Porteau is the creation of Victoria Williams and Craig Stevenson. The Vancouver duo’s debut album Water’s Gate, released March 15th 2019, transports listeners to a world of pragmatic mysticism. Layers of lush vocals and washes of light, modulated guitar are the foundation of their songs. Pulling the record into diverse moods and through vivid textures, their sound weaves through folk-inspired passages, celestial soundscapes, and electronic flourishes. Ethereal and expansive, Water’s Gate is Porteau’s open space for experimentation, and carves a wave into their own unmapped styling.
Collaboration between the couple came about by happenstance. Victoria saw a painting of Andromeda by Gustave Doré and was instantly captivated. She asked Craig if he could help her write music that sounded like the painting looked - cold, urgent, yet liberating. A mutual understanding and inspiration was found from this piece of art. It was a driving and unifying force that was the genesis of Porteau. Using this as a catalyst, a record naturally revealed itself. Sounds which had been independently cultivated now flowed together and a confluence of ideas began to occur. They were heavily influenced by both traditional folklore and the West Coast landscape. Porteau uses this imagery as a backdrop to explore and unearth personal experience.
The couple spent their evenings piecing together the songs on an acoustic guitar. They called upon longtime friends to join them and bring to life their vision of a lush and diverse instrumentation on each track. Utilizing their background in jazz, many moments were improvised in studio, allowing each musician’s natural voice to come through. These recordings of Water’s Gate did not occur overnight - the process took place over the course of many years. Layer by layer, they added individual instruments to the arrangements. With rock-driven drums, fluid basslines, heavy synth, crystalline pedal steel guitar, and pads of unified horn lines, Porteau’s full band sound was slowly brought to life.