Whilst their compositions are completely instrumental, there seems to be a wealth of outside influence making itself known through the phrasing and keys used. While 2015 / 2016 were in no way dream years for society in general, it was clear that there was a playfulness in their delivery of songs like 'Quiet Mind' (incidentally, this particular piece reminded me of the other 'Penguin' band, no bad thing).
As soon as we finish the frenetic buzzing and claustrophobic atmospheres of 'Prayer', it becomes clear that the rather torrid world climate has indeed osmosed into their compositions, swapping out the languid bobbing atmospheres of yesteryear for a highly charged, powerfully visceral sound experience. While the melodic counterpoints are as ever, impeccably realised (and perfectly accentuated by Turner's mindblowing skin-smacking), the euphoric peak is often hidden behind a flurry of call-response dialogue, the peak only being reached through an intentionally laboured conversational swell.
While throughout the album, the simmering malaise invariably breaks through into a grand and sweeping relief, it is in pieces like 'A Hundred Moons' that we get the full-force of their compositional genius, breaking through the residual gloom with airy, tropical percussion and a cleansing palate of major-key lifts and twinkling plucks. Without waxing lyrical about every song in turn, there really isn't much more that can be said, you'll just have to listen to it yourself. Truth of the matter is, Gogo Penguin are one of a kind, and continue to pioneer their own spellbinding brand of electronic jazz.
STAFF COMMENTSMillie says: Gogo Penguin continue to redefine what 'jazz' is to a lot of people (myself included). Continuing to skilfully eschew staid progressions and inject an electronic ambiguity into wilfully beautiful compositions, GGP remain as groundbreaking yet listenable as ever. Essential.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Ltd CD Info: "Mintpack" CD edition.
Black V2.0 T-Shirt
The critically acclaimed Mercury Music Prize nominated “acoustic electronica” trio follow their Decca debut Man Made Penguin with this special RSD release Featuring three tracks from Man Made Object and one previously unreleased track, all recorded live at Abbey Road in December 2015. This 4 track 10” comes on black vinyl.
Now signed to iconic jazz label Blue Note Records the trio release their new album. 'Man Made Object is the sound of a band confidently pursuing their own path. “The title is partly inspired by my fascination with ideas of robotics, transhumanism and human augmentation,” says pianist Illingworth, a statement that begs for elaboration. “We’re recreating electronic music on acoustic instruments. It’s like a man-made object that has become humanized and it seemed like a good album title, one that also means something different to each of us, and hopefully to each listener.”
Indeed, although they're predominately an acoustic piano trio, GoGo Penguin’s music draws from many areas of contemporary electronic music, one where you can hear arcade game bleeps, glitchy breakbeats, hypnotic Aphex-style melodies, grinding bass lines and a rumbling low-end. It has been described as “acoustic electronica”, a term which perfectly sums up their modus operandi. “Many of the songs on this album started out as electronic compositions that I made on sequencing software like Logic or Ableton,” says drummer Turner. “I’ll then play it to the band and we’ll find ways of replicating it acoustically.”
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: Manchester has always been known as an innovative city. Here, we push things forward. Bringing jazz's traditional formula kicking and screaming into our time & space are MCR trio GoGo Penguin: a group that'll appeal to millennials, jazz vets and broad-minded young folk alike. Freely accepting (and utilizing) the influence of contemporary technology, before revisiting ideas as an acoustic, piano-led 'band'; ‘Man Made Object’ sees the melancholic, contemplative and sublime moods of the jazz cannon thoroughly explored with sophistication and musicality throughout. Much of the album references the forward thinking emotion of early Boards Of Canada, or the electro-acoustic free jazz of Kieran Hebden; but through detailed, clean recording, deft, sympathetic production and ultra-tight arrangements it feels and sounds like we're live, in front of a proper band, in their very element of proficiency. Seeing musicians this 'in the pocket' and symbiotically, rhythmically connected is rare, and breath-taking to say the least.
Brilliantly recorded by their long-term sound engineer Joe Reiser and studio engineer Brendan Williams the band have taken full advantage of the increased recording budget, the success of their debut afforded, to record a statement of real intent. 'v2.0' is a gloriously vibrant technicolor snap-shot of a band finding their own voice - as drawing on a heady brew of influences from Brian Eno, John Cage and Squarepusher to Manchester's grey rain-streaked urban streets they create a brave new sound all their own.
"A really brilliant modern piano trio that takes in the whole history of music. I think they're really special." - Jamie Cullum
"That is a little bit special, brand new album, it's been a year now GoGo Penguin working on their latest material, out of Manchester, 'Kamaloka' the name of this track." - Gilles Peterson
FORMAT INFORMATIONDeluxe CD Info: Reissued with three new tracks recorded at the original sessions.
STAFF COMMENTSDavid says: GoGo Penguin have a terrible name admittedly but don't let that put you off. Signed to Matthew Halsall's Manchester based label, Gondwana, this is their first (and best) album. Piano heavy and big with Gilles. Essential.
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