The Upshot: UK outfit marries EDM to piano trio format for keyboard, bass, and drums, with striking results.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Manchester’s GoGo Penguin has always had a unique way of making music: composing its pieces as EDM, then translating those tunes into a piano trio format. The contrast between drummer Rob Turner’s athletic translations of jungle and dancefloor beats and bassist Nick Blacka’s woody double bass tones creates a distinctive and uplifting foundation for pianist Chris Illingworth’s minimalist classical melodies and chord work. A Humdrum Star, the band’s fourth album, mostly stays the course of its prior work – check out “Raven” and “Reactor” for perfect encapsulations of its aesthetic. GGP has begun to alter its formerly all-acoustic format, however, as its electronic influences become more obvious. The organ drones that underpin “Transient State” and “Strid” and the repetitive keyboard strike throughout “Bardo” add new textures to the group’s arrangements without being obvious about it. The results come off like the soundtrack to an imaginary video game, one where environmental exploration is more important than staying on task.
DOWNLOAD: “Strid,” “Reactor,” “Transient State”