Penguin Cafe — The Red Book (2014)

Penguin Cafe — The Red Book (February 17, 2014)

                Penguin Cafe — The Red Book
ψ   The spirit of Simon Jeffes lives on, but with a satisfying new dimension to it. He would be proud of Arthur no doubt. Eclectic instrumental music collective that fused Western classical with various world musics.
Formed: 1973 in England
Location: London, GB
Album release: 17th February 2014
Record Label: Editions Penguin Café Ltd.
Duration:     50:44 
01. AURORA     5:00 
02. SOLARIS     4:26 
03. BLACK HIBISCUS     5:14 
04. BLUE JAY     4:19 
05. RADIO BEMBA     2:27 
06. CATANIA     5:38 
07. 1420     5:55 
08. AND YET...     6:21 
09. MOONBO     4:41 
10. ODEON     2:48 
2013 Editions Penguin Café                                                                                                              Personnel:
→  Arthur Jeffes — piano, ukulele, harmonium
→  Des Murphy — ukulele
→  Andy Waterworth — double bass
→  Rebecca Waterworth — cello
→  Darren Berry — violin
→  Neil Codling — piano, ukulele, cuatro, guitar
→  Vince Green — viola
→  Tom Chichester-Clark — harmonium, ukulele
→  Cass Browne — percussion
→  Pete Radcliffe — percussion

