Two years after A Humdrum Star, Manchester-based jazz collective GoGo Penguin (Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka, Rob Turner) released the new self-titled album which is out via Blue Note. According to the press release, A big part of GoGo Penguin’s impact derives from the way they employ computer technology to compose with, then find ways to record (and perform) the results on acoustic instruments, with help from a surprisingly limited arsenal of effects pedals and delays. Turner obsessively works with production software favoured by many electronic producers, confessing “I spend way more time on my laptop than I do on my drums. The ratio is probably about 90% to 10%.” 

GoGo Penguin’s music has always defied categorization. In their sound, there have been traces of latter day developments in jazz, such as Sweden’s free-thinking Esbjörn Svensson Trio (aka EST), or minimalist classical composers like Steve Reich, John Adams, even Erik Satie. Yet, all in their mid-30’s, you can hear that they have grown up in the golden age of electronica, with echoes ranging from rarefied techno (think Aphex Twin; Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra), and the emotive melodies and crescendos of European house, through to Roni Size’s jazz-infused drum ‘n’ bass.