Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pat Metheny Unity Group Kin (<->) Nonesuch 2014

An accessible version of Orchestrion...and not in a good way.
Brent Black /
Kin (<->) is a let down. After the sound effects release commonly referred to as Orchestrion we were tagged with the John Zorn collaboration Tap which while misunderstood was a sonic flat line. The Unity Band gave us hope, so did Obama. Kin (<->) gave us change and it too crashes and burns faster than Obama's dream for the future. An artist is as creative as he or she feels the need to be and Metheny is that...but there is a cohesive synergy lacking in this release that is at times haunting. This is not the Pat Metheny Group and while that is o.k., it would be nice to hear some sort of lyrical sense of purpose as opposed to a multi-layered sound that falls flat.
The Unity Group is an certified all star line up of talent including Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, and bassist Ben Williams along with multi instrumentalist Giuilio Carmassi. Again we have a more accessible Orchestrion type of harmonic playbook including recorders and even whistling...Whistling? The band is simply asked to do too much and thus lose any sense of direction or cohesion that was found in the last release. Die hard Pat Metheny fans will be split down the middle on this release as they were with the train wreck that was Orchestrion.
Four tracks are over ten minutes in length with the opening track  at roughly fifteen minutes, a new age for self indulgency. Remind me to never refer to Wynton Marsalis as the most self indulgent player on the planet, we have a new winner.
While there are shimmers of brilliance, the release is for the most part painful to listen to. I used an ITunes gift card to download this release...Ten bucks pissed away. I like Pat Metheny, I do. I just don't like this.
2 Stars.

Track Listing: One Day One; Rise Up; Adagia; Sign of the Season; Kin (←→); Born; Genealogy; We Go On; Kqu.

Personnel: Pat Metheny: electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synth, electronics, Orchestrionics, synths; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, clarinet, alto flute, bass flute; Antonio Sanchez: drums, cajón; Ben Williams: acoustic and electric basses; Giuilio Carmassi: piano, trumpet, trombone, French horn, cello, vibes, clarinet, flute, recorder, alto saxophone, Wurlitzer, whistling, vocals.