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Pat Metheny - Orchestrion CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.75 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Based on a XIXth C instrument (or should we say a battery of instruments) the present album is the culmination of Metheny's fascination with this gizmo, and this solo album is a bit of his holy grail. Indeed, between pianos, marimbas, vibes, tuned percussions, guitars ad all kinds of self-made gizmos (including two bottle blowers), the principle is to have only one operator handling all of them at the same time in only one take. A rather impressive performance in itself, not totally devoid of technical interest, but if the music being performed is average, then the value of the experiment is almost pointless. And to be honest, besides the prowess of playing everything by Metheny himself on the album (I mean this is the truest meaning of a solo album, since he's the only one appearing in here), there isn't that much interest, because sonically-speaking Orchestrion doesn't sound any different than most of his other albums, beit the group or other solo ventures of his. In a way this kind of venture is more of an engineerial feat than an artistic one, because on has to actually build the whole gizmo, if not from scratch, at least in linking the instruments via a series of electrical relays to allow the solo operator to command all sonic tools concerned.

Ok, if you're a fan of Metheny's music, there isn't much doubt that you'll enjoy the present, since it's more or less the latest little brother in his overall oeuvre. But this writer hasn't really been a fan for quite a while, and the charm doesn't work much, if at all. Actually another small technical prowess is to develop the typical snoozy ECM sound on another label, and this is Nonesuch-ally achieved. Soooo, let's give it half a star for the pictures and explanations in the booklet (though they could've been better), but giving it more than an average three star would also be unfair, because the sonic contents are nowhere as groundbreaking as the technique it used. And most important, there are no hints of those horrible Synclaviers that were one of Pat's trademark for so many years? An honest release, but nothing that will revolutionize the jazz world, despite the impressive technology developed for it

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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