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Pat Metheny - Orchestrion


Billster

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This is upcoming: Read all about it

 

The Orchestrion Project is a leap into new territory. This project represents a recently developed conceptual direction for me that involves the merging of an idea from the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries with the technologies of today to create an open-ended platform for musical invention and performance.

 

"Orchestrionics" is the term that I am using to describe a new performance method to present music alone onstage using acoustic and acoustoelectric musical instruments that are mechanically controlled using the power of modern technology.

 

[video:youtube]

 

WOOOAAAHH! :rawk::thu:

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Visually very intriguing & way over the top as far as a touring event. Aurally no different than playing to a pre-recorded backing track, i.e. it's a one way interaction, with the soloist unable to affect the groove of the "band". But still should be interesting for a while, until the novelty wears thin.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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I am reminded of all those animated things with the weird robotic instruments. I think Scott's right, it's pretty much an overcomplicated karaoke setup. But, the musician who's playing over it might get inventive...

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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Aurally no different than playing to a pre-recorded backing track

 

Well, there is a difference in that the instruments are all present in the acoustic space where the music is being played. A recording of a piano being played back through a sound system is very different from a piano being played in a nice theater with a good acoustics.

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LOVE the bottle organ! Too cool. :cool:

 

Some of the percussion, like the conga/djembe/whatever, lacks that personal touch- literally- imparted by human hands and their respective dynamics and timbre. But there's so much else going on that it doesn't exactly stick out like a sore thumb- ehr, actuator...

 

Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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think he is having some people problems with the various people in all his groups/trios/etc....... :whistle:

 

Hmn, could be... If so, that's a Hell of a way to get ones point across to ones band-mates! :D

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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think he is having some people problems with the various people in all his groups/trios/etc....... :whistle:

 

I don't think so. Pat has always been project oriented. He does one type of thing with Lyle Mays, and other stuff with his trio gigs. This is just another addition to the repertoire. The outline on his website promises new PMG music after this tour, and the last Group album, The Way Up was a masterpiece.

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Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

think he is having some people problems with the various people in all his groups/trios/etc....... :whistle:

 

I don't think so. Pat has always been project oriented. He does one type of thing with Lyle Mays, and other stuff with his trio gigs. This is just another addition to the repertoire. The outline on his website promises new PMG music after this tour, and the last Group album, The Way Up was a masterpiece.

 

That makes sense and seems to ring true, good call.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Pat appears to have a new guitar in the video. Looks like a thinline version of the Ibanez PM double cutaway archtops.

 

Would love to have heard the conversation he had with the road crew about touring with all this (which he's about to do): "Um, Pat...you're going to cart around what?!?" Imagine the cost of the custom road cases.

 

I give him an immense amount of credit for jumping from project to project, as Billster noted. In just the past 10 years or so:

- A Map of the World movie soundtrack

- the trio albums w/Bill Stewart and Larry Grenadier

- Speaking of Now w/PMG (inc. Richard Bona and Cuong Vu)

- an album with Polish singer Anna Marie Jopek

- the solo baritone album One Quiet Night

- The Way Up w/PMG

- the 2 albums with Brad Mehldau's trio

- the trio w/Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez

- the Orchestrion project

There's no creative moss growing under his feet.

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How is this different from just using MIDI...other than the mechanical aspect ?

 

The instruments are acoustic and occurring in the same space as Pat. Synths, for all their powers are not acoustic instruments, and the interaction of acoustic sounds within a concert hall or recording studio space are different from those of electrically amplified/modified sounds.

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How is this different from just using MIDI...other than the mechanical aspect ?

 

The instruments are acoustic and occurring in the same space as Pat. Synths, for all their powers are not acoustic instruments, and the interaction of acoustic sounds within a concert hall or recording studio space are different from those of electrically amplified/modified sounds.

 

But is this using MIDI to control those mechanical, acoustic instruments?

 

And, if not, how is it different?

 

Is all of that pre-programmed, or is some of it triggered or otherwise controlled by or following the guitarist in real-time?

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I think you're missing the point. If you read Pat's comments on his website, the big aspect from his point of view (he puts it in bold text) is that the sound of the instruments is happening in the air - not pumped into a single amplification system.

 

Believe me, attending a concert with zero amplification in a beautiful acoustic space is a real revelation. We're so used to amplified music that we forget what dynamics really are.

 

I don't know or really care if the instruments are programmed, triggered, or some combination. The real point is that the instruments are present in the same acoustic space, not amplified, re-sampled, re-processed.

