Those looking for Pat Metheny's trademark experimentation on Orchestrion should be forewarned, the experimentation isn’t compositional but technical.

Metheny is the sole human player on this disc, modernizing the concept of the orchestrion, a mechanism that produces sounds that imitate an orchestra by using solenoids and foot pedals to trigger the orchestrion's “instruments.”

However, instead of sounding mechanized, Metheny's orchestrion has warmth and precision, and each composition sounds as if humans played it. Tracks such as “Expansion" are delivered with a sexy bossa nova beat, while “Spirit of the Air” propels with a calming, repetitive rhythm, a gentle urgency.

With Orchestrion, Metheny has delivered an accessible CD while expanding musical horizons -- his own as well as his listeners. Though purists will complain that the group interaction brought on by breathing, thinking musicians is missing, seeing the orchestrion in a live show should make for an interesting concert experience.

  • Album title: Orchestrion (2010)
  • Artist: Pat Metheny
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Songs: (1) Orchestrion, (2) Entry Point, (3) Expansion, (4) Soul Search, (5) Spirit of the Air

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