This was written over one listen.
I was hoping for more imagery but that isn’t what came forward.
I think this gives a vague idea of how the song goes but there’s not much more to say.
Pat Metheny’s “America Undefined” is from From This Place. I wrote about the album in 2020. Alternatively, you can find the review on Culture Eater, which is a site I recommend checking out.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
Sounds stir, quiet, gentle, yet firm. Preparing. They rise, then gently fall. Piano moves around and flows alongside strings, strings flow, rise and fall. Soon bass, percussion and guitar come in, building on the gentleness, yet seemingly picking up speed. They build and further the melody and all moves in a sense of unison. There’s a slight business, but it’s not cluttered.
Soon the instruments push a little further, then settle a bit more. They continue to build on the main melody, bringing in more energy and more of a sense of speed. They move across an open plain and begin to lift into the air, riding a breeze and taking glimpse of what is underneath, behind and head.
The instruments pull back for a moment and piano slinks forward, initially seeming erratic, but remaining smooth and continuing onward. The percussion and bass play gentle, changing the groove a little whilst holding back. There seems to be a sense of build in what is happening and slowly it comes forward. Strings rise a little more as the keys come forward with more passion and energy. All builds as the keys rise up in a moment of beauty and then all dissipates.
The guitar comes forward and plays something a little sentimental and smooth as the rhythm slows down and eases. It’s almost a lull; they playing remains strong, but the music is easy and relaxed and simple, even if the playing is not.
It’s almost a sense of push and pull as all drift along and keep it all drifting. An expanse opens up around, but the instruments remain on the path they’re following and keep it all tight and close, and soon once more all is rising. Strings keep pushing forward and all compliment its movement, though once more it soon falls away.
A return to the opening moments as the melody is stripped back, though this does not last and soon a sense of building and motion and movement return. The music once more becomes full and growing and once more there is an excitement and it once more hits a point made clear and concise.
The instruments all pull back again, then bass starts gently thumping. Sounds murmur, looking to rise up, though not doing so. They build slowly and quietly rise and fall. Sounds akin to transport appear in the background and a sense of encompassing a wide experience comes forward. As the sounds gradually rise up from their murmuring so does the sense of width. The sounds grow and expand as does the imagery.
The thumping stops for a brief period, then returns, stretched out. Sounds of train crossings become apparent, a percussive hit and the music explodes forward.
It is steady, massive and pushing forward, heaving and expanding and dramatic in expression. Scenery rapidly flashes on past as the sounds encapsulate more. The strings flow and breathe, and in the last moment of this they rise a little further, then it all pulls away. A percussive rattle and the sounds settle and caress as the song ends.