Its stick or twist for GoGo Penguin as they release this, their Blue Note debut and the first of a reputed three album deal. Do they push ahead, expanding their palette of electronica seen through the prism of acoustic jazz, or retreat a tad in deference to their new paymasters by emphasising the more traditional jazz elements of their sound. Should we be concerned that the two years since their breakthrough v2.0 album suggest a creative block or difficulty coping with the raised stakes? While they would hardly be the first act to lose their nerve on entering the major label big league, it is thankfully and emphatically not the case here as "Man Made Object" develops and builds on their early promise.
The Bad Plus are a much better listen live in concert than they are on their distorted studio recordings. Therefore, Blunt Object should be a defining discographical moment for the darlings of youth-oriented contemporary progressive jazz. What this eight-track collection offers is typical repertoire for the trio, including revamped versions of pop/rock songs, standards, the expected thrash drumming of Dave King, steady acoustic bassist Reid Anderson, and the inspired piano playing of Ethan Iverson. The group succeeds on all levels for this concert performed in Tokyo, Japan.