Birdwatching at Inner Forest - Penguin Cafe Mix - Cornelius
Wheels Within Wheels
Penguin Café was founded by Arthur Jeffes in 2009 as both a continuation of and homage to his father Simon Jeffes' original avant-pop band Penguin Café Orchestra.
Moved by a series of PCO reunion concerts that took place at London's Union Chapel ten years after his father's death in 1997, Jeffes formed his own band, known simply as Penguin Café. The lineup featured a number of notables like Neil Codling (Suede), Cass Browne (Gorillaz), Darren Berry (Razorlight), and Oli Langford (Florence + the Machine), alongside musicians from the Royal College of Music.
The newly formed group released their first album in 2011 through their own independent label. A Matter of Life… was received warmly as being stylistically an almost perfect match for the Penguin Café Orchestra's sound; even so, Jeffes was very much a composer in his own right, and despite a desire to stay true to the music of his father's band, he was never constricted by it. Penguin Café's following record was inspired by a project that Jeffes worked on with the International Space Orchestra and NASA Ames. The project spawned the pieces "Aurora" and "1420," which were eventually beamed into space, and also marked the beginning of what would become The Red Book, released in 2014. The four-song EP Umbrella, a collaboration with Japanese artist Cornelius, appeared in 2015.
The group continued to include an ever-revolving number of musicians, sometimes numbering up to ten at a time. On their third record, Jeffes took his cue from one of his father's sayings: "We wade in a sea of imperfections." 2017's Imperfect Sea, although in the main self-composed, also features covers of Kraftwerk's "Franz Schubert," Simian Mobile Disco's "Wheels Within Wheels," and a reworking of Simon Jeffes' "Now Nothing." ~ Bekki Bemrose