Portable: It from Bit

With three eminently danceable and superbly crafted tracks, Portable's It From Bit, the fifth release on Süd (Alan Abrahams' own label), offers three compelling new arguments for his sublime 'Afro-house' fusion. Subtly updating his sound with a greater preponderance of vocal elements, Portable marries a deadpan intonation of the song's title to the jacking bump of “Infinite Number” while a stuttering pulse pushes “Amplified Human” to an ever-deepening groove. In the twelve-minute epic “Drift,” he weaves infectious layers of tribal percussion, vocal chants, electronic chatter, and spectral washes into a mesmerizing manifesto for his alluring style. What makes Portable's music sound so fresh? Aside from the richness of its sonic detail, the nimble pulses that float through his material give it a light-footed buoyancy, in contrast to the heavy anchor of a repeating 4/4 bass drum.

October 2005