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I think you're missing the point. If you read Pat's comments on his website, the big aspect from his point of view (he puts it in bold text) is that the sound of the instruments is happening in the air - not pumped into a single amplification system.

 

Believe me, attending a concert with zero amplification in a beautiful acoustic space is a real revelation. We're so used to amplified music that we forget what dynamics really are.

 

I don't know or really care if the instruments are programmed, triggered, or some combination. The real point is that the instruments are present in the same acoustic space, not amplified, re-sampled, re-processed.

 

No, no point missed there, I get that and understand and appreciate that and agree with you and Mr. Metheny! :D:thu::cool: (Although that's obviously still the secondary aspect here, or he would simply have humans playing all of those instruments; this mechanically actuated, automated "Orchestrion" concept is "The Big Aspect".) I'm just curious about the things I asked about, and wondered if anyone knew more about it than I could gather from the article.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I think you're missing the point. If you read Pat's comments on his website, the big aspect from his point of view (he puts it in bold text) is that the sound of the instruments is happening in the air - not pumped into a single amplification system.

 

Believe me, attending a concert with zero amplification in a beautiful acoustic space is a real revelation. We're so used to amplified music that we forget what dynamics really are.

 

I don't know or really care if the instruments are programmed, triggered, or some combination. The real point is that the instruments are present in the same acoustic space, not amplified, re-sampled, re-processed.

 

No, no point missed there, I get that and understand and appreciate that and agree with you and Mr. Metheny! :D:thu::cool: (Although that's obviously still the secondary aspect here, or he would simply have humans playing all of those instruments; this mechanically actuated, automated "Orchestrion" concept is "The Big Aspect".) I'm just curious about the things I asked about, and wondered if anyone knew more about it than I could gather from the article.

 

I'm with you Caevan. I agree with Bill's comments on the instruments appearing in the acoustic space as being important and a unique differentiation from other backing devices. However, I too am interested in how PM will interact with these instruments or if he just winds them up and lets them run through a preset function.

 

As for Metheny's restless muse, he's quite inspiring as follows his heart rather than trends etc. Anyone remember his "Zero Tolerence for Silence" noise fest?! Rad!

 

Guitar Speak Podcast

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Anyone remember his "Zero Tolerence for Silence" noise fest?! Rad!

Just when I thought I had completed many years of hard work to forget that...and you bring it up. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? :D

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Anyone remember his "Zero Tolerence for Silence" noise fest?! Rad!

Just when I thought I had completed many years of hard work to forget that...and you bring it up. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? :D

 

lol!

 

Do you mean

 

very sorry!!!! enjoy the orchestrion! or (somewhat of topic) PM's thoughts on

 

 

 

 

Guitar Speak Podcast

www.guitarspeakpodcast.libsyn.com

https://www.facebook.com/guitarspeakpodcast

www.itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/guitar-speak-podcast

 

 

 

 

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I watched that Kenny G link and I would agree with what he says, but if you don't know anyone that shares your taste how do you find what you want from jazz. I studied Jazz at school and I can't get into a lot of it. The classic stuff like Django and Wes doesn't really speak to me. I went to a jam session and heard some high school kids rippin on some standards and even the more advanced college kids I was with were impressed. Haven't been able to find anything that grooved like those kids did though...
We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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... but if you don't know anyone that shares your taste how do you find what you want from jazz. I studied Jazz at school and I can't get into a lot of it. The classic stuff like Django and Wes doesn't really speak to me.

 

Look for some more modern guys that cite those influences. The modern masters of jazz guitar are guys like Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Bill Frisell. All of them would probably cite a lot of the same influences, but none of them sound like anyone else. Then you can work forward to the next younger generation, guys like Kurt Rosenwinkel and so forth.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

Details, details

 

From reading that article, it would appear there are some foot controls that can be used in real time. I think there has to be some sort of sequencer type control for at least parts of it.

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Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

Details, details

 

From reading that article, it would appear there are some foot controls that can be used in real time. I think there has to be some sort of sequencer type control for at least parts of it.

 

Well, there's this, from that same article:

 

Soon the vibes are playing, the marimba, a bass guitar, a gang of vertical stringed machines called a robot guitar, all controlled by Metheny, all responding to electric signals hes sending out from his Ibanez.

__________________________________________________________________

 

All of the music on the new album, and in the concerts to come, are real time and made essentially by acoustical instruments.

 

Its something thats hard to explain. Its not samples. Its a big living, breathing thing.

