Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Location Location Location — Damaged Goods
(Cuneiform Rune 518, 2023, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2023-09-28
Location Location Location is a jazzy guitar trio that, for me, hits a sweet spot balancing composition and improvisation on their debut, Damaged Goods. While Anthony Pirog’s guitar is far more mangled, both electronically and harmonically, than is common in jazz, the group’s music is clearly in the vein previously mined by groups led by Raoul Björkenheim, Terje Rypdal, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, and others. Pirog’s co-conspirators in this subversive endeavor are bassist Michael Formanek of Thumbscrew and drummer Mike Pride, whom we’ve encountered in The Spanish Donkey and Three-Layer Cake. Glancing at the credits, we see that all three contribute sounds beyond their primary instruments, with Pirog on guitar synthesizer, Formanek on electric bass (and some guitar too), and Pride on marimba, bongos, and “dub,” presumably referring to audio processing. In true 2020s fashion, the album was produced by the musicians recording their own parts and sharing audio files, a process that blossomed greatly in popularity during the pandemic lockdowns but has persisted — and albums like Damaged Goods show why. I don’t know how they managed to pull this off, but it’s an exceptional recording, and I don’t think any listener could possibly determine that it wasn’t recorded in a more traditional way without reading the liner notes. The tracks run the gamut from insanely distorted Ask the Ages intensity to atmospheric subtlety with many stops in between. Pirog’s work is naturally most up-front here, and it’s probably his most interesting work to date, throwing caution to the wind and pushing the boundaries of jazz (or any kind of) guitar. Damaged Goods may be damaged when it comes to instrument tones, but it is most certainly good.
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