333

Pat Metheny: Orchestrion

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Pat Metheny: Orchestrion In Pat Metheny's career, stylistic shifts and sudden breaks from the norm occur more often than not. Even though it is evident that he is rooted in jazz, his music encompasses so much more.

With the exception of few records, Metheny has been playing it pretty safe for some time now, sticking to his own personal vision of variations on the Americana/jazz theme. Pat Metheny Group's The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005) and his jazz trio's Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2008) are both excellent records on their own terms but they represent the Metheny vibe that most people know, and have surely heard several times already. What is noticeable is that they are devoid of the sort of musical risk-taking that characterized earlier records like Bright Size Life (ECM, 1976), New Chautauqua (ECM, 1979), Song X (Nonesuch, 1985), Zero Tolerance for Silence (Geffen, 1992), Imaginary Day (Warner Bros., 1997) and One Quiet Night (Nonesuch, 2003). After so much of a similar thing, it is just great to hear him being pushed in a new direction.

Orchestrion is a bold step ahead into uncharted oceans, redefining the concept of a solo record. For this record he introduces the Orchestrion, machinery designed to automatically play music by means of revolving cylinders, and it sounds like an orchestra. Orchestrions were built at the turn of the 20th century, reaching their climax in the 1920s. Metheny was fascinated by these machines from an early age, and obviously it stayed with him. The machine used here was designed by Metheny and built by a group of inventors and it includes a myriad of instruments such as pianos, bells, basses, marimbas, percussion, cymbals, drums, loads of tuned bottles, synths and fabricated acoustic instruments.

Metheny has never shied away from technology as, in his own words, whatever helps him produce a sound is his instrument. The amazing thing here is the guitarist's interaction with the Orchestrion; everything heard is triggered by Metheny's guitar. The music sounds perfectly natural, as if it was played by humans.

The defining characteristic of any given musician is often his sound. Metheny has always possessed a broad range of tones that have made him instantly identifiable, but what has changed with this record is the frame. The context of Orchestrion gives it a different overall feeling and Metheny really rises to the occasion. His five compositions are beautiful and elegant, never losing the guitarist's typical, lush lyricism. There is a sense of wonder throughout, each composition possessing an adventurous spirit of true exploration.

This is thoughtful, free-thinking music, and among the most ambitious experiments Metheny has ever done. Orchestrion is a beautifully structured record with a fascinating instrumental blend.


Track Listing: Orchestrion; Entry Point; Expansion; Soul Search; Spirit of the Air.

Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitar and orchestrionics (pianos, marimba, vibraphone, orchestra bells, basses, guitarbots, percussion, cymbals and drums, blown bottles, and other custom-fabricated acoustic mechanical instruments, keyboard).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Now And Then" CD/LP/Track Review Now And Then
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "Timeless Again" CD/LP/Track Review Timeless Again
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Mo' Puddin'" CD/LP/Track Review Mo' Puddin'
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "WANDERlust" CD/LP/Track Review WANDERlust
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!