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GoGo Penguin

Hailing from Manchester, England, GoGo Penguin are a left-field jazz piano trio who seamlessly wed rock, post-bop jazz, and minimalist classical influences with electronic production elements. After their second full-length, 2014's v2.0, was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, they signed to Blue Note and issued their label debut, Man Made Object, which placed inside the Top Ten on the jazz albums charts. Further records (2018's A Humdrum Star, 2020's GoGo Penguin) fared similarly well. 2021 remix album GGP/RMX solidified the group's bond with the electronic music world. Everything Is Going to Be OK, a studio full-length born from a period of loss and mourning, was released in 2023. GoGo Penguin was formed in Manchester in 2012 by pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka, and drummer Rob Turner. Mixing melodic landscapes with dynamic skittering beats and electronic elements, the band creates a heady blend that owes as much to Massive Attack and Brian Eno as it does to traditional jazz or classical. They released a pair of albums on the Gondwana label, announcing themselves with 2012's Fanfares, then expanded their sonic scope with 2014's v2.0, the latter of which earned them a Mercury Prize nomination. In early 2015, they struck a deal with Blue Note and recorded their third LP, Man Made Object, which arrived early the following year. Two years later, A Humdrum Star continued GoGo Penguin's multi-genre explorations and in 2019, the trio decided to forgo touring and focus exclusively on studio work. That year saw the arrival of the EP Ocean in a Drop: Music for Film, which was inspired by Philip Glass' 1982 cult documentary Koyaanisqatsi. Their eponymous fifth full-length followed in 2020. Co-produced by soundman Joe Reiser and Brendan Williams, the ten-track set was the result of a different working method. Instead of creating compositions from a single idea developed by the group as a whole, each member composed many songs separately, then combined their work to create expansive mini-suites. GoGo Penguin was released in early June 2020, and was subsequently reimagined for the remix album GGP/RMX in 2021, which included interpretations by Squarepusher, Machinedrum, and James Holden. By this point, Rob Turner had left the group and was replaced on drums by Jon Scott. Additionally, the bandmembers mourned the deaths of several family members. They responded by creating the optimistic full-length Everything Is Going to Be OK, which was issued by Sony Music's neo-classical imprint XXIM Records, in 2023.
© Timothy Monger & Thom Jurek /TiVo


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