Mercury Prize nominated UK trio Gogo Penguin release their fourth single “Parasite,” a multi-part extended composition that exemplifies Gogo Penguin’s ultimate ethos of creating experimental sounding electronic music with just piano, drums and bass. The video is accompanied by a music video, filmed in London and Manchester, the band’s hometown, and directed by Jordan Copeland.
The single is from the band’s upcoming album Everything Is Going to Be OK, (April 14, Sony/XXIM), the first LP from the trio since almost breaking up, re-forming with a new member, signing to a new label and persevering through immense personal loss.
“Parasite” is the penultimate finisher on the new album, and it arrives after glimmers of added synth experimentation. But this track returns to Gogo Penguin’s original and truest lineup: piano, drum and bass.
The track is a reminder of a core GoGo Penguin competency: how great Chris and Nick are at interlocking with one another on the acoustic instruments, layering lines, making space and weaving together a fabric, now with Scott’s martial drumming propelling them in directions they know well. The collective energy of Gogo Penguin 2.0 shines through on this track.
Pianist and synth player Chris Illingworth says: “This is a great example of the classic GGP ethos of taking inspiration from the electronic music world and using that on acoustic instruments. The new electronic elements which we’ve incorporated into our setup on other tracks never felt like they were struggling for space or feeling like they needed to be included on a track just for the sake of it. When we did include them, they naturally found their place between the piano, bass and drums but sometimes, as in the case of this track, they were just a means to an end, a useful tool when writing and a way of reaching ideas we wouldn’t have found if we hadn’t experimented with them in the first place.”
Everything Is Going to Be OK was born during a time of turbulence and loss. Recorded in a personally difficult period for the band, which included deep personal loss and mourning– bassist Nick Blacka lost his mother and older brother to cancer only months apart, and pianist Chris Illingworth lost his grandmother– whilst the band also grappled with the departure (albeit amicable) of their longtime drummer. Blacka and Illingworth drew closer together during this time of loss and upheaval, and welcomed new drummer Jon Scott.
The album studio time offered the band a sanctuary from real life, and the resulting project draws its strength from a shared understanding and empathy, with a truly vibrant and hopeful sonic direction. Life has many great aspects to it and despite the lows, we should be mindful and grateful to celebrate the highs at every turn. Through our hardships, together, we will emerge stronger; everything is going to be ok.
With a new drummer, a new record label, (Sony Music electronica and neo-classical imprint XXIM Records), the Mercury Music Prize-nominated band are ushering in a more sonically liberated era. In the wake of two sold-out shows at London’s iconic KOKO, and a plethora of sold-out tour dates, the inimitable Mancunian trio have a truly captivating and quasi-magical presence, their music is both transformational and ethereal.
Photo Courtesy: Emily Dennison