Buy this album at Nonesuch Records
A predilection achieved through a unique process of craftsmanship using old technology, the mechanical music machines, has succeeded in fulfilling the wishes of & playing together with Pat Metheny. From hearing this machine in action, which appears to work very well, we see accuracy in tempo, dynamics, and tone color as can be produced in these musical instruments in orchestration. Pat Metheny has successfully cooperated with the ‘machines’ he has created in bringing forth his musical work. And so he can freely explore his solo guitar playing, without having to anticipate any musical ‘surprise’ in the form of improvisation from his ‘playing partner’ here. To him this musical process is an achievement of itself in the form of various forms of cooperation between various musicians, forms of jazz playing, and other experimentations which he has done before.
The biggest challenge in ‘collaborating’ with musical machines (such as piano rolls) is the tendency for the music being played to lose its ‘human’ side, without doing away with accuracy as when musical instruments are played by skilled musicians. So you can imagine what difficulty Pat Metheny faced in facing an orchestration formed from musical instruments controlled by machines carrying out his ‘bidding’. The importance of improvisation in jazz needs interactive response from several instruments (musicians) in giving interpretation in order to make it into something organic. It is this challenge which Pat Metheny faced, because it requires a strong sense of intuition to make his ‘interaction’ with musical machines become living.
Pat’s virtuosity has made these ‘machines’ lose a bit of their mechanical nature, and become a bit more ‘human’ through his ability in composing scores (to command his machines to play their musical sections). And of course this is also thanks to the skill of the technicians creating these musical instruments which have been able to cooperate in responding the compositional needs with a high level of accuracy.
Musical dialogue was formed, built with a solid, well-developed musical concept.
My first Pat Metheny experience was during my college years, and to be honest, I was not into jazz back then (now I enjoy listening to them just as much as I enjoy listening to other music). What caught my attention is how his music has this duality – easy to listen to, but at the same time also full of complex bits and pieces that eventually catches your ears.
To me, the music brings my mind to a wander, a journey of which the end is not the purpose, but the journey itself. Very pleasing.
Buy this album at Hangveto
With a background of Hungarian musical roots (from Gymes & Moldova), and their love to the rich heritage & life of Hungarian musical tradition, Kerekes Band develops their music with elements of modern music, such as funk, jazz & blues.
There are few bands who have a flute as their melodic leader. This music group have several interesting aspects. Among them, the use of several different kinds of flutes, especially overtone flutes enriched by electrification of sound effects (similar to the electric instrument effect of guitars, etc.) as their melodic leader instrument. They realize the overtone flute’s character have power and richness of sound, in addition to a vocabulary of phrases in their musical tradition (which can be seen in a wider musical landscape which cover the Balkans, Arab & Turkey). Viola and Kobos (a kind of lute of Middle Eastern origin) also enriched with electrification & sound effects take on roles as rhythmic-melodic accompaniment (this is related to the local social dance tradition)
This musical group uses a funky musical band format that you can dance to. Social dance in several social occasions in the Hungarian people’s daily life does hold a significant role as the binding of their social relations, in situations where these musical activities give opportunity for the young to learn their traditions.
A distinctive flute sound 'sings', flowing along with the song's rhythmic changes, forming a sweet unity.
A very interesting mixture of music! On their official website, they call their music as ethno-funk. At first, I feel as if this is actually a common type of music, albeit with ethnic instruments. But the longer I listened to it, the more I can feel the roots of the music coming out from some of the pieces they made. Perhaps their music is an example of how ethnic / traditional music can be rearranged into a newer feel that can be accepted by the world (this can be categorized as world music, right?)
I think that although the pieces has its roots on their folk music, some of them feel a bit too modern, almost loosing the essence of their Hungarian background. It feels just like modern music using traditional instruments (at least, that how it sounds to me :D ).
Imagine a place like Tuvan, protected from modernization by how they are geographically located in the middle of the Asian continent (below Russia & above Mongolia), and they are a nomadic people living in harmony with nature. What they have in the beauty of their musical voice shows one form of interrelation between their lives and their environment and the beliefs they hold.
One musical uniqueness held by the Tuvan people is throat singing, a singing technique rather rare and uncommon (other people who also have it are the Mongolians and the Tibetans). This technique is rare, because of its high level of difficulty in controlling the chest and throat as a musical instrument (drone) and also the sounds emanating within the mount and nasal cavities (harmonic tones)
Music is tightly integrated in our lives, in work, meditation, and doing shamanic rituals. The narratives expressed show how they see/understand their lives. Throat singing is one example of inspiration received by the Tuvan people by interacting with extreme nature, aside from other musical forms and functions in their lives.
The music felt simple, deep, filled with very thick spiritual worship
The music that really sparked my interest. When I first listened to the songs, I believed that the sound forming together with the deep vocal was an instrument – until I found out that it is actually a singing technique they own. From the information I found on the web (Tuvan throat singing – Wikipedia), this type of singing is bound by their animistic view of the people’s spiritual view of nature / their surroundings, which I think is very fitting. I can imagine being taken to their steppes, listening to the sound of the wind, water, and grass… beautiful & impressive.
Note: I actually tried to learn how to do this throat / overtone singing – not successful yet, but still trying!