In a recent Mixmag cover feature, Peggy Gou declared: “I don’t consider myself just a DJ; I want to be an artist who can do everything, if I can.” While there’s nothing arrogant about that statement, there’s an unwavering confidence about new EP Once that results in a powerful statement of intent and yet another towering achievement in an eighteen month period of many.
A gruelling global touring schedule has seen her fulfil a vow to be the first Korean to play Berghain, while slots alongside the likes of The Black Madonna and Jackmaster have cemented her reputation as an inspired selector, perhaps partly down to her early experiences of raving in London and Berlin and thus yearning to forge a powerful connection with every crowd she encounters.
If her live sets are known to be ambitious and expansive without alienating the listener, Gou’s recorded output has followed a similar path: 2016’s Seek For Maktoop offered three relentless, sublime cuts while Art Of War II was syrupy and acid-tinged, yet both had sights set firmly on crowded dance floors. Once is no doubt primed for much of the same, this collection of songs are quite striking in their simplicity, but the bubbling synth lines and hypnotic grooves feel fiercely unique in execution.
All three tracks crackle with vibrancy and purpose, armed with straight-for-the-throat danceability, although it’s Peggy’s vocals, heard for the first time in both Korean and English, that lend ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ and ‘Han Jan’ a mesmeric quality, the latter’s choral refrain of “you gotta do it right, enjoy your night” functioning as an easygoing order and a nod to 90’s electro. Even ‘Hundres Times’, initially resembling something pretty straightforward, evolves into an offbeat, wonky delight.
With work on a debut album already underway, fine releases such as Once will do little to dampen expectations. It is, however, nothing short of euphoric to witness Peggy Gou’s reinforcement of her position as one of the dancefloor’s greatest interpreters in 2018 and beyond.
Buy: Peggy Gou – Once
Live: Oval Space – 11th March