A GoGo Penguin remix album feels like a natural progression, but in this group’s true spirit, it never sounds like a predictable move. Since their emergence a decade ago, the Manchester-based trio (pianist Chris Illingworth, drummer Rob Turner and bassist Nick Blacka) have been internationally hailed as electrifying live performers, innovative soundtrack composers, and as a collective who channel electronic and club culture atmospheres as much as minimalist influences or jazz legacy.
‘GGP/RMX’ is a concept that the group have fostered for years; it comes to brilliant fruition as a vivid reimagination of their fifth album, and self-defining masterwork, the eponymous ‘GoGo Penguin’, released last year. Each track from the album is reimagined as well as a mesmerising new version of the previously rare gem ‘Petit_a’ (which was initially a Japan-only release, before it emerged on GGP’s digital EP ‘Live From Studio 2’). The group have personally enlisted an array of the world’s sharpest artist-producers and remixers, and conceived this work at Blue Note Lab, extending the 21st-century legacy of the legendary jazz label.
This is an album that extends the scope of GGP’s celebrated catalogue, which includes their Mercury Prize-nominated ‘v2.0’ (2014), ‘Man Made Object’ (2016), ‘A Humdrum Star’ (2018), 2019 EP ‘Ocean In A Drop (Music For Film)’, and 2020’s inspirational ‘GoGo Penguin’. ‘GGP/RMX’ pays testimony to the transformative art of the remix; it also reflects GGP’s original musicianship and global scope, as well as firm bonds of friendship and respect, and glorious faith in creative adventures. The new visions on ‘RMX’ feel intuitive, even symbiotic.
US producer Machinedrum reconstructs the instrumental elements of ‘Atomised’ into a lithe, irrepressible body music banger, which forms the first single release from ‘GGP/RMX’. French producer Rone creates a beautifully reflective new version of ‘F Maj Pixie’, before the same track is embraced and distinctly reshaped by Brit electronic/bassist maverick Squarepusher (with whose live band Shobaleader One GGP have shared festival stages), merging acoustic and tech elements to thrilling effect.
Excitingly expansive new takes also come from contemporary Brit talents Nathan Fake (on ‘Open’), James Holden (whose majestic remix of ‘Totem’ has a cinematic quality), and Clark (lending a brooding, edgy energy to ‘Petit_a’). The febrile creative force of GGP’s native Manchester also remains in full effect, through mixes from original club pioneer Graham Massey (808 State) on the deliciously exhilarating ‘Signal In The Noise’, and new generation talent Shunya, who lends elegant enigmatic moods on ‘To The Nth’.
Tokyo music hero Cornelius opens the collection with his joyously invigorating take on ‘Kora’, and he pays homage to GGP’s Manchester heritage as well as his own rapport with the British city (which bore a formative influence on his own early Shibuya-kei work). Also from Japan, the innovative musician and sound designer Yosi Horikawa (acclaimed for his experimental field recordings as well as his electronic productions) presents a richly evocative mix of ‘Embers’. Finally, wide-screen minimalists Portico Quartet create an insistently evocative end-note with their poignant reconstruction of ‘Don’t Go’.
‘GGP/RMX’ repeatedly propels us towards the dancefloor, but it never just ends there; the music pulses and flows, transporting us into brand new realms.
1. ‘Kora’ – Cornelius Remix
2. ‘Atomised’ – Machinedrum Remix
3. ‘Embers’ – Yosi Horikawa Remix
4. ‘F Maj Pixie’ – Rone Remix
5. ‘F Maj Pixie – Squarepusher Remix
6. ‘Open – Nathan Fake Remix
7. ‘Signal in The Noise’- 808 State Remix
8. ‘Totem’ – James Holden Remix
9. ‘To The Nth’ – Shunya Remix
10. ‘Petit A’ – Clark Remix
11. ‘Dont Go’ – Portico Quartet Remix