→   This beautiful glossy RED BOOK, published feb 2014, details the history of the PCO, and brings up to date the story of the Penguin Cafe so far.
→   It features extensively gathered artworks, album covers, posters, and photos, set lists, and backgrounds to many tunes old and new.
→   We have a limited pile of autographed copies, signed by Arthur Jeffes.
→   18.5cm x 31cm
→   24 pages
→   Penguin Cafe release their new album ‘The Red Book’ on 17th February 2014. →   The sophomore release from the freshly re–imagined Penguin Cafe is the culmination of two years work that has seen Arthur Jeffes — son of original composer and Penguin Cafe Orchestra founder Simon Jeffes — investigate whole new areas of sound and vibrancy, alongside his eclectic collection of musicians and characters, marking an ambitious extension from their debut ‘A Matter of Life’ (2011).
→   The catalyst for the new recording came about when Jeffes worked on a project with the International Space Orchestra and NASA Ames in 2012, out of which came the pieces Aurora and 1420, which have since been beamed into space as part of NASA’s Kepler project. These touchstones marked a satellitic beginning for a new album, a collection of songs that would then return to earth to undertake a rich, cross–continental, musical journey.Penguin Cafe — The Red Book (17 February 2014)REVIEW
By David Meller | posted on 14 Feb 2014 | Score: ****
→   The story behind Penguin Cafe Orchestra is always one worth retelling. In 1972, Simon Jeffes experienced a sort of recurring hallucinogenic dream caused by food poisoning. The dream was about a lifeless concrete building containing equally lifeless inhabitants. “The scene was for me one of ordered desolation,” he said.
→   But after feeling somewhat better he went to a beach and, from there, the first line of a poem “I am the proprietor of the Penguin Cafe. I will tell you things at random” came to mind. It was here that an imaginary and self–contained world, all built around spontaneity and creativity and framed within this imaginary cafe, began to form.
→   This creation inspired the music one would hear in the cafe. “It’s the sort of music played by imagined wild, free, mountain people creating sounds of a subtle dreamlike quality,” said Jeffes. “It is cafe music, but cafe in the sense of a place where people’s spirits communicate and mingle, a place where music is played that often touches the heart of the listener.”
→   Simon Jeffes passed away in 1997, with the likes of Music for a Found Harmonium and Telephone And Rubber Band just two hugely memorable — and much used — examples of the work he left. Fortunately, his son Arthur was determined to carry on playing his father’s work and in 2009, formed Penguin Cafe. However, it isn’t all a case of like father, like son; Arthur is a fully–fledged composer himself and The Red Book is Penguin Cafe’s second album, following on from 2011′s well–received A Matter Of Life.
→   Indeed, opener Aurora is rather different from the PCO material; this has a rather deeper, emotional core and is by no means one played by those so–called free mountain people. It’s almost Philip Glass like in its minimalism, stripped back, with the use cello and piano creating something that is dreamlike but also rather mellow. The same can be said about Solaris but there’s also an additional tenderness expressed here, especially when the strings and ukulele, which brings a real touch of the PCO, combine.
→   Black Hibiscus initially begins in a similar fashion, but then becomes upliftingly high-tempo and achieves something of a Spanish feel to it thanks to the double bass and flamencoesque guitar. This up–tempo mood continues into Bluejay, with the slightly jagged sounding violin buzzing around the smooth double bass to create that fluttering, bird-like feel.
→   Catania presents a marked shift from the preceding tracks, with the electro–acoustic guitar initially reverberating before layer–upon–layer of differing melodies arrive, starting with violin, bass, another layer of violin and electric guitar. This is, perhaps, the most PCO track of the album; the rhythms are reminiscent of some of Jeffes Snr’s most well–known work, but yet it feels different: there’s an added meticulousness to this. This is very skilfully done. As is following track 1420, with just piano and finger–picked guitar weaving into one another before subtle touches of organ and harmonica arrive, bringing the minimal and the somewhat mellow back with it.
→   Moonbo takes us right back to Glass territory, with the repetitive violin reminiscent of Glass’ later work. But again, layers of strings and instruments seem to reveal themselves subtly and almost without notice, building something detailed and precise in the process. Odeon is far more playful, especially with hints of recorder adding something of an Irish tint to it and spot of laughter in the background. Album closer (The Roaring Of A) Silent Sun is a gentle and appropriately dreamy conclusion, the plucking of a single cello string all the way, suggesting the passing of night into day, against the somewhat joyous sounding strings marking a bright new day.
→   The essence of what made Penguin Cafe Orchestra is here: the music is dreamlike and does indeed touch the heart of the listener. Yet Jeffes Jnr achieves this differently; compared to his father’s work, which is full of enduring melodies that often verged on the experimental, this is more composed and less “wild”. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s as affecting, though. The spirit of Simon Jeffes lives on, but with a satisfying new dimension to it. He would be proud of Arthur no doubt.
Simon Jeffes (Crawley, UK, 19 February 1949 — 11 December 1997) was an English classically trained guitarist, composer and arranger. He formed, and was the core performer of, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. He composed the ballet Still Life at the Penguin Cafe. According to Robert Sandall, on the official Penguin Cafe Orchestra website, Jeffes died of an inoperable brain tumor in December 1997.
→   He is also known for assisting Sex Pistols producer Bill Price with the string arrangement for the now legendary Sid Vicious version of “My Way” which reached #7 on the UK singles charts as part of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle soundtrack. Since his death, an enduring work of his, "Music for a Found Harmonium," has enjoyed great welcome at pubs and concerts where strings and percussion join in folk music.
Press: Big Mouth Publicity —
Agent: Serious Promotions — David Jones —; Licensing —
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Other albums:
A Matter Of Life
→   Penguin Cafe is a continuation by Arthur Jeffes of the ideas and music that his father, Simon Jeffes the English composer and musician, created with the enduring and ever–evolving concept of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
→   During the last two years they've been touring and playing the original music and adding a few new pieces as they emerged. This record is a collection of some of these pieces.
01. That, Not That
02. Landau
03. Sundog
04. The Fox and the Leopard
05. Finland
06. Pale Peach Jukebox
07. Harry Piers
08. Two Beans Shaker
09. From a Blue Temple
10. Ghosts in the Pond
11. Coriolis

