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Pat Metheny - Zero Tolerance for Silence CD (album) cover

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR SILENCE

Pat Metheny

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

1.68 | 26 ratings

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Gerinski
Prog Reviewer
1 stars One of those few cases where you regret that PA rating system does not allow zero stars. Some hardcore avant-garde fans might say that this is sonic art (the CD came with an endorsing sticker quoting Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore saying "(?) a new milestone in electric guitar music (?) a challenge to the challengers"). Sorry, to me it's just noise.

Having enjoyed much of Metheny's output to that date I purchased this album without any reference when it came out, and after one or two bewildered listens it has remained gathering dust in its shelf for 18 years. I listened to it twice again before writing this review and my opinion has not changed.

A theory is that Metheny had to make one more album to complete his contract with Geffen and he delivered this as a way of saying "scr*w you". Personally I find it unlikely that Geffen would be so na´ve as to release it unless they also wanted to stop their bond to Metheny quickly at any cost. Metheny of course denied it and argued that this was the music he felt like doing, in his words "that record speaks for itself in its own musical terms. To me, it is a 2-D view of a world in which I am usually functioning in a more 3-D way". Whatever that might mean?

What we have is an album recorded only with guitar, 98% electric with heavily distorted or at least crunch sound and only some acoustic guitar on the last "Part 5". We could say it's just continuous noise improvisation, the only fact that prevents me from making such a statement is that for the most part the guitar is overdubbed in the 2 channels and the fact that both channels have a more or less synchronized and more or less "harmonic" (take the expression with caution since a lot of it is dissonant) coordination confirms that he had some kind of a score. I can appreciate that it's not just wild pointless improvisation but a deliberate recording.

Some segments are bearable and can remind of Robert Fripp's most experimental music (particularly in "Part 3") or even Brian May's famous delayed solos (in "Part 2"), and "Part 5" with some acoustic guitar can sound a bit more melodical, but in general it's extremely hard for me to stand this album from beginning to end.

Not even for Metheny completionists, only for extremely hardcore avant fans.

Gerinski | 1/5 |

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