A Few Words About “Ocean in a Drop”

GOGO PENGUIN, Ocean in a Drop (Music for Film) (Blue Note, 2019)

PERSONNEL: Nick Blacka (bass); Chris Illingworth (piano); Rob Turner (drums)


  1. Time-Lapse City
  2. Control Shift
  3. Four Corners
  4. Ocean in a Drop
  5. Nessus


Very few bands achieve what I call Blind Allegiance Status these days. GoGo Penguin has become one of those bands. If they release it, I’m buying it. No questions asked.

My loyalty has once again been rewarded with Ocean in a Drop (Music for Film), a five-song 10-inch vinyl release. The disc is a virtual masterpiece of jazz-influenced “acoustic electronica,” as the band calls it on their web site. The music is remarkably aggressive even as it maintains its laid-back vibe. I continue to marvel at this trio’s ability to take up so much space with only a piano, bass and drums.

The music has an undeniable groove, driven primarily by the bass playing of Nick Blacka. But his lines would not be the same without the deft touch of pianist Chris Illingsworth or the drive of Rob Turner’s drums. It is appropriate that I first hear this record on Thanksgiving, as it is a true feast for the ears.

GoGo Penguin is playing two nights in Chicago next June. Guess where I plan to be?


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My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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