Meet Little Penguin
I learned a lesson yesterday, when I rather flippantly dismissed New Age music as ‘annoying’. The word has come back to bite me, as these thoughtless throwaway remarks have the habit of doing… What I have found annoying about such music in the past is squawking sea birds and whale music and plinky-plonky plink-plonk. I have found it has raised my ire even more when I have felt that the imperative part of the process of listening to such tracks is to improve my life, which has been beyond somewhat rubbish on occasions. I also to seem to have linked New Age music in my mind to an ex-boyfriend with some strange habits, but that’s another story.
I listened to some music yesterday that has forced me to examine my narrow-minded prejudice about New Age music and ain’t examining a prejudice always a good thing? I have realised that there is far more to the genre than whales and pan pipes. I have realised that whilst I am old enough to have owned Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells but didn’t, I do like bells. And whilst wearing my ‘I hate New Age music’ badge I have happily listened to Jah Wobble, Enya and Keith Jarrett without giving it a second thought. And then with a hot shame I realise that one of my favourite tracks in the whole world is John Martyn’s Small Hours which is about as New Age as you can get, and was originally recorded at night on a lake with geese squawking in the background… It’s not entirely my fault I think; here’s why. I also bumped into a DJ yesterday afternoon who explained that genre is a much broader church musically than fans are aware of. Having had stand-offs in the past about what is drum and bass and/or dub, I really should know much better.
Anyway, that preamble is a rather circuitous way of reminding myself that whilst I wouldn’t dream of labelling people, I am still falling into the trap of classifying art, and in doing so could be missing out on a lot. So this is a break out of genre stereotype weekend for me. I’m reading a ghost story (horror – not my genre), cutting off my hair (the Cousin It look is my natural genre), listening to the radio as they debate the unnatural divide between arts and science whilst introducing my readers to a new, profound musical experience by local musician Little Penguin. His use of repetition and adding layers of sound upon sound seemed to me to give the piece emotional narrative and an understated and rare majesty. It’s music you can feel to and I will be getting it on my iPod as soon as it is released here. As an added bonus, the video is an engaging animation set in Southend-on-Sea.
Little Penguin is Graham Boosey of Southend on Sea, Essex. He started because he wanted to play at a new local electronica night, so he wrote some songs on his Game Boy Camera. Following experimentation through soundscapes, noise and drone, these are his subverted attempts to try and write nice songs. Graham’s favourite things are – Cheeseburgers, Pizza, New Age Music, Noise/Harsh Noise, his Wife and Dog, music releases on archaic formats and Wimpy’s (the restaurant). Contrary to what the name suggests he isn’t particularly fussed on Penguins and is a bit chubby.
Bio from Little Penguin’s record label Hottwerk