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Penguin Cafe|Rain Before Seven...

Rain Before Seven...

Penguin Café

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The expectations of a son carrying on his deceased father's musical legacy are unenviable. That the son is carrying on his father's legacy under a similar—but not exactly identical—name, and in a similar—but not exactly identical—musical style, and with occasional—but not consistent—inclusions of his father's repertoire in live performances ... well, all that somehow manages to both scramble and increase those expectations. However, for the past 14 years, more than half as long as the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra performed under the leadership of Simon Jeffes, multi-instrumentalist Arthur Jeffes has been at the helm of Penguin Cafe, a group that not only includes no members of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra but also one that stakes its reputation on new, original material.

Rain Before Seven is the sixth album of that original material and while Arthur Jeffes certainly doesn't shy away from evoking the multi-instrumental, quasi-folk/quasi-classical soundworld that his father pioneered in the 1970s, the younger Jeffes's approach leans much more heavily on the atmospheric soundscapes indulged in by many contemporary classical crossover artists. Although there's a raft of "real" instruments at work here—ranging from piano and strings to ukulele and (naturally) harmonium—there's a distinct sheen of digital architecture that undergirds the material on Rain Before Seven, giving it less of an organic sense of adventure and more like it's being optimized for music library placement or chill-vibes-playlist inclusion. Cuts like "Galahad" and "No One Really Leaves," are by no means unpleasant, but far less interesting than they could be, with rhythms that are pretty straightforward and undemanding, and arrangements that leave little to the imagination.

Where Rain Before Seven really shines, however, is on the more complex and whimsical numbers, like "In Re Budd," which doesn't sound at all like a Harold Budd piano piece but does feature the balafon, a West African xylophone, making dense, circular rhythms and gentle, airborne melodies. Similarly, the album closer "Goldfinch" is both epic and intimate, with Jeffes & Co. pulling out all the instrumental stops, with strings pulling triple duty in quartet format, as well as wild violin solos and folksy fiddling. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Rain Before Seven...

Penguin Cafe

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1
Welcome to London
00:04:48

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Piano, Melodica - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Composer, Arranger, Cello, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

2
Temporary Shelter from the Storm
00:04:55

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Melodica, BassGuitar - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Arranger, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

3
In Re Budd
00:04:22

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Percussion, Piano, Ukulele, BassGuitar - Oli Langford, Arranger - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

4
Second Variety
00:03:53

Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Piano, Melodica - Oli Langford, Arranger - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Alessandro 'Asso' Stefana, LapSteelGuitar - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

5
Galahad
00:06:10

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Composer, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

6
Might Be Something
00:06:29

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Piano - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Composer, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

7
No One Really Leaves…
00:04:54

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Piano, Harmonium, PreparedPiano - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

8
Find Your Feet
00:04:17

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Percussion, Piano, Ukulele, cuatro, PreparedPiano - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Composer, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

9
Lamborghini 754
00:04:23

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Percussion - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Composer, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

10
Goldfinch Yodel
00:04:49

Andy Waterworth, Contrabass - Penguin Café, MainArtist - Arthur Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Percussion, Piano, Harmonium, Ukulele, cuatro, BassGuitar, PreparedPiano - Clementine Brown, Violin - Oli Langford, Arranger, Viola, Violin - Aviv Cohen, MixingEngineer - Zino Mikorey, MasteringEngineer - Alex Kozobolis, Photographer - Avvon Chambers, Drums, Percussion - Robert Raths, CoProducer, ArtDirection - Tom Chichester-Clark, MixingEngineer - Rebecca Waterworth, Cello - Ayesha Linton-Whittle, SetDesigner - Katy Clare Brooks, CostumeDesign - Studio Torsten Posselt, CoverDesign

2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd. 2023 Erased Tapes Records Ltd.

Album review

The expectations of a son carrying on his deceased father's musical legacy are unenviable. That the son is carrying on his father's legacy under a similar—but not exactly identical—name, and in a similar—but not exactly identical—musical style, and with occasional—but not consistent—inclusions of his father's repertoire in live performances ... well, all that somehow manages to both scramble and increase those expectations. However, for the past 14 years, more than half as long as the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra performed under the leadership of Simon Jeffes, multi-instrumentalist Arthur Jeffes has been at the helm of Penguin Cafe, a group that not only includes no members of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra but also one that stakes its reputation on new, original material.

Rain Before Seven is the sixth album of that original material and while Arthur Jeffes certainly doesn't shy away from evoking the multi-instrumental, quasi-folk/quasi-classical soundworld that his father pioneered in the 1970s, the younger Jeffes's approach leans much more heavily on the atmospheric soundscapes indulged in by many contemporary classical crossover artists. Although there's a raft of "real" instruments at work here—ranging from piano and strings to ukulele and (naturally) harmonium—there's a distinct sheen of digital architecture that undergirds the material on Rain Before Seven, giving it less of an organic sense of adventure and more like it's being optimized for music library placement or chill-vibes-playlist inclusion. Cuts like "Galahad" and "No One Really Leaves," are by no means unpleasant, but far less interesting than they could be, with rhythms that are pretty straightforward and undemanding, and arrangements that leave little to the imagination.

Where Rain Before Seven really shines, however, is on the more complex and whimsical numbers, like "In Re Budd," which doesn't sound at all like a Harold Budd piano piece but does feature the balafon, a West African xylophone, making dense, circular rhythms and gentle, airborne melodies. Similarly, the album closer "Goldfinch" is both epic and intimate, with Jeffes & Co. pulling out all the instrumental stops, with strings pulling triple duty in quartet format, as well as wild violin solos and folksy fiddling. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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