sm-logo Sneinton Market Avenues, Nottingham

Town Portal + Body Hound + A-Tota-So

2213 Listings Image

19th April 2019

Town Portal
Hailing from Copenhagen, Town Portal are a three-piece whose taut, gritty and emotionally stirring breed of instrumental rock pulls influence from the worlds of metal, math-rock, noise-rock and minimalist experimental music. Across two previous LPs, they have attracted a fervent fanbase, with major press and radio support adding to extensive live tours across Europe; their third album is poised to up the ante on its release in Spring 2019.

Initially consisting of Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne (guitar), Jeppe Nielsson (guitar), and Malik Breuer Bistrup (drums), Town Portal was formed in 2009 when Ankerstjerne and Nielsson disbanded their former shoegaze band and set out to play music that was both heavier and unconfined by having vocals as its anchor-point. They recruited childhood friend Malik, who was drumming in death metal band Kolera, and together they started writing songs exploring odd time signatures and syncopations, taking equal inspiration from the likes of Don Caballero, Faraquet, Failure, and Shiner, but with Malik’s metal past also very present in the mix.

With the addition of bassist Morten Ogstrup Nielsen, who at the time was playing in math-pop band Nightpass, the band became a four-piece and put the finishing touches to their 2011 debut EP, “Vacuum Horror”. The self-recorded (by Ankerstjerne) and self-released EP may have been an obscure, Bandcamp-only curiosity, but it received a notable level of attention.

The release, however, was immediately followed by Nielsson’s departure from the band, and Town Portal evolved into its current line-up (Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne, Malik Breuer Bistrup and Morten Ogstrup Nielsen). They wasted no time in writing and recording their debut album, ‘Chronopoly’, released by Copenhagen DIY label Subsuburban in 2012 to significant acclaim and becoming regarded as something of a classic in the scene. Re-calibrating the Venn diagram of mutual influences for the new band format, the record fused the ‘90s math and post-hardcore leanings of their first EP with more Meshugga-esque rhythm structures.

Increasingly in-demand, Town Portal started touring heavily across Europe, slowing down their songwriting pace but infusing them with untold inspiration. In 2015 came their second album, ‘The Occident’ – another DIY recording, which was released jointly by Subsuburban and UK indie Small Pond Recordings. While still toying with complexity, the record saw them distancing themselves from typical traits of contemporary math rock such as constant start-stop patterns and noodly guitar tapping. Instead they shifted their focus towards a darker sound, exploring cyclical rhythm structures and polymeters, and adapting inspiration from minimalist composer Steve Reich to an instrumental rock trio context. Feted by tastemaker publications including Noisey and Brooklyn Vegan, the release led to yet more notable live outings including two appearances at ArcTanGent festival (2016, 2017), support for The Dillinger Escape Plan, and a set at cult festival Duna Jam in Italy.

It was on the live stage that this compelling band caught the attention of composer Ola Strandh (Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft), who was inspired by their gritty and tight-knit playing style to explore a more unorthodox approach to scoring a blockbuster video game. The score for ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’ (recorded in late 2017 at Gula Studion, Malmö, by David Carlsson) features the full Town Portal line-up, performing and interpreting Strandh’s compositions alongside Strandh himself on keyboards and drums.

In 2018, all three members of Town Portal were again summoned to lend their talents elsewhere, joining Johannes Gammelby and Manoj Ramdas in a new incarnation of Danish alt. rock darlings The Malpractice. The quintet played live shows in Copenhagen and Aarhus in support of Gammelby’s most recent release, ‘Slur’ (Crunchy Frog, 2018).

Their third album finds Town Portal’s usual DIY approach replaced by a more ambitious plan that involved flying in their current favourite engineer Scott Evans (of Kowloon Walled City) from San Francisco, to record in Copenhagen’s legendary Black Tornado Studio. Several songs also boast a small brass section recorded at Small Pond’s studios in Brighton, UK, featuring Tommy Peach on trumpet and Black Peaks singer Will Gardner on saxophone. Since their previous LP, the band have pushed themselves into unfamiliar territories, bringing back a new and explosive energy which has infiltrated their songwriting. The result is a record where inspirations from deconstructed electronic music, avant-garde metal and cinematic brass arrangements coexist seamlessly; with the addition of Evans’s characteristically dramatic sonic fingerprint, ‘Of Violence’ promises to be the heaviest and most ambitious Town Portal record to date, while continuing to sidestep stylistic pigeonholes.

Support from

a-tota-so are an instrumental mathrock /grunge band with a big sound that encapsulates tender quiet moments along with big heavy riffs. Formed in 2016 following hiatus’s from former bands Alright the Captain & Cheap Jazz the trio have been playing all over the UK and Europe for the past two years. They released their debut album in September 2018 and will have a new EP out before summer 2019 - The melodic mysteries and tension explored by the band often come off as heartfelt, smart, and quirky all at the same time. There is a level of playfulness to it. Think of bands like Hella, Adebisi Shank, Giraffes? Giraffes! or Don Caballero: many of the bands' greatest moments are the ones in which they aren't taking themselves too seriously; it's just meticulously and excitedly crafted fun.

Event details

JT Soar
Aberdeen Street, Nottingham



Share this

#sneintonmarket is right in the heart of the Creative Quarter. Discover more about the CQ...


Exciting and creative things that make the Creative Quarter a great place to be...

See whatArrow


A city of two universtities, ground-breaking media institutions and workshops...

See whereArrow


From start-up to end-up, we're a growing community of creative and digital businesses...

See whoArrow


The right skills, the right location, and the best opportunities in the Midland's fastest growing city...

See whyArrow

Join the conversation


© Copyright Creative Quarter Nottingham. All rights reserved.