Orchestrion

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Pat Metheny's Orchestrion refers to a 19th century hybrid musical instrument of the same name that contained usually a wind orchestra, various percussion instruments, and sometimes a piano played by a pinned cylinder or a music roll -- like a player piano. Metheny designed and plays one here thanks to a commissioned group of inventors, advanced solenoid switch technology, and pneumatics. This invention includes pianos, marimbas, bells, basses, "guitarbots," percussion, cymbals, drums, loads of tuned bottles, and synth and fabricated acoustic instruments, played by Metheny triggering everything with his guitar. While it may have been simpler using a laptop with the latest ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Pat Metheny's Orchestrion refers to a 19th century hybrid musical instrument of the same name that contained usually a wind orchestra, various percussion instruments, and sometimes a piano played by a pinned cylinder or a music roll -- like a player piano. Metheny designed and plays one here thanks to a commissioned group of inventors, advanced solenoid switch technology, and pneumatics. This invention includes pianos, marimbas, bells, basses, "guitarbots," percussion, cymbals, drums, loads of tuned bottles, and synth and fabricated acoustic instruments, played by Metheny triggering everything with his guitar. While it may have been simpler using a laptop with the latest sampling and MIDI technology, he explains in the booklet that the "acoustoelectric" sound and the "human element" he sought would have been impossible to achieve. Here, his extensively written compositions are a complete engagement with his trademark harmonic and lyric investigations and improvisations. Despite mechanics, everything here sounds and feels organic. Drums and percussion instruments swing, basslines flow in concert with and counterpoint to his guitar and piano lines. These five cuts showcase different sides of Metheny's compositional acumen and poetic sense of detail without losing his euphoric, spacious sense of complex harmonic engagement or songlike melodic sensibilities. Does it work musically? Check the title track and "Expansion"; their knotty changes hint at Steve Reich's work for mallet instruments, but their deep, warm guitar grooves, intricate melodies, and Metheny's love of rhythmic invention set them worlds apart. These tunes flow seamlessly even though they are compositionally ambitious, even by Metheny's exacting standards. In places one can hear traces of Frank Zappa's playful compositions in the keyboards and percussion instruments, too, but Metheny's sense of swing is so pronounced it reflects pure modern jazz. "Entry Point" begins as a spacy ballad before evolving into a vehicle for rich solo guitar work and an engaging contrapuntal workout between mallet instruments, drums one side, and pianos and guitars on the other; the cymbals groove like mad throughout. "Spirit in the Air" closes the set. A bassline, cymbals, and hand percussion introduce it with a pulse; guitars and bells underscore it creating a foundation for its euphoric, songlike melody. It may be the most beautiful integration of this experiment's particular parts. As an album, Orchestrion is as ambitious as Secret Story and The Way Up, but it is no less brilliant. Here Metheny exceeds our expectations, and perhaps even his own.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/26/2010
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597984736
  • Catalog Number: 516668
  • Sales rank: 91,938

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Orchestrion (15:52)
  2. 2 Entry Point (10:28)
  3. 3 Expansion (8:37)
  4. 4 Soul Search (9:20)
  5. 5 Spirit of the Air (7:44)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Pat Metheny Primary Artist, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Cymbals, Drums, Keyboards, Marimbas, Bottle, Vibes, Orchestra Bells
Technical Credits
Pat Metheny Arranger, Composer, Producer, Liner Notes, Instrumentation
Joe Ferla Engineer
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Mark Wilder Mastering
Carolyn Chrzan Guitar Techician
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    OCHESTRION- Labor of Love & Music by Maestro Metheny

    I have been a faithful fan of Pat Metheny since his American Garage release in 1979. The overall fluidity of his arrangements always seem to be ever enticing, like Alice being lured down the rabbithole. I have enjoyed the majority of his works, & was thoroughly awed by his performance at Newport Jazz a few years back. So, it was with confidence that I ordered his latest, Orchestrion, & I was not disappointed.

    The title cut bounces off the ears like a fairy whispering secrets, & his guitar licks like a waving wand. Entry Point, the 2nd cut, quiets the mood with some Mehldau-like touches on the piano. He continues with Expansion, which is just that- using more of the instrumentation for a fuller sound. I was kind of brought back to the American Garage with some guitar licks.

    Soul Search slows it down again, ala Entry Point, with an almost duet feel. Spirit of the Air rounds out the release with some vintage Metheny licks, & feel. The undercurrent of rhythmic staccato, trademark PM, moves this CD to a wonderfully satisfying end.

    I had read a preview of the CD in Jazz Times magazine, which described the incredible amount of work Pat put into this project: Setup in an old Polish church in Brooklyn, Pat assembled a wide variety of bells, bottles, chimes, percussives, electronics, gizmos & of course some great strings. The CD package is excellent, with beautiful natural light photos, accented by several open shutter pics. A munificent release by a thoroughly magnificent artist. Come for the service, stay for the music!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Pat Metheny continues his life long musical journey on "Orchestrion"

    Pat continues in his solo musical quest in the challenging Orchestrion. His melodic & layered style shines through. A good get for Pat Metheny fans!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews