GOGO PENGUIN – v2.0 (Deluxe Edition)
aaamusic | On 11, Nov 2014
Hot on the heels of their Mercury Prize nomination, GoGo Penguin re-released their v2.0 album in a Deluxe Edition last month, including three bonus tracks for our greatest pleasure.
The album had already been a very good showcase of the trio’s harmonious symbiosis between pianist Chris Illingworth, drummer Rob Turner and bassist Nick Blacka. Each member brings his own touch, and the album thus becomes a very peculiar and attractive mix of jazz, electronic dance and classical music. From darkness to light, from dream to reality, this album is simply a beautiful ode to the experience of life as seen through the eyes of these musicians.
The three bonus tracks go along the same lines, always making you want more of that good stuff. First ‘Break’ starts soberly with faint piano, before the bass comes along and they both play in low-key notes. This track is also characteristic of the album’s depiction of a certain solitude with which you can easily identify; a feeling of something that can never be reached somehow. It certainly is the kind of music that makes you get some perspective on (your) life. But the players do get more playful and intense, as if to say the more the merrier. This ambivalence between solemnity and playfulness is quite a recurring winning ingredient in GoGo Penguin’s work.
It goes on with the second bonus track ‘In Amber’, the first track the band wrote completely together. Its title was inspired by a book by Kurt Vonnegut where he describes us all as ‘trapped in the amber of the moment’ in reference to time happening all at once rather than in a linear fashion. Here the introducing bass, the piano and the drums – each play in a reassuring calm and mighty way, indeed as if time had stopped. At half-time though it’s a whole other mood: fast-paced and urgent, with a feeling of unreliability coming in contrast with the first half of the track, and enhanced by the background irregular rhythms. But it ends more peacefully, almost sadly, with a lonely bass, following the same musical pattern as in the beginning: we find back this idea of circle of life present throughout the entire album.
To end with, ‘Wash’ begins with grave piano and bass, very economical in their play. But a more positive mode follows with the use of major chords; it does feel as if you’d washed yourself of all your sins, making a hopeful fresh start. GoGo Penguin leave us here with a rather feel-good track, one you can listen to if ever you feel bumped or are not sure of where you’re going in life: this will give you drive again!