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Orchestrion

Pat Metheny

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Since the mid-1970s, guitarist Pat Metheny has played in all kinds of groups: duos, trios, quartets, big bands, you name it. But 2010’s Orchestrion is unlike anything he’s ever done. After a casual listen, you probably wouldn’t know that this is a solo record; it sounds like the work of a medium-size ensemble. In fact, the guitarist is playing with a Metheny-programmed automaton orchestra that includes pianos, marimba, vibraphone, guitarbots, keyboard, percussion, and a variety of “custom-fabricated acoustic mechanical instruments.” The sounds can be triggered via guitar, keyboard, or computer. Amazingly, the music flows in human-like ways. There are occasional hints of the mechanistic —“Entry Point,” for instance, has stiff touches you might expect to hear from such a contraption. At various points, the plinking percussion brings to mind minimalist composers such as Steve Reich or Philip Glass. The self-titled opening track is representative of the whole: a lush arrangement provides a backdrop for Metheny’s fluid guitar. Orchestrion is an appealing, subtly strange album that isn’t quite like anything else.

Customer Reviews

Grow Up

If you are a Pat Metheny fan, you know he is also an experimental musician. So why are some people complaining again? Get over it. He can record what he wants. There is no law saying you have to buy his music.

Another Gem....

I've been listening to Pat Metheny since 1980 and have seen him live about 15 times or so. He's a musicain that never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps it's his pasion, enthusiasm, feeling and the soulful manner in which he plays time & time again. Truly an inspiration & a gift. Orchestrion is remarkable in that the music is created through the use of these everso real instruments. There's just something about the feel of this production that's so very different than using all sampled sounds to create the textures and rhythms. That Pat himself plays them through his guitar is a technological marvel. There's the distinct groove and style that's very present through all the tracks that exudes the essence of Metheny himself. I think this is where having real instruments create the music truly comes into play......creating that ambiance and spontaneity of a live performance. Stylistically, the music reminds me of his Group work of the late 80's and 90's. Which I really enjoy. I almost expect to look on the liner notes and see Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby and Paul Wertico listed as well. This really is a compliment to the Group itself for being in tune & in sync with one another. For me Orchestrion really hits home the fact that Pat Metheny is a marvelous composer and orhestrator.....weaving all the elements so intricately together. Here he is able to do it on his own, and for me it works really well. I look forward to seeing him perform live!

The Age of Orchestrion

The Orchestrion project reminds me of the days when I would spend countless hours with my Mentor (Who has long passed) learning Midi with a program called “Dr.T”; recording music on a Commodore-64 computer. It was an amazing time in my life. Imagine taking formal music training through childhood idolizing Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, then one day being introduced to music from an entirely different perspective; learning how every note, signature, & phrase in music is actually a number - we were composing music with numbers - Wow! We purchased the Roland TR-909 drum machine and couldn’t figure it all out. We called the Roland office in CA and got Marks Mothersbach on the phone. He explained it us, then it all made sense. That period was not about replacing the human experience; it was about expanding on it and touching it from the horizons. I understand Orchestrion and I can see where it is heading. Music is exciting again. Not just for the many lone music performers on the local streets, but for all of us who collaborate performances on the highest stages around the world. It’s about the collaboration of music parts in connection with the experiences of our lives.

Biography

Born: August 12, 1954 in Lee's Summit, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most original guitarists from the '80s onward (he is instantly recognizable), Pat Metheny is a chance-taking player who has gained great popularity but also taken some wild left turns. His records with the Pat Metheny Group are difficult to describe (folk-jazz? mood music?) but manage to be both accessible and original, stretching the boundaries of jazz...
Full Bio

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