Location Location Location: Damaged Goods

Anthony Pirog, Michael Formanek and Mike Pride blend free improv, funk and prog, often recalling Terje Rypdal with Vitous and DeJohnette


Derek Bailey used to say of his Company Week that the joy of performing with a group of people for the first time outweighed any pleasure in listening back to the recordings. With Damaged Goods, Covid-lockdown super trio Location Location Location flip that premise on its head. It was recorded and stitched together remotely, and at the time of its release the three were yet to meet together in the same room.

Bassist Michael Formanek has been at jazz’s cutting edge since the early 90s, and hearing him here on electric bass is quite a revelation. Anthony Pirog, meanwhile, is a mainstay of the Washington DC experimental scene and a dab hand and with loops and effects, while drummer Mike Pride, a denizen of the New York avant-garde, is equally at home with avant-rock, free jazz and improvised music.

In the atmospheric opener Branch, Breezy – a tribute to the late Jaimie Branch – there are echoes of the classic ECM trio of Rypdal, Vitous and DeJohnette before the trio lurch towards towards the New York avant-garde, Pirog’s scrabbling guitar recalling Sharrock and Muñoz. Rypdal’s stamp is all over the sweeping melodies of Formanek’s Verdigris too, while the laid-back spacey funk of Pirog’s Trap Door takes an altogether spacier turn.

Pride’s 79 Beatdowns runs the gamut from violent free improvisation to tight passages of mind-boggling metric complexity, while Pirog’s Apperception casts a 12-tone scale in proggy landscape. A Sound That Shapes A Thing That Thinks is another nod to Rypdal, and the closing Crisis Of Attention is pure molten lava, an ecstatic end to this truly remarkable sonic bricolage.

I’d love to hear what the three could do if they found themselves together in the same room, and on the strength of Damaged Goods that is surely the next logical step.

Branch, Breezy; Verdigris; Trap Door; Ground Zero; Drips; 79 Beatdowns; Apperception; A Sound That Shapes A Thing That Thinks; Damaged Goods; Crisis Of Attention (49.05)
Anthony Pirog (elg, syn); Michael Formanek (b, elb, elg); Mike Pride (d, pc). Various locations, no date.
Cuneiform Records Rune 518