Friday, June 21, 2024

Pat Metheny… in the dream box

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Pat Metheny… in the dream box

American electric jazz guitarist Pat Metheny has decades to look back. Twenty Grammy Awards, fifty records, a band named after him, and a life full of creative energy and passion. His guitar sound marked the jazz era in the eighties and nineties. While “fusion” is, for many writers and artists, limited to a term describing a style, Metheny took the name literally (meaning fusion), finding opportunities in it to open new paths and explore the depths of distant musical worlds.

Reflecting back on his latest album, Dream Box, released last month. He took the opportunity to find forgotten audio files containing recordings of his guitar solos, listen to them again, appreciate them, and use them as the starting point for a collection of tracks that bring back the past. We look forward to a future seen by a seasoned artist who has matured in human experience and is the leader of a fulfilling and satisfying life.

The reality is that the future revealed by the dream box doesn’t look very happy. The music has a dark poetic tone. Perhaps it is the sage’s desperation to find any meaning in life. God, except in a dream, or in flashes of memories of scenes and moments, the heart trembles and the eyelids moisten. Or is it a musical project in a present, troubled time, when the clouds of change are now obscuring the comfort of certainty from humanity?

Although Metheny recorded solo, the material is characterized by melodic and musical richness and greater expressiveness. And it goes back to the guitar. Its six strings and the technique of holding more than one string simultaneously with the five fingers of the hand, then striking them together with the fingernails of the five fingers of the other hand, allows the soloist to assign the role to himself. Both the lead melody player and the accompanying melody player, playing more than one guitar together, can sound simultaneously and deceptively easy. The album’s nine tracks are a prime example of this.

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On the Waves or Not the Ocean, a contemplative poetic jazz occasionally opens the album. The detailed, pleasing notes of a solo electric guitar echo themselves in the soft, acoustic guitar tone. Stretches of notes over time allow a melodic melodic thread to be woven, even if it’s a lyrical expression.

Second cut, from the mountains. Harmony Holder is concerned with the cacophony of reality following the harmony of two tones. A dark, deep melody emerges from it, played at a low level, reflecting introspection and inner reflection, perhaps evoking a past moment or recalling a memory buried deep in the conscience. If a guitar is still heard in the background, the general mood reflects being alone with oneself.

In Ole & Cord, a guitar plays as if two guitars are searching for each other in the darkness of silence. Until they meet, the sound flashes. In Al-Trak, one touches a more joyful tone, or perhaps it is lighter in sadness, explaining mysteries, even for a while. This allows for a broader scope for Metheny’s Golden Age improvisation of traditional nineties jazz style grafted with blues.

On Trust Your Angels, the guitar sounds so soft it almost whispers in the ear. The notes heal and coalesce like the instrument lulls a baby to sleep. The updrafts rush in and then dissipate, like waves forming on a watery surface. Metheny resorted to playing the flute using the flageolet technique, that is, when the finger strikes the string, a distant sound is created, thus opening up the pitch range of the flute.

On Never Was Love, the guitar takes a Latin beat that’s as soft as a mattress. Leaning on it, the solo section benefits from the dynamism of the percussive beat to make resonant improvisations, tying together the feel of both the solo and the accompanying choruses.

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I Fall in Love Too Easy, Metheny continues. In this area, there is a desperate search for a goal or result. The guitar is wrong, whether it’s an improvisation or a friend. Until Metheny takes hold of the first lyric, the melody flows with improvisational, chromatic trimmings in a mellow sound, that is, when the notes are close to the corner and close to the adaptation.

In Belgium’s PC, the acoustic guitar gives an introductory note, followed by a solo backup. Both are parallel in harmonizing the melody. Sometimes they separate, sometimes they merge. They can be separated by three commas, meaning a harmonic dimension measured by three tones, and times, separated by only two-tones, meaning two tones later.

Before closing, with Carnival Morning. In this piece, the Latin motif strikes again, the delicacy of sticking two notes in the same harmonic series. The melody is presented directly on a preview plate with or without introduction. This makes it appear as if it was played a long time ago. Metheny departs from the lows that most of the album relied on, and from the lofty peaks he builds to any kind of swagger.

Finally, clouds cannot change the sky. Before each cluster of tones, a wider color range foreshadows the next cluster; The melody sounds as if punctuated by the distant thought of each impulse. In a sudden melodic turn, a harmonic process emerges from a sequence of chords that flows like a small stream that doesn’t care about the road, driven by a wayward wandering improvisation that can only be stopped by fatigue.

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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