The Manchester-based left-field piano trio performs music from their latest Blue Note Records release, A Humdrum Star. GoGo Penguin’s music has been described as acoustic-electronica, but the band draws equally on rock, jazz, and minimalism; game soundtracks; and glitchy electronica to create its unique music. It is music for the heart, head, and feet, which saw the group’s album v2.0 named Mercury Prize Album of the Year in 2014, alongside albums from Damon Albarn, Young Fathers, and Jungle. In 2015, GoGo Penguin signed on to Blue Note Records and released the album Man Made Object in 2016. More recently, they have been touring their own score to Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi.
Although they’re predominately an acoustic piano trio, GoGo Penguin creates music that 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 that 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.” And it is that ability to synthesize the seemingly disparate influences of electronica, jazz, and classical music into their own unique musical DNA that gives GoGo Penguin such an instantly recognizable and compelling sound.
Powered by fluttering, junglist drums, slithering bass lines and an increasing bank of Eno-esque digital manipulations. Hypnotic stuff.
The members stayed locked in their grooves, three young men making music with jazz instruments, rock dynamics and circumscribed dance-music strategies.
—New York Times