I've loved the Penguin Café Orchestra since I 'discovered' their 2nd album on CD in about 1987 or '88. Poor Simon Jeffes, founder and leader of the PCO, died 12 years ago this month, at the ridiculously young age of 48.
I just missed a 'reunion' concert at the South Bank a couple of days ago. Damn!
So, in lieu of that, I've dug up some of their bits on YouTube. Mostly from a BBC show they recorded in 1989.
If you've never heard of them, I would describe them as an avant-garde, classical, minimalist, pop, folk ensemble, with a sense of humour. Some of their music is reminiscent of Steve Reich, or Michael Nyman, but with added warmth and humanity. Some of it is like a hoedown in a barn full of drunk trombonists.
That should make you listen.
You'll have heard Perpetuum Mobile and Telephone and Rubber Band and other tunes as they've been on countless adverts, or backing tracks for nature documentaries.
PCO are by turns melancholy and joyous and I will love their music forever. Please treasure them.
Perpetuum Mobile - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvbCV6E0Wro
Music For A Found Harmonium - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJg1NNyke2E
Air A Danser - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU8IziD08t4
Salty Bean Fumble - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfYdWPTLX-0&feature=channel (sheer genius from 1:25)
Paul's Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeZGXMeTKzw&feature=channel