Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Grammy Award-winning composer-guitarist Pat Metheny s Orchestrion may turn out to be his most talked-about, argued-over undertaking. It s already his most adventurous. With Orchestrion, Metheny redefines the concept of the... more »
Grammy Award-winning composer-guitarist Pat Metheny s Orchestrion may turn out to be his most talked-about, argued-over undertaking. It s already his most adventurous. With Orchestrion, Metheny redefines the concept of the solo album. He is indeed the only live musician on this recording, but it s the opposite of, say, his 2003 One Quiet Night, in which Metheny hunkered down in his home studio to explore all the musical possibilities of one new guitar. Here he works with an extraordinary set-up of acoustic instruments, assembled for him by a visionary team of inventors. What they have created in collaboration with Metheny is a veritable made-to-order solenoid orchestra that includes, among other things, bass, pianos, percussion, marimbas, guitar-bots, and a mellifluous cabinet of carefully tuned bottles. Using one-of-a-kind software programs and solenoid switches, Metheny controls each instrument via his guitar and an array of pedals.
Orchestrion was influenced by the primitive but evocative player-piano technology of yesteryear that has fascinated Metheny since he was a child. The player piano inspired inventors of that age to create the orchestrion, a large mechanical multi-instrument device that imitated the sound of an orchestra. Metheny brings this concept into the 21st century, composing and playing five ambitious pieces with his tailor-made, sophisticated, musically dynamic ensemble. Orchestrionics is what Metheny calls this new method of performing. The resulting album, recorded in midtown Manhattan s MSR studio after months of experimentation at home, is a marvel of the digital era, yet the record sounds beautifully, stirringly, human. In other words, timeless.
To witness Metheny improvising on guitar while surrounded by these instruments, digitally triggered to play the scores that Metheny has painstakingly written for each of them, is indeed a wonder. Eager fans have already made sell-outs of the first dates of Metheny s Orchestrion tour. But hearing is truly believing: there is not a single note on Orchestrion that sounds mechanical, and some tracks, like Expansion, have a thrillingly improvisational feel to them.
Metheny has gone into uncharted territory: every day in the studio with these instruments was a revelation as he began to comprehend what they were capable of musically and, more importantly, what he himself could achieve in their presence. They were not a substitute for the interaction of other players and this does not signal a shift from Metheny s other collaborative ventures. In fact, Metheny most recently proved his love for ensemble playing with his 2008 tour-de-force trio release, Day Trip.
Orchestrion is all about innovation. As Metheny puts it, This experience so far has provided me with a self-imposed challenge that has proven to be enormously difficult and time-consuming, but the early results have been absolutely exhilarating. I am excited to share this project... I am hopeful and confident that if nothing else, this will be something truly unique. It feels like progress to me and has gotten some notes out of me that I didn't know were there. That is always a good thing.
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I'm giving Pat a 'Hall Pass' on this one...
F. M. Gauer III | Denver, CO | 01/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've got tickets for Pat's Orchestrion tour in May and I'm bringing my son who is 11 and just starting out his young percussion life. I can't wait to introduce him to one of the finer things in life: i.e. Pat Metheny's Music.
Do I wish he was touring with his band? Yes. Lyle Mays and rest of the crew. I would give anything for a chance to introduce my son to that very rare treat - live especially.
After listening to the Orchestrion CD for the first time, will this be worth it? I think so. I give Pat credit for trying something like this. What the heck: a multi-Grammy winner can step out a little bit I think. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it's definitely Pat, albeit 'mechanized mallet percussion Pat'. But it's okay. It's a project that's close to him and I can imagine the experience of seeing this setup live will be quite original and fun!
The CD is not going to shock and awe you. It's solid Pat Metheny - right on the money in terms of harmonics, improvisations, tonalities, and substance; he's attempting something different here in terms of instrumental backup. I'm giving Pat a 'Hall Pass' on this one. It's decent work!! Go for it Pat!!
There are many like me who slip a Pat Metheny CD into their player while driving to work (or wherever) and are instantly transported back to some of the finer times in their lives. I'm sure I share this sentiment with many, many other people. For this I can't thank Pat (Lyle and various other contributing artists) enough. Pat has laid the background track for many of our lives and it's been a good one. The vibrations have always been filled with inspiration, order, spirit, compassion, kindness, expression, and dare I say Loving Hope. And for the opportunity to let my son feel even a single bit of this, now through this Orchestrion effort, well so be it - I am thankful.
Thanks Pat for another chapter!!! Keep it going man!!!! You make me believe in things I can't see..."
Fascinating technique; forgettable music
Martin Bush | 03/18/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This fascinating approach to playing so many instruments could have resulted in a thing of great beauty and joy, but the resulting music is fairly forgettable. You can't run into a stronger long-time Pat Metheny fan, but one of the reasons for my admiration of Mr. Metheny is that he's so remarkably skilled in creating music with an outer structure of melody and rhythm that carries you through repeated listenings until you are better able to admire and enjoy the beauty and subtlety of the deeper complexity. That doesn't happen here. It's a bit too academic so there's no real motivation to listen again.
I believe Pat has chosen over the last several years to move into a more abstract phase of his long career; I think he's moved on from more melodic music for understandable artistic reasons and perhaps a bit of boredom. His newer music appeals more strongly to more elevated and intellectual listeners and high-brow critics, who will very likely admire this new release considerably. Which is good for him...
... but not so great for me.
CJC | 01/28/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just retrieved this work from the mailbox and am currently listening for the first time. One word...brilliant. Like many listeners, I've enjoyed Pat Metheny's genius and artistry since 1978. Is this work different?...yes, but not nearly as much as earlier offerings from Metheny. Orchestrion will not disappoint... just go get yourself a copy and enjoy another creative effort from this human gift. Support this artist while we have him!"