As instrumental trios go, GoGo Penguin are the pinnacle of their genre. A piano, a double bass and a drumkit is all they need to create emotional rollercoasters for you to experience. Some songs are happy, some sad, some reflective – but all songs showcase the natural talent and ability of all three performers and the songwriting skills they possess.
For “Man Made Object”, little has changed except for the inclusion of some minimal synth extras in certain songs. From the opening rolls of “All Res”, the jazz infused melodies flow like a river of song and refuse to stop. Some play around with motifs and glitch parts such as “Unspeakable World” or progressively move towards elaborating on a theme until its complete and all-conquering like “Break Branches”, “Quiet Mind”, “Initiate” and the powerful kick punch whammy closing track “Protest”. Other tracks are more about the space they hold such as “Gbfisusih” with its hushed downplayed gentle movements.
The album is astounding but three tracks in particular leap out as contenders for song of the year. First it “Weird Cat” – an almost free form expression piece that grows ever more complex and intricate, whilst growing louder and more fierce over the five and half minutes it runs for. “Surrender to the Mountain” follows a similar pattern but is more melodic and structured in how the band join forces as one to document a pilgrimage of sorts. The centrepiece on the album is “Smarra” and it’s rotating riff that continues to evolve and burn into your soul as a dirty echo effect gradually turns up the heat making what a jamming session turn into an effects laden post-rock jazz riot.
“Man Made Object” is my instrumental album of the year but far, and rounds off a trio of stunning albums from the band. There’s nothing straightforward here like before to give you a simple entry point so you’ll need to dive in the deep end so-to-speak – but if you do you’ll be rewarded with a band at the top of their game.
Recommended Track : Surrender to the Mountain