ECM-1-1190 As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Released on 1981
US CHART POSITION #50
Find it at GEMM
ECM-1-1190 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

A ll long-form composers at some point take an interest in Oriental sounds: Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, um, Kitaro. The title track from As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (which I think is a great title) is Metheny and Mays’ Oriental thesis. With percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, they create a cool hybrid of water music, Oriental sounds and the Latin elements advanced under PMG. As Falls Wichita was the first Metheny album I ever heard and, given my limited lexicon of instrumental associations at the time, it reminded me of Fripp and Eno’s ambient works. Today, not so much except in spots. I like Metheny’s early, icier works and Mays’ shimmering beds of synthesizers, so the side-long title opus is right up my alley. Fans of their later work may find it too spacey and not enough spicy. For them, there is a second side of shorter songs. Mays takes the lead on “Ozark,” the sort of new age americana jazz that Metheny fans have come to love. Personally, I’ve never found the bustling sounds of America all that interesting; it probably dates back to my disappointment with Dvorak’s New World Symphony and American composers like Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and (sometimes even) Leonard Bernstein. “September Fifteenth” is reflective and sad, the sound of the sun slipping behind a bank of clouds. (Some days I’m not fit for anything but inventing new names for red. Baby bum rash red. A shade less dark than bashful beet but richer than strawberry rose.) “It’s For You” is his typical southwestern fluff, and I mean that in the nicest sense of the word “fluff.” You know, like fluffy pillows or fluffy baby ducks. (Fluffy baby duckie yellow.) The closing “Estupenda Graca” (wonderful grace, in case you’re wondering) features Vasconcelos’ wolfish vocals, some well-placed sighs and a sense of unfulfilled desire. (Fuchsia unfulfilled. That’s getting annoying, isn’t it?) The second side of Wichita is a world we’ve already travelled with PMG, but the side-long title track is an interesting departure for them. Metheny minus the group has always been more meditative. If you enjoyed Watercolors or New Chautauqua, you’ll probably fall for Wichita too. (Wichita white. I can actually see that in my head.)

ECM-1-1190 back cover
ECM-1-1190 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS    20:44
  2. OZARK    4:03
  3. SEPTEMBER FIFTEENTH    7:44
  4. "IT'S FOR YOU"    8:20
  5. ESTUPENDA GRA&cCEDIL;A    2:40

    All selections composed by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays

CREDITS

LYLE MAYS -- piano, synthesizer, organ, autoharp
PAT METHENY -- electric and acoustic six and twelve string guitars, bass
NANA VASCONCELOS -- bermibau, percussion, drums, vocals
Jan Erik Kongshaug -- engineer
Klaus Frahm -- cover photo
Rob van Petten -- liner photo
Barbara Wojirsch -- design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1981 ECM LP ECM-1-1190  
FRA 1981 ECM LP 818 890-1  
GER 1981 ECM LP ECM-1190  
US/GER   ECM CD 821 416  

 

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