Broadcasting from Home
→   This record continues the custom established by Simon on 'Penguin Café Orchestra' of using the original ensemble from the first record with the addition of new members.
→   Recorded on 8 track at Hippodrome place between 1982 and 1984 with overdubbing and mixing at various 24 track studios, it is, once again, a slow, but sure accumulation of compositional and instrumental ideas.
→   For the first time the PCO features brass instruments, the Omnichord and the harmonium, an instrument which was to become central to future PCO music. This period of research gave birth to the classic 'Music for a Found Harmonium' which Simon composed in Japan on a harmonium that he found abandoned in a Tokyo street. This piece has become a classic, covered by many ensembles including Sharon Shannon, Patrick Street and The Orb.
→   This record is the PCO 'coming of age' but still retaining its youthful nonconformity.
Catalogue no: EEGCD 38 /0777 7 87447 2 6/ CAR1545 (US)
01. Music for a found harmonium
02. Prelude and yodel
03. More milk
04. Sheep dip
05. White mischief
06. In the back of a taxi
07. Music by numbers
08. Another one from the colonies
09. Air
10. Heartwind
11. Isle of view (music for helicopter pilots)
12. Now nothing
→   (Remastered 2008)

Music from the Penguin Cafe
→   This record is a manifestation of a dream that Simon had in Japan of a place called the Penguin Café where a certain kind of unusual music is played.
→   The record is, in effect, a compilation of at least three years' work in various contexts and with different musicians, mostly recorded on Simon's trusty A77 Revox tape recorder 'on location'.
→   The original combination of musicians that rehearsed for, and played on, this record was called 'the 4 musicians in green clothes'. By the time Brian Eno had adopted the project, and Simon had dreamt his dream, they had become the ‘Penguin Café Quartet’, members of the ‘Penguin Café Orchestra’.
→   A section of the record is entitled ‘Zopf’ with slightly different performers and includes tracks that have become PCO classics such as ‘From the Colonies’, ‘Surface Tension’ and ‘Giles Farnaby’s Dream’. ‘Zopf’ means pigtail in German and was used in the 18th Century to describe a certain kind of light music played in coffee–houses. →   Later, Simon used the name for the PCO's own record label. 'Music From The Penguin Café' is a charming and seminal record that was to lead to a quarter of a century of innovative music.
→   First released on Brian Eno's Obscure Records label in 1976 with the catalogue number Obscure 7, it was originally available from Island Records in the UK on mail order only. Since then it has passed to the Virgin label.
Catalogue no: EEGCD 27/0777 7 87448 2 5 (UK)/ CAR1544 (US)
01. Penguin Cafe Single
02. Zopf
03. From The Colonies
04. In A Sydney Motel
05. Surface Tension (Where The Trees Meet The Sky)
06. Milk
07. Coronation
08. Giles Farnaby's Dream
09. Pigtail
10. The Sound Of Someone You Love Who's Going Away And It Doesn't Matter
11. Hugebaby/Chartered Flight
→   (Remastered 2008)

Penguin Cafe Orchestra (Remastered 2008)
→   As with ‘Music From The Penguin Café’ this record is the product of lengthy research and collaboration, being, as the sleeve notes state: ‘Recorded at the Penguin Café between 1977—1980’.
→   This eponymous record features the same core musicians as ‘Music From The Penguin Café’, but with several new players that Simon had met in the late 70’s.
→   The record was made on Tascam 8–track at Hippodrome Place, Simon’s new studio. Subsequent recording took place in various studios after pieces were transferred to 24 track tape.
→   A benchmark for film–makers, TV producers, advertisers and choreographers who share an enthusiasm for the PCO, ‘Penguin Café Orchestra’ includes ‘Telephone and Rubber Band’, ‘Yodel 1’, ‘Steady State’, ‘Numbers 1 — 4’ and other well–exploited pieces.
→   In 1981 the PCO began to flourish as a concert orchestra, featuring most of the musicians involved in the recording and incorporating many pieces from this record in their repertoire.
→   It was a very important and successful ‘second album’.
01. Air a Danser
02. Yodel 1
03. Telephone and Rubber Band
04. Cutting Branches For a Temporary Shelter
05. Pythagoras's Trousers
06. Numbers 1-4
07. Yodel 2
08. Salty Bean Fumble
09. Paul's Dance
10. The Ecstasy Of Dancing Fleas
11. Walk Don't Run
12. Flux
13. Simon's Dream
14. Harmonic Necklace
15. Steady State
Catalogue no: EEGCD 11/077 7 87449 2 4/ CAR1543 (US)_______________________________________________________________

Penguin Cafe — The Red Book (2014)