Pat Metheny

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Pat Metheny is no stranger to studio trickery, having issued the multitracked recital New Chautauqua early in his career. On Orchestrion, his latest Nonesuch release, he expands the inspiration of his grandfather’s player piano into a mountainous, Rube Goldberg–esque contraption operated with solenoids and pneumatics. The biggest surprise about the album is that it barely deviates from his standard output: Soaring over customarily rich, yearning chord progressions and shimmering washes of light, pinging cymbals, Metheny’s guitar sounds soulful and airy—at no point boxed into mechanistic rigor.