Penguin Cafe, the chamber prog group, have released a new single titled Second Variety in celebration of Piano Day, which takes place annually on March 29. The single, released through the label Erased Tapes, features piano as its core instrument, accompanied by elements such as melodica, glockenspiel, electronics and pedal steel guitar. The track was created during the band’s time in Italy, where they spent a considerable amount of time over the last few years. The sense of repeating days and the feeling of time slipping through one’s hands inspired the composition, according to the band’s leader Arthur Jeffes. He was joined by Alessandro Stefana, a musical friend from further North, who brought in lap steel and pedals.
Jeffes explained, “He brought lots of pedals and a lap steel, and we just tried things out. I ended up with a fairly sparse mix, as it captures the feeling of those days most clearly.”
Second Variety marks the first new music from Penguin Cafe since the reissue of their debut album, A Matter of Life… 2021, on its 10th anniversary. The band’s critically acclaimed 2019 album Handfuls Of Night, was inspired by Jeffes’ expedition where he re-created famous explorer Scott’s last Antarctic trip in 1911.
The single’s release in honor of Piano Day is fitting, as the annual event celebrates the piano as a musical instrument and its creators, featuring performances, exhibitions and other musical events around the world. As part of the celebrations, Erased Tapes has released exclusive content, including other singles from their roster of artists. Second Variety’s sparse mix, combined with the band’s signature blend of classical and electronic music, makes for an atmospheric track that transports listeners to the sense of passing time and introspection that inspired its creation.