In truth, Chris Portka’s album, “Trash Music,” was one of the most interesting cases I’ve studied recently. In fact, this album made me consider it a case study, which is significant, given my many years in the music industry and writing about music. It’s a testament to Chris Portka’s work; he taught me something new.
First and foremost, the “Trash Music” album encapsulates unapologetically raw and unaestheticized takes from his projects, blandly incorporating electronic elements with acoustic and electric guitars. The album revolves around the concept of a person enduring long-term difficulties, interpreting his inner world unedited and unfiltered, akin to chaotic sounds in nightmares. Sonically, this concept paints a distressing journey, accompanied by dreamy, melodic, and tranquil acoustic guitars, ultimately concluding the story with a sense of hope.
While I don’t typically follow artists with a similar style to “Trash Music,” the album’s concept has reminded me of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of The Moon” and “The Wall” in terms of its structure and storytelling. In Chris’ case, the distressing emotions and the unbalanced rhythm of his life, ebbing and flowing like waves, find expression through the use of loud electronic elements, keys, dreamy atmospheres, and chaos, all contributing to the album’s fundamental nature.
Moreover, the acoustic sections in the album stand out for their unprocessed nature. Chris captured these takes without the use of any professional tools, not even basic ones like a metronome. The album’s commitment to unfiltered expression becomes a foundational element of his concept, enabling the music to flow naturally, whether it takes on tension or melody, without being constrained by concerns about his vocal and guitar performances. This approach creates a sound that closely mirrors an unpolished reality.