Pat Metheny, LEMUR and the Orchestrion

The League of Electronic Musical Robots, or LEMUR, has built an orchestrion for Pat Metheny's latest album.

From LEMUR Director Eric Singer:

After more than a year of work and collaboration, I am extremely excited to tell you about the Orchestrion Project. In 2007, 17-time Grammy-winning jazz artist Pat Metheny came to LEMUR with the idea to produce an album and tour backed entirely by robotic musical instruments. This led to a year-long project where we produced an orchestra of nearly 40 robotic instruments, including GuitarBots, mallet instruments and a large array of percussion. These instruments, augmented with several instruments by other roboticists, comprise the Orchestrion, a robotic orchestra entirely under Pat's compositional and improvisational control.

Pat spent the better part of 2008 composing for and recording with these instruments. The result is a new album entitled Orchestrion, scheduled for release on January 26, 2010. I've had the pleasure to preview the album and see Pat perform in studio with the Orchestrion. I and others who have heard and seen the Orchestrion Project believe it is some of the best music Pat has ever produced.

From February to May 2010, Pat will be touring the world with the Orchestrion. I am eagerly looking forward to the tour and the exposure it will bring to our art form and the great music produced by Pat Metheny with these instruments. When Orchestrion comes to your city, it is a performance not to be missed.

Harmon Bethea aka Mask Man, RIP.

Obituary at
Sunday, January 17th, 5pm - 7pm: A Tribute to Harmon Bethea (With Debbie D.)
In honor of the life and musical career of the recently deceased Washington, DC soul man Harmon Bethea (1926-2009), aka The Mask Man, Gaylord and Debbie will be playing every Cap-Tans/Mask Man & The Agents record in their respective collections. Expect a selection of funky R&B on such favorite Harmon Bethea topics as nagging wives, African-American empowerment and cats beating up dogs with a brick.

[ thx Rex ]

Guerrilla Public Service


Ankrom called his piece "guerrilla public service," and that it was: His action quickly and seamlessly alleviated millions of headaches for those who were able to make their transition to the 5 somewhat less hairy (can you imagine how long it would have taken to petition Caltrans the old-fashioned way?). He very likely saved a few lives. But I see Ankrom's work more like "public service performance."



Detroit Artist Monthly: 1978 Interview with Ray Johnson

What do you do with the requests?

Methodically every day I open my mail and respond to every letter and postcard. I have a whole process, of a steak knife which I use to open my letters, it's like prayer, it's a ritual for me, a ceremony. I'll go out to the mail box, bring the mail into my house, I have avery good mailman, he sort of piles things very neatly. I put them on my work table; I turn on the television set; I have my cup of coffee; I turn on the overhead light; it's like a corpse on the table. It's really my prayer; I start at the top, I perhaps see there is some very juicy inter-esting things here at the bottom. It's like archeology. It's like if you discovered a tomb and you have your little brushes and you brush away the dust of years and you don't want to destroy an urn handle so to speak. And then I surgically in-sert the knife in these envelopes, open them, quick look at the contents and then I do sorting: bills go here, new people go here, I get new people every single day which is very ex-citing because here's some new person, and I'm very inter-ested in what is absolutely new. Like a name or address on a postcard, or whatever, from someone I've never heard of, it means I get to do a little detective work to try to figure out.
like the card you said you received. For instance when I have to give a lecture I can be pretty sure that I will receive something in the mail that morning that I can wear at my lecture: aT-shirt, aring, it's magical, I'm dealing with magic. I provoke the mail box to provide me with     or I will use what is in the mail for the subject of my lecture; I will read what appeared that day. To me that's very important because that's the concentration because I'm possessed by letters and correspondence.

You obviously send mail out all over.

Oh yes, and since I'm running the Dead Pan Club

What's that?

Well, it's a kind of humor where you don't smile and you simply say something terribly funny.