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AAA Music | 23 May 2024

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GoGo Penguin – Live @ Royal Albert Hall

| On 15, Nov 2018

GOGO PENGUIN - Royal Albert Hall

Monday 12th November, London

The exciting and intuitive Mancunian piano trio GoGo Penguin combines  musicians Chris Illingworth (piano), Rob Turner (drums) and Nick Blacka (double bass). Together they create dynamic and atmospheric sounds that are difficult to categorise, but some would say they’re acoustic electronica influenced by classical, jazz and minimalism. They’re sometimes compared with Aphex Twin, Brian Eno and Submotion Orchestra.

At this Royal Albert Hall performance the trio focused on their latest album Humdrum Star, released on Blue Note and named after a Carl Sagan quote which recognises the vastness of the galaxy and the apparent insignificance of our own universe.

Beginning the set, the calm and pulsating ‘Prayer’ quickly evolved into fast, infectious rhythms with ‘Raven’, followed by a restless momentum in ‘One Percent’. We heard the intense and rhythmical landscape of ‘Bardo’ and captivating stellar sounds in ‘A Hundred Moons’.

An airy and expansive ‘Window’ followed and trance like ‘Ocean In A Drop’ left us spinning, whilst ‘Murmuration’ was another of those rich and spacious songs with a cosmic feel.

After the delicate and intricate ‘Hopopono’, energetic Fading: Feigning’ was quite hypnotic and ‘Transient State’, full of vitality, felt as if it was leaving on an important mission into the unknown. The bold Protest’ became increasingly tense and angry and this bought an inventive and emotional end to the evening.     

In this iconic venue we heard fine music inspired by science and the wonder of the universe and it could be that some of GoGo Penguin’s best work is found within Humdrum Star. At times their mesmerising music seemed to float. These were fresh, dramatic and stunning sounds, ambitious and a little bit special. 

Anthony Weightman