GoGo Penguin

A Humdrum Star

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Go Go Penguin's genre-bending, EDM-influenced brand of jazz has earned the Manchester-based trio plaudits, including being shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in 2014. The band's fourth studio album, and second for Blue Note, 2018's atmospheric A Humdrum Star, finds them delving even deeper into an electronic-influenced sound that favors texture and mood over standards or jazz-based elements. Once again featured are bassist Nick Blacka, pianist Chris Illingworth, and drummer Rob Turner. Working with producers Joe Reiser and Brendan Williams, the trio offers a set of original compositions rife with skittering breakbeats, roiling piano melodies, and warm acoustic bass grooves. It's a style that seems informed as much by the computer-based production of Four Tet, and Amon Tobin as the hypnotic classical compositions of Philip Glass and the '70s jazz of Keith Jarrett. To achieve this cross-pollinated aesthetic, the band purportedly balance their compositional process between writing songs on their instruments and utilizing electronic production programs that they then translate to live instrumentation. As a result, these songs have the wave-like flow of electronic dance tracks but with the expansive, acoustic atmosphere of classic ECM recordings.

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