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A Magazine for

V2.0

Manchester jazz trio GoGo Penguin have put out their second record. The title, v2.0, looks like an obscure document name or an acronym for insiders. The players are Chris Illingworth (piano), Nick Blacka (double bass) and Rob Turner (drums). The album consists of ten tracks of immaculate composition, stunning technical playing and tasteful production. The listener can dream and dance to it or otherwise attentively follow the lyrical arrangements.

DJs may put this jazz record in one section with Massive Attack, Squarepusher or Photek. It has break beat drumming. Coffee bar owners may put it on shuffle with Gonzales or Jamie Cullum. It has spherical piano arrangements on top of the break beats. Those in the know of contemporary European piano jazz might think they are being confronted with an Esbjörn Svensson album they didn’t know existed, because the music has an obvious Scandinavian touch. The piano playing is scandalously innovative in its repetition and heartwarming rationality and it’s refreshingly minimal, like everything else about this album.

American jazz academics may be baffled and hope this album is American in origin, but yet again fear that it’s not. Music geeks will spot the use of effects pedals here and there. Some might notice that GoGo Penguin have refined the use of those little machines to absolute perfection.

This record isn’t reinventing the wheel, because you can’t. As a reviewer I’d like to juxtapose it with others I like, but I don’t feel like it right now. Just let me play it again and enjoy what it does to my brain – a bit like what Glen Gould playing Bach does to my brain. But let me turn the hoover on first, like Glen did when he practised. A must have album.

Thomas Lebioda

by Now Then Manchester