Releases New Self-Titled Album via Blue Note Records
UK instrumental trio GoGo Penguin released their self-titled album via Blue Note. The Manchester, England trio has fielded rave reviews for inspiration and originality at every turn since 2013, when they settled on their dream line-up of Chris Illingworth (piano), Rob Turner (drums) and Nick Blacka (bass). They won the Mercury Prize for album of the year in 2014 and have enjoyed a success matched by precious few vocal-free groups post-millennium.
A big part of GoGo Penguin’s impact derives from the way they employ computer technology to compose with, then find ways to record (and perform) the results on acoustic instruments, with help from a surprisingly limited arsenal of effects pedals and delays. Turner obsessively works with production software favoured by many electronic producers, confessing “I spend way more time on my laptop than I do on my drums. The ratio is probably about 90% to 10%.”
GoGo Penguin’s music has always defied categorization. In their sound, there have been traces of latter day developments in jazz, such as Sweden’s free-thinking Esbjörn Svensson Trio (aka EST), or minimalist classical composers like Steve Reich, John Adams, even Erik Satie. Yet, all in their mid-30’s, you can hear that they have grown up in the golden age of electronica, with echoes ranging from rarefied techno (think Aphex Twin; Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra), and the emotive melodies and crescendos of European house, through to Roni Size’s jazz-infused drum ‘n’ bass.
The self-titled work follows GoGo Penguin’s critically acclaimed 2018 album A Humdrum Star. The Washington Post called the full-length “the group’s most hypnotic recording yet,” while NPR brought them in to perform three songs from A Humdrum Star for a Tiny Desk Concert. In 2019, the trio released Ocean in a Drop: Music for Film. The EP drew inspiration from GGP’s celebrated live soundtrack for Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 cult doc Koyaanisqatsi, an original score that they’ve performed for audiences internationally.