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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny Group: Offramp CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This is my first exposure to Pat Matheny. When I first heard it back in 92-93, it sounded completely different from anything I heard before. the synthesized sound of guitars, the 'vocal lead', jazz drumming and off-beat rythm left me awestruck. Then over the years I came across other Pat Mathenies and found that while his style is unique, he is a slave of his style; which is not necessarily a bad thing-- if you can accept predictibility. Anyway, Offramp is a nice album that ends with a brilliantly rythmic piece. Its a good collection.
Report this review (#75115)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record has very varied jazzy songs. Lyle Mays' keyboards are often floating and relaxing. "Au lait" is a relax jazzy track made of piano, acoustic guitars and soft drums, perfect for a cabaret ambience. "Offramp" is a fast free jazz experimentation track with the unusual guitar synthesizer (highly pitched saxophone-like) which can be found on the song "Barcarole". "James" is a more conventional rhythmic urban jazz track, like Metheny use to compose. "The bat part 2" is a wonderful & very floating keyboards oriented piece: Lyle Mays masters well his instruments here. It is clear that Metheny wanted here to experiment the guitar synthesizer.
Report this review (#75133)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Pat Metheny had already come a long way in 1981 when he released 'Offramp', he had worked as a guitar teacher, had played with Gary Burton, released his first solo record in 1975 and had formed in 1978 the Pat Metheny Group . So in 1980 he took a little break from 'Fusion' recorded a 'traditional' post-Bob record and made a trip to Brazil where he played with local musicians, a trip that would show his influences on 'Offramp'. And Metheny did some shopping too and came back home with a new toy : a synth guitar featured here for the first time. Back in the studio all these new influnces gave way to a new groundbreaking PMG record.

Now,the real novelty on 'Offramp' in comparison to the earlier PMG records is the rhythm work,influenced largely by Brazilian music (Percussionist and vocalist Nana Vasconcelos who had aleady played with Metheny is now a fulltime member)and multiple percussion layers close to minimalisme. Soundwise the novelty is the large use of the synth guitar to a point that it's sometimes hard to tell the solos from Lyle Mays and Metheny apart.

The record opens with 'Barcarole' a short composition that announces the more 'aggressive' side of the new PMG sound with a pumping bass line, crash cymbals and the howling synthguitar.

The next track 'Are You Going With Me?' would become one of the trademark compositions of the PMG , a medium tempo repetitive multi-layerd rhythm track serves a s a base for a series of solos by Metheny on synth guitar and Lyle Mays on synth, that go climaxing sounding like wounded animals short before getting slaughtered.

'Au lait' a ballad with Brazilien vocal effects by Nana Vasconcelos and a 'normal' guitar solo by Metheny and and piano solo by Lyle Mays, followed by 'Eighteen' an uptempo track with multiple percussion layers and after a first theme a beautiful counterpoint theme on an electric 12 string and some organ work by Lyle Mays.

The title track presents a free improvisation for drums, bass and synthguitar and a short bass solo, announcing things to come.

After the storm the calm returns for 'James' the only 'country' influenced song that reminds the earlier PMG records including a nice guitar and piano solo.The record ends with a short Brazilien piece that combines a slow synth pad with percussion layers, vocal effects and a synth guitar solo.

'Offramp' is a Fusion masterpiece and the blueprint for many PMG records to come.

Report this review (#76123)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of Metheny's greatest albums. This is both musically and emotionally inspiring. This jazz guitarist does not receive nearly as much appreciation as is due. The musicianship is phenomenal, but the greatest thing about this album is its power to compel. Truly an album to take you places. Softer songs (Au Lait) really move the listener, inspire imagination, and paint images. The quicker tunes (Offramp) really pump addrenaline. Both extremes are present. It is not altogether essential in a prog collection, but in a Jazz/Rock Fusion collection, it is absolutely necessary to own this album.
Report this review (#94748)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This Pat Metheny Group album is in my opinion a masterpiece, and heartly recommendable to the progarchives readers. There are two Pat Metheny solos guitar , i mean in the second track "Are you going with me" with the synth-guitar, and in the sixth "James" with the canonical semi-acoustic Gibson, absolutely magnificent; "Offramp" is a tune marking the vigourously emergence of his "Colemanian" harmolodic side, and in diametrical opposition as concerning the atmosphere, the "nuance", the third track entitled "Au lait", oh! how strange it seems to me its mixture! I feel of course the brazilian flavours (the voice and the percussion of Nana Vasconcelos are a true suadade messanger), but also something else that recallss me to a 1950's French noir-movie. The opening "Barcarole", "Eighteen", the final "The Bat, part 2" are worthy colours of the picture. Five stars.
Report this review (#152454)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though one of Pat and company's early highly-acclaimed albums, containing several much-beloved Metheny career highlight songs, this is an album that contained songs that did not connect with me--a couple that even repelled me. This has actually been the case with me over Pat's entire career: every album has scintillating moments of sheer brilliance while there are always others of abrasive and equally off-putting music. The new addition and use of his Roland G-300 guitar synthesizer provoked a lot of experimentation, some of it pretty demanding of the listener (as were their inspirators Ornette Coleman ["Offramp" (8/10)]), some combining styles explored on As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls with the Roland ("Bacarole" [8.75/10]). A lot of his songs and sound choices here still draw from earlier albums, like the New Chatauqua-like "James" (13.25/15), the sensitive and spacious, "The Bat, Part 2" (9/10) and the beautiful earlier drawing étude, "Au lait" (18.25/20) Luckily, the album contains a song whose sonic, emotional, and technical wizardry is of such a high caliber that it alone makes purchase and repeated returns to the album of almost essential importance, "Are You Going With Me?" (20/20).

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of Jazz Fusion and a significant contribution to the expansion and evolution of progressive rock music.

Report this review (#459538)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Updating the fusion sound for the 1980s, the Pat Metheny Group's Offramp benefits greatly from the crystal-clear production values which jazz fans have come to expect from anything hailing from the ECM stable. Brazilian rhythms intermingle with more art-pop influences - think Remain In Light-era Talking Heads gone jazz. (Or perhaps, for a more fusion-specific example, think of how Eno's Another Green World influenced the formation and early sound of Brand X, and then imagine that the Metheny Group had been similarly sonically influenced by My Life In the Bush of Ghosts.) Perhaps key to the sonic departure and development here is Metheny's adoption of a synth guitar, with his experiments with it here adding a new texture to the Group's sound and a new tool in the fusion toolbox.
Report this review (#1908663)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars With Mark Egan being away from the line up, Pat Metheny Group soldiers with their first 80's album. It has a more 80's synth sound as evidenced by the first track.

"Are you going with me" is a surprising depart from typical fluid fusion sound, having almost pop/rock rhythm, rock synths. "Au lait" is a light and subdued slightly Latin-based number led by piano and light guitar touches. "Eighteen" is the first track that is related to their previous output, energetic, good drumming, synths with slight country twist in the guitar sound. Synclavier is presented on the next track, "Offramp" with quite experimental rhythm and at first sight chaotic all-full- speed playing. Bass guitar is also very virtuosic. "James" is a trademark composition, light, lyrical with typical guitar playing by Metheny. Let's now omit great piano soloing by Mays. I think that this album has to offer than the previous three.

Report this review (#2434361)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2020 | Review Permalink

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