to pick up the freshly remixed reissue... approaching 'Knee-Deep in the North Sea' with fresh ears is as rewarding now as it was four years ago. Artrocker (UK)
  • Remodelled version of 2007 Mercury-shortlisted debut... John Leckie...has added depth and detail to lend a more complexly wrought studio texture to the original record's more austere charm. Uncut UK)
  • John Leckie, who produced their second album, has subtly tweaked the mix, turning down the saxophone in places, pumping up the bass. The tunes are just fine: the stately waltz of Pompidou, the reggae shuffle of Prickly Pear. But it is the 20 minutes of added live tracks that make this a potential repurchase. Best is a version of the title track, recorded in Copenhagen, which builds the drama with a long, trippy opening and free-form sax climax. It shows how the quartet's confidence to let the music breathe on-stage has grown. MOJO (UK)


Further Listening

  • Isla

    Portico Quartet

    Released 18 October 2009

    Portico Quartet sound like nobody else in Jazz, World or contemporary music. Each of these nine tracks has a distinct mood and atmosphere, while remaining firmly within their soundworld and revealing fresh nuances and facets on each listen. The album was predominantly recorded live at Abbey Road and produced by John Leckie.
  • Carry Your Kin

    The Breath

    Released 07 July 2016

    Born out of Manchester's fertile music scene The Breath mix Irish folk influences with mesmerizing guitar riffs, anthemic themes and powerful hooks. In turns hypnotic, lush, powerfully raw and raucously punchy, their songs entrance, uplift and break your heart as The Breath conjure a kaleidoscope of sound that perfectly frames Connolly's raw songs and soul cleansing vocals.

Further reading

Real World Records to release ‘lost album’ by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Discovered in the label's archives, the album captures the singer at the height of his vocal powers.

The Zawose Queens from Tanzanian musical dynasty announce debut album Maisha

The Zawose Queens, Pendo and Leah, are the daughter and grand-daughter of the late Dr. Hukwe Zawose.

Real World Sessions: Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell, 5 December 2023

New folk duo Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell visited the studio to record a new EP for Real World X.

Exploring Colombian artist Savan’s music inspired by Yagé medicine ceremonies

The new Real World X release is an eight-track aural journey to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.