 

Every sound is made by me

 

Every sound there is made by me, he says, and is fundamental to the way I hear things.

 

Boy, I'd love to catch a show of this Orchestrion tour...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

Details, details

 

From reading that article, it would appear there are some foot controls that can be used in real time. I think there has to be some sort of sequencer type control for at least parts of it.

 

Well, there's this, from that same article:

 

Soon the vibes are playing, the marimba, a bass guitar, a gang of vertical stringed machines called a robot guitar, all controlled by Metheny, all responding to electric signals hes sending out from his Ibanez.

__________________________________________________________________

 

All of the music on the new album, and in the concerts to come, are real time and made essentially by acoustical instruments.

 

Its something thats hard to explain. Its not samples. Its a big living, breathing thing.

 

Every sound is made by me

 

Every sound there is made by me, he says, and is fundamental to the way I hear things.

 

Boy, I'd love to catch a show of this Orchestrion tour...

 

 

aha! yes sounds awesome given the real time control from methany....

 

Guitar Speak Podcast

www.guitarspeakpodcast.libsyn.com

https://www.facebook.com/guitarspeakpodcast

www.itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/guitar-speak-podcast

 

 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...
Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

Ah, cleaning out my e-mail newsletters, I find this brief article from EQ:

 

Digital Performer is the champ of all MIDI platforms, Metheny states from New York. DP is the most musical and the most locked rhythmically, which is a huge thing for me. This project has very specific tech requirements, which are about the internal timing of how a platform works. DP was the first to do sample accurate MIDI. That figures heavily into this.

 

Triggering MIDI events from a guitar has been a challenging engineering problem for 30 years, Metheny explains. The key to that for me is a box made by TerraTec Electronics, the Axon AX 50 USB. Its the fastest and most accurate guitar-to- MIDI box ever. Yet, there is a certain latency that happens from the time the string is plucked to when [you hear the sound]. The Axon could trigger samples, but this goes a step further. Its triggering an actual instrument. How the instrument responds is another thing.

 

Different inventors do this in different ways, he continues.

 

Some use solenoids or pneumatics or air-based valves that are given an instruction to close or open at a very fast rate. LEMURs Eric Singer cracked this whole issue of MIDI to control voltage, which allowed the control voltage to respond dynamically. Thats a huge thing for me in this project. Once Eric had dynamics in the discussion, I knew I could pull the trigger for Orchestrion.

 

Metheny recorded Orchestrion at New Yorks MSR Studios North, Studio B, on a Euphonix System 5-MC console. But as most of the record was written and mapped out at Methenys apartment (where he squeezed all the instruments into one room), the sessions were more about documentation than creation.

 

It didnt matter which instrument was recorded first, he says. I went into MSR with the record basically done [in Digital Performer]. Essentially, we were acoustically treating it in the studio and recording to Pro Tools. We had to uncover the best audio result of what that is. We could have recorded guitar first, or bass drum first, or the whole thing first cause it didnt matter.

 

If youre a musician, you have to wonder how it feels to play with a band of robots. And if Metheny can do it, can you do it, too?

 

Its almost identical to what it feels like when you do an overdub, Metheny explains. Its me playing with something that Ive already played. So its like live overdubbing. And any kind of overdubbing environment is challenging.

 

People ask, Can I do this? he adds. Sure they can. Its just that this tapped into a bunch of real specific skill sets that Ive spent most of my life working on. Ive been dealing with knobs and wires from day one, Ive lived through the computer music connection deeply. And at the same time Ive done many records and many overdubs. To do this youd have to be able to do all those things. And you can. And it will sound different.

 

So I'm reading that as saying Pat recorded everything to MIDI using guitar as his instrument, and then output the MIDI to the control-voltage acoustic instruments.

 

You might say "what's the difference?", but the difference is in the sonics of live instruments.

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Now, is any of this controlled or influenced by his playing on the guitar, or by any other means in realtime, or is it all essentially a big honkin' sequencer/player-piano-roll kinda sorta thing that he plays along over?

 

Details, details

 

From reading that article, it would appear there are some foot controls that can be used in real time. I think there has to be some sort of sequencer type control for at least parts of it.

 

FWIW, though it seems tiresome to do, it might sometimes be worth quoting articles (such as that linked above) in full.

That one seems to've gone of the page at the site...although I suppose digging through their archive might get it.

 

Didn't the musician/inventor Eric Singer get some coverage in GP recently or was that elsewhere ?

 

Thanks for keeping this thread going, Bill.

d=halfnote
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