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on 29 March 2013
I've just finished watching and listening to Ritenour's "Overtime" blu ray (for the 50th time I guess) and watching Orchestrion blu ray after makes me want to write a review. Even though Pat is my favourite musician ever I can't but notice that the older he gets the crazier he is. I mean after great and warm feeling watching Lee, Dave and guys (and girls) performance (relaxed, enjoyable) when watching this piece of robot musicians Pat seems like a mad scientist that nobody understands. Like he's trying to prove something to himself! I mean Lee is enjoying music. He enjoys interacting with fellow musicians and enjoys making music, no matter if it is and old piece from an vintage album or a newer one. I know it is not true but seems like Pat stopped having fun making music. He's having fun with means of making music.
I miss days of Travels, White Album, Witchita, Still Life... Don't get me wrong, I like Orchestrion but as some reviewer wrote - what's the point of this!!! To prove that machines can replace men? To prove that nobody plays with him better than him? I don't know... He has became too much of an elitist and too little of a musician with heart! I gave this Blu ray 4 stars because it's Metheny and because generally tunes are fine, but that's is the road to someplace else other than what we liked about him. Oh yeah, and now he's going to release an album TAP! Great (not)!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 March 2013
I had read about this project and didn't think much of it, but having actually seen and heard this Blu Ray - it is certainly much more interesting than it sounded on paper. Pat Metheny is well-respected as a Jazz player and for his boundary crossing live band - so it seemed strange to think of him getting into the area of electronic, "sequenced" music.

However this project is different in that while all the instruments are triggered electronically, using things like Midi and the Yamaha Disklavier - the actual sounds are all acoustically produced and are not electronic in nature. It's only when you see how each note on the Marimba has its own individual mallet, triggered automatically - that you realise what is going on.

It's also interesting to see how Metheny can trigger things live and actually improvise compositions, that build up in complexity. He can play any instrument from his guitar, through a complex set of switches - so he can play any drum, percussion instrument, bass, bottle organ etc etc.

This gives him a vast array of possible sounds - but not unlimited - so there is a sense of cohesion to this "virtual" ensemble. The tuned percussion tends to dominate in a kind of music that has echoes of minimalism, but with guitar solos.

Metheny teases us - as the first tune is very simple and hints at what people might expect. He sticks to one, untreated guitar and a single cymbal, with a section of looping which allows him to play a solo over the top. All very under-stated. If you just watch this first track, then you will be severely disappointed! After this, though - we are stright into the full "Orchestrion Suite" and the contrast is vast. Instruments come from all around and make complex textures and structures.

This music is made for surround sound and while in concert Metheny set up a wall of instruments behind him - here he has them all around him and the Dolby True HD surround sound on this Blu Ray really comes into its own and you hear them coming from everywhere. The picture quality is excellent and the 3D picture helps you see all that is going on. In concert, as Metheny mentions, it was difficult for people to see what was actually going on - but here you can actually see the way the drums and percussion are being played and even see the frets move on the bass guitar.

There are some unusual instruments that creat unique sounds - like the GuitarBots - which also provide visual interest in the way they work. There are also tuned bottles which create their own unique sound. Instruments are lit up when they play, making it easier to follow what is going on and so this is much more visually interesting than you would expect from a solo concert.

The 3D Blu Ray is a good package as you get all of the original CD, plus bonus tracks and several documentary features. 173 minutes in all. However, unlike most bonus features - the "making of" films here are as interesting as the main feature. Having seen the performance - you really want to know what made Metheny do this and more pressingly - how on earth did he do it?

All questions are answered about the technical issues, although I still don't know how Metheny manages to do all this live - the magic of the virtuoso maybe still needs some mystery? This is a fascinating new direction for Metheny and as he says in interviews - in the 21st century and the age of technology - why aren't more people doing this kind of thing? I think the answer is that most people don't have so much music in them as Metheny and need others to spark ideas and contribute creatively.

Whether you like this music or not and it can get 'samey', you have to admire the skill and effort that had gone into this and it is well worth seeing/hearing.
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on 11 March 2013
This Blu-ray is just great for Pat Metheny fans as it answers all the questions for anyone who bought "Orchestrion". It's maybe a bit expensive but there are times you pay your money.
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on 3 October 2012
Stunning! State of the art BD. Special contents are beautiful just like the concert. Pat is for me the Number One.
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on 7 February 2013
After a while the visuals become very repetitious. I think with this music the camera angles changes too quickly - I wanted more time to watch the mechanisms of some instruments.
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on 21 October 2013
Delivery on time, packaging excellent. DVD absolutely amazing
Brilliant guitarist and instrumentalist. Would be enjoyed by all lovers of music, not just Jazz.
Reminds me of the Animusic DVD,s.
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on 1 September 2014
very good music dvd
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on 2 December 2012
Its truly an amazing project. The work and the cost must have been immense.
However, its a bit of a rich and famous man's folly. With eyes open its an amazing piece of engineering but leaves you wondering "what is the point musically?" Shut your eyes and it sounds like a Metheny band but the music does not really grab you. Its really clever, but after a few minutes, I just could not see the point. With an unknown musician it might have proved fascinating to watch, in small doses; the instruments are truly fascinating but with a favourite like Pat, given the choice, I'd prefer a proper band. Just could not watch for more than a few minutes at a time. Musically, three stars is generous
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