Guitarist Anthony Pirog
fearlessly pushes boundaries with his provocative debut album, Palo Colorado Dream
. Pirog's unabashed and inventive use of effects and loops, in combination with his dazzling knowledge of the various sounds his guitar is capable of creating, draws the listener into his own unique and expressive musical world. Palo Colorado Dream
is not for the faint of heart. Pirog can quickly move from a seductive and tranquil atmosphere of chime-like echoes to the sonic bombast of a finely tuned power trio, generating a multitude of contrasting soundscapes. It is surprising to learn that Pirog is supported solely by acoustic bassist Michael Formanek
and drummer Ches Smith
. Both Formanek and Smith provide a foundation for the youthful Pirog to create an unorthodox mix of guitar artistry that is not beholden to any rules or labels. Pirog maintains a keen jazz sensibility while flirting with an experimental mix of rock, progressive, and even metal-like riffs. Despite the dizzying array of musical styles and guitar 'flash,' as well as ever-changing time signatures, Pirog and his trio confidently reign the music in just as it appears that any given track is about to spin out of control.
Pirog opens with the title track, an ethereal mix of calming loops and echoes that deceptively lulls the listener into a trance-like state before kicking into high gear with "The Great Northern." Here, Pirog dazzles with a mix of jazz and rock, and the discriminating ear can pick up a bit of a Bill Frisell
influence as Pirog and his rhythm section interact flawlessly, shifting the mood and rhythm of the song to fit his stunning and sometimes startling prowess on the fretboard. In "Song In 5," Formanek and Smith utilize a variety of time-signatures while Pirog meets the challenge with a captivating use of engaging chord progressions and leads reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth
"The New Electric" begins as a contemplative, moody and introspective piece, allowing Formanek room to improvise with melodic exploration of the lower register. The piece than moves into an almost goth-like crashing crescendo, keeping the same rhythmic theme while Pirog cathartically provides layer upon layer of guitar pyrotechnics. In stark contrast, he plays classical guitar on the beautiful and reflective "I'm Not Coming Home," while Chez Smith show his percussive chops on the rhythm-centric "Motian." Pirog then takes the listener on an experimental electronic odyssey in "Heads," and closes out the album by channeling John McLaughlin
with the blistering "Vicious Crickets." Palo Colorado Dream
establishes Anthony Pirog as a guitarist's guitarist, and leaves us with a resounding and satisfying glimpse into his eclectic musical vision.
Palo Colorado Dream; The Great Northern; Minimalist; Song In 5;
Threshold; The New Electric; Goodnight Geen; I'm Not Coming Home;
Motian; Heads; Vicious Cricket.
Anthony Pirog: guitar and electronics; Michael Formanek: acoustic bass;
Ches Smith: drums and electronics