Penguin Cafe – The Imperfect Sea

Originally started in the 1970’s by guitarist and composer Simon Jeffes the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, in a run which took in the 80’s and much of the 90’s, shook up the stiff collared world of classical music in the most charmingly English way imaginable, while simultaneously creating a sound with global appeal. Taking influences from the canon of great composers and contemporaries like Glass and Eno, they combined pastoral folk instrumentals with modern classical compositions and jaunty, cinematic instrumental to breath-taking effect and their music was equally at home in theatres, fields and TV adverts.

Sadly the party ended in 1997 when Jeffes sadly passed away but 10 years later the project was reborn with Jeffes son Arthur, himself a respected composer, assembled a band of musicians and played his fathers music once again. Alongside keeping the past alive Jeffes jr has written and released 2 albums of new Penguin Cafe material, but he’s now found a natural new home on the Erased Tapes label, alongside Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, where it’s suddenly become clear that Penguin Cafe were doing neo-classical minimalism before the scene’s current stars were even born!

This is a slightly more experimental incarnation of the project which incorporates elements of electronica (and covers of Kraftwerk and Simian Mobile Disco), drones and more into the compositions yet they still very much retain the cinematic beauty of yore, seguing elegantly from the cerebral to the euphoric throughout.

penguin cafe

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