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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star

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In GoGo Penguin's universe distance is a particularly relative concept. From the beginning of its voyage the trio has orbited musical worlds seemingly light-years apart; jazz, classical, dance, electronica, game soundtracks and minimalism -all fall into GoGo Penguin's gravitational pull to create a singular sonic constellation. With A Humdrum Star (Blue Note Records, 2018), Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka and Rob Turner adopt largely the same raw material that fostered v2.0 (Godwana Records, 2014) and Man Made Object (Blue Note Records, ...

INTERVIEWS

GoGo Penguin: Just Another Band From The Small Blue Planet

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"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star in a lost galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." This somewhat gloomy prognosis might sound like a line straight from Douglas Adam's surrealistic comic novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Pan Books, 1979). In actual fact, it's a quotation by American astrophysicist Carl Sagan. Curiously, it provided the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star

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“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." -Carl Sagan GoGo Penguin's snappy-yet-offbeat name is a pretty good indicator of their personality--partly inspired by an actual penguin statue that lurked in the corner of their rehearsal space in the early days--but it seems the chameleon is turning ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star

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If 2016's Man Made Object, their first for Blue Note, was an exercise in consolidating past triumphs while signposting potential ways forward, then there can be no doubt that with A Humdrum Star GoGo Penguin have stepped into a version of that future. Ostensibly the title is a self-effacing reference to a Carl Sagan TV series “Cosmos," emphasising how small and insignificant our world is and by extension our own petty concerns are. The quote reads “We find that we ...

LIVE REVIEWS

GoGo Penguin at Out To Lunch

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GoGo Penguin Black Box / Out To Lunch Arts Festival jny:Belfast, N. Ireland January 19, 2018 GoGo Penguin's first gig of 2018 saw the Manchester trio return to Belfast's Black Box for the Out To Lunch festival --a month-long celebration of comedy, documentaries and the broadest spectrum of music imaginable--from opera, rock and folk to West African funk, and from rockabilly and blues to punk and Irish trad. Trying to squeeze GoGo Penguin into such ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2016

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I always say it when recapping every year, and it's been truer than ever for me since I was fortunate to join All About Jazz at the start of 2016: there's always too much great stuff to take in. There are always too many albums we don't get around to during the year and too little time to properly dig into everything we do. Nonetheless, here are the jazz-related standouts out of everything that's managed to cross my desk (in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

GoGo Penguin: Man Made Object

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They're not your parents' kind of piano trio. Regardless of your age, they're not the obvious idea of yours either. In a milieu that's based on exploration or at least adaptability, GoGo Penguin is still more restless and exploratory than most; this UK outfit's brew of what they call “acoustic electronica" owes a debt to Brian Eno or the Orb as much as Bill Evans. The grooves can be based in the digital world's traditions of house, drum-and-bass or chill--not ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

GoGo Penguin: Man Made Object

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Its stick or twist for GoGo Penguin as they release this, their Blue Note debut and the first of a reputed three album deal. Do they push ahead, expanding their palette of electronica seen through the prism of acoustic jazz, or retreat a tad in deference to their new paymasters by emphasising the more traditional jazz elements of their sound. Should we be concerned that the two years since their breakthrough v2.0 album suggest a creative block or difficulty coping ...

LIVE REVIEWS

GoGo Penguin at Riverbank Arts Centre

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GoGo Penguin Riverbank Arts Centre Newbridge, Ireland October 31, 2015 With the Curragh Racecourse just a few furlongs away, Newbridge is more famous for horse racing than for its bridge that spans The Liffey. However, the independent Riverbank Arts Centre--just forty minutes from Dublin--is doing its bit to broaden the town's profile as, in addition to a great place for a flutter, a home to local, national and international arts. On this Halloween night, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

GoGo Penguin: v2.0

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Dating the emergence of a cultural phenomenon such as house music in the UK is notoriously difficult. While the tabloid furore probably reached full force in 1988, most would accept that the rise occurred the year before with the first (acid house) 'summer of love.' By any reckoning a lot of time has passed since those days and it seems remarkable how few credible crossovers between jazz and dance music there have been since then. While the looseness of hip ...