Name: Port of Est (aka Hannah Tarkinson and Todd Kitchens)
Hometown: Portland, Maine, USA
Listen to: Valentine in My Headphones, Collide, Clash
PORT OF Est. are a perfect three in the morning band. Not the kind of three in the morning where you’re hanging off of a crossbeam in a club, having your hearing systematically punished. The kind of three in the morning where you’ve ended up in the back room of a hip apartment of a friend of a friend. It’s probably lit by white Christmas lights and you’ve found yourself opening up to people you’ve never met in a way that you never would under the harsh, invasive lights of the city, let alone the light of day.
Or maybe, you’re at home watching the moon make its way across the sky for another night. Calmly relinquishing another day. In either case, PORT OF Est.’s debut album Onyx Moon is made for late night moments of clarity. The collaboration between producer Todd Kitchens and vocalist Hannah Tarkinson has yielded an album that is simultaneously revealing and warmly comforting.
‘Valentine in my Headphones’, the album’s lead single is irresistibly catchy. A snappy minimalist beat and shimmering light synths give Tarkinson a lush canvas over which to muse and meander melodically. Her simple repetition of the song’s title in the chorus is enough to get stuck in your head for weeks.
Songs like ‘Lupine’ and ‘Transparent’ feature soaring production and swooping vocal dives, whereas a track like ‘Collide’ plays on subtlety, delivering delicate, earnest lyrics over a sparse trip-hop beat. ‘Clash’ features a rare duet with Kitchens. With its simple refrain of “Home / I’ll find my way home”, the song is an encouraging summary track to a thoughtful album.
The duo has found a winning combination. With the green, forest-covered landscapes of their East Coast home, PORT OF Est. have been inspired to create a wonderfully organic electronic pop album. Kitchens’ production is dense but manages to always let Tarkinson’s angelic voice float on top of it. The next time you find yourself looking for that perfect late-night album, throw on Onyx Moon.
Words by Jon Ireson