New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Today, UK instrumental trio GoGo Penguin released "F Maj Pixie," the third single from their upcoming self-titled album out June 5th. Accompanying the single is a live video for the song which exemplifies the band's mesmerizing live performance.
The Manchester, England trio have fielded rave reviews for inspiration and originality at every turn since 2013, when they settled on their dream line-up of Chris Illingworth (piano), Rob Turner (drums) and Nick Blacka (bass). They won the Mercury Prize for album of the year in 2014 and have enjoyed a success matched by precious few vocal-free groups post-millennium.
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. Rob confesses, "I spend way more time on my laptop than I do on my drums. The ratio is probably about 90% to 10%."
Turner obsessively works with production software favored by many electronic producers, and "F Maj Pixie" is partially based on a theme composed in Ableton. Bassist Nick Blacka explains:
"The first idea came from an Ableton project that was heavily electronica inspired. We continued to develop this idea using software initially. We were interested in how we could manipulate the sounds in the software and then afterwards recreate it acoustically. We've used this approach before but not in this particular way. This was how the ending came about where we slowed it down and manipulated the pitch in Ableton and then we learnt how to play it on our instruments. The second, we felt had more of a rockier sound to it. That particular riff we thought sounded slightly reminiscent of The Pixies. We'd been working on the two ideas separately for a few weeks before we decided to piece them together and we thought it worked. A lot of the time when we're working on new tracks we use working titles for them. This is one of the few times we decided to stick with that title."
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.