GoGo Penguin | Live from Studio 2
by Stamish Malcuss
GoGo Penguin is an England based jazz trio that augments the jazz tradition with inspiration from electronic music, minimalism, and the reggae-inflected style known as jungle. That combination of musical styles combined with their unique chemistry yields a very modern, fluid sound. GoGo Penguin’s latest album was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studio while streaming to a live internet audience. Drummer Rob Turner also added, “When we perform, we’re always reacting to each other but also the crowd. The people and the energy in the space is as much a part of the performance as we are. Studio Two is imbued with the ghosts of all the incredible music and musicians that have performed there. It has an atmosphere all of its own. You really feel the expanse of time, how much has happened before you, and how much will continue to happen after you.” The album is called, Live from Studio 2.
“Petit_a” has a cyclic harmonic pattern that pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka, and drummer Rob Turner develop a groove with apparent influences of electronic music and minimalism. The melody floats through the feel in an effortless development that is impressive. Turner’s cross-rhythms and fills keep the energy moving as Illingworth’s playing evolves the melody. The GoGo Penguin musical language is one of patience and focus on the groove.
“Atomised” has a swirling arpeggio pattern that Blacka and Turner lay down their groove to. The bass line has an electronic music influence, and overall, the danceability of GoGo Penguin is very high. Illingworth’s piano creates a hypnotic sound that is impressive. Turner shows his ability to create layers of rhythmic textures, utilizing various drum colors and sticking. The song has an energy and suspense that builds over time with the trio’s drive to the climactic point.
GoGo Penguin is taking the jazz trio language and expanding into the modern era. The three are obviously not afraid or ashamed to embrace today’s musical styles. The music is inviting and fresh because of this and pushes the jazz genre forward.