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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GoGo… go… GET IT!
THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES for the jazz piano trio – and Manchester-based GoGoPenguin are key movers in a current new wave of line-ups that eschew the traditional idea of pianist leader and supporting rhythmic duo for a totally democratic and, therefore, absorbing concept in sound.

The band’s debut release, ‘Fanfares’ (2012), created...
Published 9 months ago by Adrian P

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars promising but not quite there
The band are clearly an excellent team , some good hooks with melodies , but I feel left with the feeling that it could have been better - more improvisation (of which I am sure they are capable) and more variety with pacing - EST were masters at this.
Published 7 months ago by paul


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GoGo… go… GET IT!, 17 Mar 2014
This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES for the jazz piano trio – and Manchester-based GoGoPenguin are key movers in a current new wave of line-ups that eschew the traditional idea of pianist leader and supporting rhythmic duo for a totally democratic and, therefore, absorbing concept in sound.

The band’s debut release, ‘Fanfares’ (2012), created considerable ripples of interest on the British scene, as well as much further afield, with their obvious e.s.t.-influenced grooves (confirmed, as Svensson fans would recognise, by the opening track title, ‘Seven Sons of Bjorn’). That tantalising 35-minute recording, hailed by critics, no doubt found a quickly-gathering fan base clamouring for the next chapter, whilst finding the subsequent live experiences every bit as engaging – those present at the band’s hometown gigs at Band On The Wall (that I, too, witnessed) would, I’m sure, be happy to concur.

It’s important to recognise now, though, that GoGo Penguin are not “the next Esbjörn Svensson Trio” (nor could they be, given the Swedish band’s untouchable seminal status) – and I hazard a guess that Chris Illingworth (piano), Nick Blacka (double bass) and Rob Turner (drums) would see it that way, too. So, what is both gratifying and thrilling about this new follow-up release, ‘v2.0′, is that the trio are already clearly honing a sound which appears to be uniquely theirs, Blacka and Turner providing the distinctive and frequently blistering up-front dance-groove edge. The resultant effect is mesmeric and trance-like (think ‘Aphex Twin’), with such breathtaking precision of metre to almost sound electronic… but with the satisfaction that it’s not! Illingworth, too, displays great mastery of his instrument, exploring the gamut of techniques and expression as well as, at times, seemingly employing Roland Kirk’s ability to ‘split his brain in two’ to state one melody with his right hand and another with his left – rapid electronica or anthemic breadth, his grand piano offers it all.

What better illustration of the band’s sparky originality than 'Garden Dog Barbecue'? – Chris Illingworth’s zippy right-hand piano melodies over grungy, leaping left-hand fifths chords shared with buzzing bass, and all sped along by breakneck skittering drums, plus some terrific rhythmic and tempo changes. Opening track, 'Murmuration', reveals the trio’s alter ego – beautifully-considered, sustained and repetitive piano against bubbling bass and drums, intensifying in stature with electronically-echoic arco bass until the flocking avian display it suggests disperses to nothingness. 'Kamaloka' brings to the fore Turner’s extraordinarily complex electro/techno drum likeness which drives a bright, arpeggio-accompanied piano tune, as does the following 'Fort', Blacka’s rasping bass combining so well with drums to its abrupt close. Not sinc'e Stefano Bollani’s live solo piano interpretation of a scratched vinyl LP have I heard the skills that are to be found in 'One Percent; already a compelling, bustling and highly-charged number, the final 45 seconds convincingly simulate, through a variety of closely-timed rhythms, a skipping CD – from an acoustic trio, this is something which has to be heard to be believed, and raises a smile with me every time!

'Home's infectious groove is again down to the brilliant interaction between Blacka and Turner, laying down a relentless and very listenable ground for Illingworth’s strong piano melodies, and Blacka’s big, scampering bass sound resonating clearly at the close. Recorded in total darkness, 'The Letter' is characterised by a heavy, sprawling and perhaps menacing pulse. 'To Drown In You' continues the darker feel with its hint of Philip Glass piano and ethereal bowed bass… and with what is becoming Turner’s trademark percussive sound, his staccatoed rhythms shared with Blacka’s bass, and the huge energy of Illingworth’s ‘split piano’, this is a standout. The brief, spacial 'Shock and Awe', against a tense metronome-like tick, carries a palpable weight of emotion and presents another side to the trio – perhaps something for future concepts. Lucid and vibrant, 'Hopopono' closes the album with an impressive summing-up of this band’s evident empathy and, perhaps even, telepathy.

Credit to sound engineers Joe Reiser and Brendan Williams for clarity of production, this release resembles a huge step forward in GoGo Penguin’s development – and the next gig will certainly be something to look forward to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So Much with So Little, 2 Dec 2014
This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
Occasionally I hear something that I want to share with everyone I know - that's how I feel about this album. Go Go Penguin are a three piece who manage to do so much with so little. There are gorgeous, bitter-sweet melodies ('Home'), showy flashes of technical brilliance - for example, the astonishing skip-stuttering on 'One Percent'. Then there are hypnotic, crystalline pieces (e.g. 'Kamaloka'). The playing is perhaps so perfect, the sound so sharp that it can lack warmth, but I love this stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GO GO Get THIS, 21 Nov 2014
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Chris Weavers - See all my reviews
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This review is from: v2.0 (MP3 Download)
Have bought lots of albums over too many years to want to remember. This piano trio record comes pretty well near the top of the list. What can I say, memorable tunes, great playing. On a level with the best works of EST which is saying something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: v2.0 (MP3 Download)
Heard these guys on Later and love their style
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5.0 out of 5 stars the fusion is great too track one seemed to echo massive attack in ..., 6 Dec 2014
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A. Foster (bolton, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
.... the fusion is great too
track one seemed to echo massive attack in some undefinable way
and two was described by my young daughter as 'a mash-up'
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was a Penguin once......, 20 Nov 2014
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This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
Lovin' this. Although clearly Jazz, I can hear a Red Snapper type attitude in the compositions. Very cool!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pick up a penguin., 30 Nov 2014
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This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
Great album. Am looking at others of theirs to purchase. Pleased it came with digital version too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The difficult second album, 4 April 2014
This review is from: v2.0 (Audio CD)
GGP first album was very well received and caused a lot of excitement. Therefore a lot was at stake with their second release, were GGP a flash in the pan or a genuinely new musical force. I am happy to say that v2.0 confirms their status of rising stars and shows them developing their own unique sound. Having seen them live recently at both Kings Place and The Pizza Express London I can confirm that they are a blisteringly exciting live act as well. Long may they continue to develop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Sep 2014
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This review is from: v2.0 (MP3 Download)
Just cool
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, 17 Sep 2014
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This review is from: v2.0 (MP3 Download)
I usually buy the mercury music prize nominees, in an effort to listen to things I might not iftheres listen to- I tend to be "alternative rock" usually... But this album has been played several tines now- interesting and surprising, I have really enjoyed it. For "jazz" it is accessible and conveys plenty of emotion and excitement.
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