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Album Review

GoGo Penguin: GGP/RMX

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GoGo Penguin: GGP/RMX
It was really just a matter of time. With the spirit of techno and trance being such an essential part of GoGo Penguin's musical makeup, the seeds of a remix project have been there all along; they often compose their songs with beat programs before deciding how to arrange them for an acoustic trio, and adding little sonic tweaks to their instruments is just as much a part of the process afterwards. It's perfectly apt that a range of clever musical colleagues would take these pieces straight into full electronic territory to stretch their possibilities even further.

Since the self-titled GoGo Penguin (Blue Note, 2020) made a defining summation of what the band is about, the occasion was just right to make a startling step sideways by overhauling the entire thing. These pieces aren't remixes so much as reinventions. Each collaborator takes the basic core of their track and finds a fresh angle as if building it over from scratch. A mini-suite of two "F Maj Pixie" variations shows this malleability the most, first as a strangely beautiful drift through cyberspace haze, then a jittery Squarepusher take which coasts on funky slap-bass before piling on some buzzsaw beats.

While GGP/RMX dips into similar ear-blistering squeals in a couple more spots, these are generally outweighed by treatments more alluring and exotic. The cinematic sweeping of "To the Nth" gets both a classy string intro and loud glitch breakdown this time around. "Embers" evokes some alien beach at sunset with a light-crackling wash of synth and static, while spots like "Atomised" and "Signal in the Noise" come out danceable and trippy enough for a hopping rave floor. The whole hour is a wild kaleidoscopic journey for a trio that richly deserves it. GoGo Penguin's already-captivating sonic universe just got a whole lot wider.

Track Listing

Kora (Cornelius Remix); Atomised (Machinedrum Remix); Embers (Yosi Horikawa Remix); F Maj Pixie (Rone Remix); F Maj Pixie (Squarepusher Remix); Open (Nathan Fake Remix); Signal in the Noise (808 State Remix); Totem (James Holden Remix); To the Nth (Shunya Remix); Petit_A (Clark Remix); Don’t Go (Portico Quartet Remix).

Personnel

GoGo Penguin: band/orchestra; Chris Illingworth: piano; Nick Blacka: bass; Rob Turner: drums.

Album information

Title: GGP/RMX | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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