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Album Review: Chris Portka – trash music

Chris Portka – trash music

Release Date: 1st October 2023


Whilst it may not exactly be the most idealistic name to call a piece of art you’ve produced, trash music is the latest release from noise rock artist Chris Portka. Portka isn’t new to the scene but many will be new to his music, if not the style itself. Prepare yourself for an album that, whilst short in total running time, isn’t something that should be overlooked.

From the very first seconds of ‘to burn him up, is it too much to bear?’ there’s the feeling that this is entirely different to anything you’re likely to hear. There’s no inkling in those opening moments that really prepares you for what’s to come. What initially sounds like a static-fuelled intro to a track fast becomes evident that that’s what you’re here for – high-intensity sounds that your brain will probably try and convince you is a glitch in the system or limitations of your hardware. It isn’t though, as ‘wildfire’ up next confirms.

The first traditionally recognisably musical track of the album comes in the form of ‘the sky is blue in hell’. A soft, slow, haunting track that draws

inspiration from many singer songwriter types, but here this feels much more natural and full of heart. A delightfully calm interlude amongst the unrefined chaos that surrounds it.

Talking of…’bojeum’ and ‘life is the anything else’ follow and range from almost stressfully frenetic in the former to desperate and booming in the latter. This run of three tracks perfectly highlights the artist behind trash music, Portka being able to conjure such variation in moods and styles. Something that can often be taken for granted with the sheer vastness of copy and pasted music available for consumption these days.

As trash music ventures past the mid way point there’s the longest track on the album, ‘dream factory’, a song heavily buried in psychedelic vibes yet referring to one’s retirement fund. The juxtaposition here, alongside the title-worthy dreamlike familiarity of the track, are wonderful creations.

If one track sums up the album as a whole though it’s ‘we’re in this together’. After the past few years not only is the title poignant but the track itself, with feedback galore, feels like you’re in there with Portka, part of the track itself. This sort of encompassing feeling is rare in music and something that should be celebrated.

As the end (of the album) draws in ‘disco trash metal reversal’ provides the most intriguing name, possibly of any song since the hey day of 30 word emo songs, and ‘let’s go play today’ closes out the piece with aplomb. Here various instruments and styles are melded into one, providing an optimistic end in the same way people walk off into the sunset in post-apocalyptic movies. Will everything be fine? Maybe, maybe not. At least we have music though, eh? And at least there are still surprises out there to be found too.

Not many can say they’ve created their own genre but that’s seemingly what Portka is doing here. trash music is yet another development in the styles of a unique mind and a piece of music that will stay with you once you’ve made it through. Pick it up on vinyl here: cportka.bandcamp.com


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