Pat Metheny
Bright Size Life


4.5
superb

Review

by Joseph Ellery Castenell USER (6 Reviews)
January 12th, 2011 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Still Life.

I've never gotten postcards; in either the physical or the literal sense. The appeal of them seems lost to me, someone who's far too reclusive and much too compulsive to enjoy something so quaint and considerate. Still, I've found myself gazing, for what seems like hours on end, trying to catch that setting sun dipping below the Midwestern horizon; a scene that captures me--I feel framed. Ensnared and entranced within the margins of Bright Size Life, I encounter my first postcard.

Whispered sentiments from 1976; this is an album of candid conversations. The blissful lull of Pat Metheny's velvet guitar phrasing, Jaco Pastorius' shrewd bass lines, murmuring in counterpoint, and the crisp drum fills and cymbal chattering of Bob Moses--all notes passed through delicate hands, and played in the key of subtle. Within the first half-minute of the title track, liquid melodies wash over you, before sinking behind fading vignettes, like rain drops. These chords strike like familiar stories about perfect strangers, until the moment the opening melodies return; you'll swear they were childhood friends. "Sirabhorn"--with its gossamer tones--sways amidst dust and dressers, like a lullaby, only concerned with the fond memories brought on by porcelain figurines. Strung between tales of ghost towns and silent anecdotes, juxtaposing feelings of joy and longing--you'll experience unity. It feels as if you're being cradled in harmonies, rocking in hopes to sleep in peace. When you next awaken, it'll be--quite literally--in a dream; at the 1:11 mark of "Midwestern Nights Dream", the bass rumbles with a sense of urgency and an air of forewarning. It's inconspicuous and delightfully unsettling, particularly in knowing that, in a few minutes time, the tables will have turned; Pat Metheny's guitar becomes an accent to Jaco Pastorius' bass--commentator turned keynote speaker. The genius lies in knowing that's not the only thing that's shifted.

I sometimes question the inclusion of "Round Trip/Broadway Blues". Not to say that I don't admire the ambitious treatment of the Ornette Coleman original, but moreso that its "obvious faults" serve to better highlight the "apparent strengths" of Bright Size Life; the song's latter stretches mark the first distinct occasions during which Metheny's playing is noticeably absent, thus eliminating the trio's potent chemistry... or so one would assume. On the contrary, and not so "obvious" as I'd first believed, it's instances like these--few and far or not/nil--that punctuate these sonic drift-lines, altogether grounding it in its own reality; our reality.

The sky dims as the sun begins to slink behind the shade of the abandoned hillside. All the while, I was under the impression that--these past 37 minutes--I became engulfed in what would become my first postcard. In hindsight, I feel inclined to reconsider; this album's sublime atmosphere is much too intimate for movement. Its crystalline stories were woven for the experience, as opposed to being a product of the experience. As I peer intently into Bright Size Life--an eager onlooker--I see Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, and Bob Moses rehearsing in the stale warmth of a run down wooden cabin, peeking out into the world, writing songs about their first postcard.



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user ratings (49)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
couldwinarabbit
January 12th 2011


6996 Comments


album sounds interesting. good review.

liledman
January 12th 2011


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review man. albums good, but i never end up listening to any of his stuff much.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2011


7311 Comments


I admit I have to second what HSThomas said about this review being slightly pretentious, but for a fourth review this is impeccable. I'm being completely honest when I say that very many reviewers with just under five reviews can't write like this yet. Have a well-deserved pos.

Jethro42
January 12th 2011


12478 Comments


Jethro was there, summer of '89, very near from the stage omg omg:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwBLC0WKuS0


Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 12th 2011


10613 Comments


Really neat review, Joe. Hope to see more from you...

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


couldwinarabbit: Gracias, and please do give the album a listen, if you get the opportunity.

liledman: I feel like I had a special connection with the tones on this particular album, but I think that his other releases may not get as many rotations from me. Thanks for the read, liledman!

HSThomas: This is what I was afraid of. Once a poet, always a poet, so I feel like my writing style really caters to the overuse of adjectives and images. Here's hoping that it won't become a crutch, and that I'll be able to balance out the metaphor with the more tangible. Love that you love Jaco Pastorius, HSThomas! He's incredible.

Irving: You flatter me, and I blush. I'll just have to make sure that my next review is even better than my last. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement, Irving!

Jethro42: I feel the sudden urge to jump up and down and squeal like a schoolgirl while simultaneously crying and rocking myself in the corner...

Xenophanes: Thanks Xeno! I'll keep at it, and try not to go completely insane. Also...

L

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


Now that, I think I can manage.

=]

Ire
January 12th 2011


41795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

interesting coincidence, i found this and downloaded this two nights ago. gonna listen tonight.


nice review

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


When I first heard the album, I decided that it was a shame it didn't have a review. Glad to be of assistance, Ire! Thanks for the read, and, I hope you enjoy listening.

somberlain
January 12th 2011


2121 Comments


yes, exactly what Irving said

I feel like my writing style really caters to the overuse of adjectives and images. Here's hoping that it won't become a crutch, and that I'll be able to balance out the metaphor with the more tangible

don't worry too much about that, it's these little "quirks" that separate your reviews from others an makes them unique

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


That puts me at ease, somby! Thanks for taking the time out to read and critique it.

If anything, though, I'm going to see if I've got a "negative" review in me. Feeling like mad and stuff w/ rage.

somberlain
January 12th 2011


2121 Comments


sure thing Joe, we all have our crutches but if you do away with them then your reviews will look like everyone else's

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


I wouldn't want that. =/

In the next year or so, I'll post my 5th review. Promise!

somberlain
January 12th 2011


2121 Comments


I wouldn't want that. =/

that's my point
you really need to review more

JustJoe
January 12th 2011


1399 Comments


This upcoming semester will be full of Creative Writing/English courses. I'm hoping that it helps me write more frequently as opposed to hindering me.

I'll stay optimistic and say it'll be the former.

Ire
October 31st 2011


41795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pat metheny is so good

Jethro42
October 31st 2011


12478 Comments


so god

JustJoe
November 24th 2011


1399 Comments


Oh, god. . .



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