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Pirog,Anthony: In Side

In Side by Anthony Pirog is one of two inaugural releases on the AGS (Alternative Guitar Summit) Recordings label. It’s always enjoyable when I come across an album like this one and I’ll tell you why. First, I like the fact that the music offered here is minimalist in nature and primarily centered around Anthony’s expressive, colourful and meditative guitar work. He also has just the right amount of synth and loops to help flesh out these introspective pieces of music. Secondly, I am often also drawn to music that doesn’t always fit into conventional boxes so to speak, something Pirog has had a penchant for doing as his diverse and vast back catalogue of work has seen him explore many different styles and musical genres.

The music featured on this album was created during a highly creative period for Anthony which saw him release 5 albums in 2020. Forced to exist in his music room with nothing to do during the pandemic but create also allowed him to revisit some unfinished compositions. This feeling of isolation probably explains the tranquil and contemplative mood that emanates throughout these sixteen tracks. What is quite impressive is how it all comes to together nicely and flows seamlessly like one big sonic collage. All the songs exist on their own as separate entities, yet still feel part of the collective whole. Highlights here include the opening track “Cloud Forest”, “The Shape of Rain”, with its electronic percussive textures that seem to simulate drops of rain, and the pensive “Song for Ava”, which was written for his niece who was born during the pandemic. One of the oldest tracks “Janel”, written for his wife nearly twenty years ago, has such a wistful and catchy melody that you are certain you have heard it somewhere before, which in my opinion is always the hallmark of a great composition. I also like his choice of cover songs as he offers up a unique take on the country themed “Strange” originally done by Patsy Cline, along with an abbreviated version of Horace Silver’s “Peace”, both of which are songs that have long been in his live repertoire but have gone unrecorded until now.

Although most of these compositions are short and the album itself clocks in just over thirty minutes, that doesn’t mean it should be played just as background music. The irony here is that on one hand he has created a batch of individual compositions that all too often feel like they’re just short snippets of maybe something bigger. It could even be perceived as being catered to people with short attention spans. That being said, the music on In Side is so engaging that it demands that you don’t just hear it, but that you actually spend time and listen to it. Even after repeated listens I was still able to find something new.

Track Listing
1) Cloud Forest (2:12)
2) Dew Drop (2:52)
3) Mood Current (1:07)
4) Janel (3:52)
5) Bit Clock (1:58)
6) Strange (4:08)
7) Castro Canyon (1:09)
8) Mirrors and Mirrors (0:37)
9) Song For Ava (2:43)
10) Desire Waltz (1:52)
11) Emerald Gaze (3:54)
12) Catania Piece (1:09)
13) Twin Dilemma (2:10)
14) Peace (1:03)
15) The Shape of Rain (2:26)
16) Anniversary Theme (1:10)

Added: May 21st 2021
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: AGS Recordings Bandcamp
Hits: 490
Language: english

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