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Penguin Cafe Orchestra

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wow !  I've listening to this for the past few days and I think it will be added to my list of favorites.  It's essentially instrumental kinda folksy - with lots of different instruments which are clearly defined.  Whoever did the recording did a really good job.


Many of you may know their single Perpetuum Motion used in a few PBS commercials

post #2 of 11

Which PCO album do you have? There are a couple with different versions of Perpetuum Mobile.


My favorite Penguin Cafe Orchestra album is the self-titled one (opens with Air à Danser and closes with Steady State). I had it on LP back in the day and wore out the album from listening so often. It's so playful with tones and textures as well as compositions. Over twenty years later and it's still on my short list of all-time favorites.

post #3 of 11

My favourite



post #4 of 11

Yes, the live When In Rome album is probably the best introduction.  I'd like to get my hands on the Windham Hill Concert Program set though.

post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by raddogz View Post
I think it will be added to my list of favorites […]


Congratulations on your discovery! The Penguin Cafe Orchestra has been on my list of all-time favorites for at least 25 years, and I can assure that you’ll love their music more with every year. Unfortunately mastermind Simon Jeffes passed away in 1997, so I seriously doubt that any new releases would match the brilliance of their original albums.


I have the complete works of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra in my digital collection. Right now in this moment I listen to “White mischief” from the “Broadcasting from home” album.



post #6 of 11

I've been a long term fan of Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Every music lover's home should have at least one of their albums. Their music has a timeless quality, that really has stood the test of time - and will sound just as fresh and inventive in a 100 years from now.


However, I didn't warm much to the live When In Rome - it almost has too much in one go. I'd rather listen to the studio originals, as each has it's own character. My two favourites being Broadcasting From Home and Signs OF Life.



post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

So far I have - Concert Program, Preludes, Airs & Yodels, Signs of Life.


These songs are perfect while reading, cooking, and I can they will go well while entertaining for the holidays.

post #8 of 11

Penguin Cafe Orchestra is the one that really gets me going, though there's lots of great stuff on Broadcasting From Home, too. That band's music is kinda unclassifiable, because it synthesizes bits from so many different genres. Duke Ellington would have called it "beyond category".

post #9 of 11

PCO only made a limited number of studio albums, due to Simon Jeffe's unfortunate early death. But the group toured a lot over its career, so there will probably be a slow trickle of live recordings  for years to come.

post #10 of 11

Doesn't Simon's son pick up the figurative baton?

post #11 of 11

I skimmed the Wikipedia entry on the PCO earlier, and it says his son manages the estate and has created a group called Penguin Cafe (without the Orchestra) to play his and his father's work, while the PCO veterans have started a group called Anteater to play Simon's music. Reading between the lines it sounds like some acrimony there, but it provides no details and I don't feel like investigating.

Edited by ardgedee - 11/15/11 at 7:42pm
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