Nathan Schram is a Grammy-winning composer, entrepreneur and violist of the Attacca Quartet. Portalegre is one of the highlights on his excellent (and very diverse) new album Nearsided. To record this texturally and melodically rich piece Nathan had to step out of his comfort zone and invited a few collaborators to jump into the fog with him.
One of them is his wife Becca Stevens, an outstanding vocalist and songwgriter, whose vocals are a key component of the track. On Portalegre she goes through a kaleidoscope of emotions, from detached to scary, from eerie to ethereal, without using a single word to convey those feelings.
The track has many layers both sonically and emotionally, but always manages to work with blank spaces as effectively as with actual sounds. Despite being emotionally challenging, it draws you in, inviting for multiple relistens. And each listen opens up new doors within the composition's sonic universe, hiding many subtle details and always staying open for interpretation.