Bartok/Music for strings, percussion, & celesta
And here's a Youtube clip (no embed link, sorry) of Portishead playing about 2/3 of the new album. I was surprised that they could play this stuff straight off the album like this. I had always assumed their music was built more like most electronic music: nobody plays it first and it gets sort of assembled rather than composed and rehearsed. But I guess I was wrong. At least as far as this album goes, the music is much less dependent on control room tricks than it is on good old fashioned in-the-room noise-making.
Seems to me they created this stuff specifically to be played by musicians live. (Which approach I suspect bears some similarities to Radiohead's approach to In Rainbows.)
They really are a band, which is interesting because I never thought of them as having this rock band-like constitution, with drums, percussion, bass, guitar, keys. (Some instrument switching, but mostly fixed roles.) I wonder if this is how they were in the 90s heyday, although I never saw them live (apart from the PNYC video, but even that had a DJ and a full orchestra), so maybe this is how their stuff was always created and I just didn't realize it. Wouldn't surprise me....
Regardless, the video kicks major ass and the music is a total mindfuck. I got a lot out of watching exactly how they made this or that weird sound.