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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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...
The orchestrion sounds uncannily like a group of musicians (that is how convincing this new invention is) It does sound somewhat different to Pat's varying ensembles but there are complex interactions going on on the macro scale as well as the micro scale of the music.
In a sense this is a kind of follow up to the old album 'new Chautauqua' On that album pat tried to use the studio as an instrument with overdubbed guitars etc to build up the songs. On that album probably due to the technology available and restricted studio time he came away with a very listenable album whose sparseness was highly appealing. On Orchestrion he is afforded a broader, richer pallette to work from and 20 odd years more musical experience.
The Orchestrion is a machine which has been humanised (or gives the illusion of such) It is a very tight but flexible sounding 'ensemble'all under the control of Mr Metheny.
I felt a little underwhelmed on first listen but several plays later this album really begins to grow in the memory. There are a lot of very complex things going on in this music, structurally, rhythmically and melodically & Pat plays some wonderful melodic solos over all of this.Read more ›
In a time when so many artists use digital instruments and techniques, this childlike fantasy-turned-reality creates an incredible warmth, poetry, and nostalgia. The scale at first seemed overwhelming, and then as the evening went on it evolved into something completely intimate and homegrown. There is a spectacular, very American touch of mid-western surrealism in the whole project. It's a creativity that comes from a familiar interior place, and is illuminating. I greatly look forward to the future this direction may lead. What heart!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Typical Metheny but with a much richer palette - almost too rich to appreciate without listening closely. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Samuel Rothchild
He actually has a orchestrion and he plays all the instruments.Published 13 months ago by Tranina M. Glover
Years ago, Pat Metheny got is start with the University of Miami Jazz Band. It was at one of those Jazz performances at the U of M, that I had a chance to see Pat play and WOW what... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dwight Williams
I own everything pat writes,his ability and commitment to music is spectacular,Pat will go down as one of the best ever.Published on August 27, 2013 by Flying45joerg
I was impressed with pat methenys creation to make one musician sound like a whole orchestra but unfortunately the music is not exciting and its also repetitious he tried... Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Carmine J. Ciserano
Have enjoyed listening to Pat Metheny for years, but have found some of his albums hit or miss; but this one found its mark with me. Melodic, fun and peaceful.Published on January 30, 2013 by Eric G. Moden
Pat does it again! For all you Metheny fans this is another great recording in his exensive volume of work. A definate buy for the money. Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by Rat
Pat Metheny never stops to amaze me. This is a unique artist always going beyond any preconception of how music has to be made.Published on November 11, 2012 by John Medher
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I agree with you Hee, this should be a pretty interesting album, been a fan for about 20 years, I was a teenager (14) when I first heard Last Train Home, been a fan since, Can't wait!!!!
Dec 3, 2009 by Shawn S. | See all 2 posts
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