Jazz Electronica outfit GoGo Penguin perform their exhilarating new score to to Godfrey Reggio’s cult masterpiece Koyaanisqatsi.
Borrowing its title from the Hopi word meaning ‘life out of balance’, Koyaanisqatsi surveys the beauty of the natural world through slow motion and time lapse footage, documenting nature’s uneasy relationship with modern technology. With no text, narration, or dialogue, the film is driven by the interplay between image and sound – and accordingly, GoGo Penguin provide a score that’s full of conflict yet rich in emotion, with acoustic Jazz rubbing up against visceral electronics; swelling dissonance giving way to epic melody. Life out of balance, indeed.
Capturing the intense beauty of our planet while also providing a stark environmental warning, Koyaanisqatsi was originally released in 1982, with a hypnotically memorable score by Philip Glass. Powerful in its simplicity, the film and its score resonated with GoGo Penguin members Rob Turner (piano), Nick Blacka (double bass) and Chris Illingworth (piano), and they began to create their own score to the film. The result is this concert, originally commissioned by HOME in Manchester as part of the Music and Film Project, following on from Glass’s score to create a new, densely textured dialogue with Godfrey Reggio’s remarkable film.