Manchester ensemble GOGO Penguin offered a spectacle of a different kind to Londoners on Bonfire Night. Premiering a new show described as an ‘immersive experience for all the senses’, the jazz-meets-electronica virtuosos delivered a sublime performance to match the grandeur of the iconic Roundhouse venue in Camden.
GOGO Penguin take to the stage after support from Austrian composer Dorian Concept – who is worthy of mention for his not too dissimilar but equally dynamic soundscapes – and opener All Res immediately impresses, with its delicate piano lending way to a powerful and propulsive bassline.
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Following the February release of acclaimed LP Man Made Object, the group now have three studio albums to their name and so what ensues is a lengthy set at ninety minutes, accompanied throughout by dazzling lights and mesmerizing visuals on a digital backdrop.
The jazz-schooled trio, consisting of pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka, and drummer Rob Turner, are something of revivalists and renegades all at once; much of their material began as electronic compositions before developing into acoustic instrumentals.
They manage to keep with their musical roots whilst simultaneously reach out across the spectrum. Detectable influences range from Brian Eno to Aphex Twin; all the while there is the characteristically improvisational element to their sound and of course the jazz staples of piano, double-bass and percussion. The slow-building, anthemic numbers propelled by the energy of the visuals give the show the feel of a cinematic journey; Branches Break midway through the set is a particular highlight. Immediately after the obligatory encore, the curiously titled Garden Dog Barbeque is as interesting as the name suggests; with an infectious, skittering piano swelling into a dance-inducing frenzy. The best, however, is saved until last. Hopopono, the standout track from Mercury Prize nominated masterpiece v2.0, perfectly encapsulates a melancholy yet invigorating sense of ending as the lights fall down and the show comes to a close.