SONIQFEST: DJ Penguin Prison Parties in NY and Montreal Alike

ILESONIQ Festival, 2015. ILESONIQ Festival, 2015.

After releasing his second album Lost In New York in May, New York-based DJ Penguin Prison (aka Chris Glover) has announced that he will be coming to Montreal to play at the Ile Soniq Festival, on August 14th.

Chris Glover/Penguin Prison. Photo Bjorn Looss. 2014

Chris Glover/Penguin Prison. Photo Bjorn Looss. 2014

Unlike some critics who seem to be extremely fussy about the theoretical aspect or “proper way” to make music, I like the unexpected and bold unprecedented music that isn’t apologetic about mixing sounds and styles without following any rules or guideline. The results are usually more than satisfactory when musical instincts are followed. While listening to Lost In New York, as my appreciation of it was full, immediate, and had no typical analysis filter whatsoever, I found that Chris Glover didn’t need a recipe either.

Glover, known as DJ Penguin Prison, is an artist who struck me as very independent, self-taught and polyvalent, and I was right. There was some criticism of his vocal performance or lack thereof, which basically labelled him as an “average singer,” and although I kind of see the point, I do however believe that the greatness of his voice and potential as a singer are highlighted in specific songs more than others. I give him extra credit for his versatility as a singer/producer/songwriter/DJ, and obviously consummate artist/musician who gives his all to provide us with quality work and original music. Reminding me of Foster The People, going from soft rock, to a safe 80s-influenced indie pop feel that works fine with the rather upbeat mood that’s consistent throughtout the whole album, Glover achieves a certain level of greatness that has been underrated and unfairly associated with the terms “sufficent” and “safe.” I for one thought of it as excellence, and although each of the ten tracks consists of a recurring beat and synth path, they each have a singular personality about them, with an incredibly rich and catchy single such as “Calling Out” for the win:

“Calling Out” definitly ranks high in my audio diaries as one of the hottest summer hits, with “Run It Up” coming second if narrowing it to this album, and “Caught In A Daze” not far behind.

The song where I thought his voice really got the chance to stand out as funky and refreshing was “Show Me The Way.”

Being a musician myself, and one who happens to know a thing or two about producing electro synth pop music that is, I tend not to look for “political” mastering mistakes or dig for what isn’t spot on, such as mere technical parameters that the audience will not notice nor care about.  Inspiration and melodies come as they come and you record what felt right from the start, because more often than never, it is what caught your attention in the first place that’s worthy of it, in the long run. You’re therefore unlikely to go wrong if you stay true to your gut. Sometimes, all it takes is a good beat and a nice feel, the random occurrence of a cool texture, to create a prolific symbiosis of sounds that work perfectly well together. As I do have the pretentiousness of thinking I know how to recognize one when I hear it, I now claim to with Lost In New York. If you still need convincing, you can always have a listen for yourself, for ears don’t lie!

Penguin Prison will be playing LIVE at the Ile Soniq Festival in Montreal at Parc Jean-Drapeau on August 14. The festival continues August 14-16.