(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Icefire” (1977)

Share this:

For me, music that tends to freeze time also tends to be sparse. “Icefire” has that, with the chiming arpeggios, artificial harmonics, and plenty of space. This track reminds me of what Pat did at the opening of “Phase Dance.” A quick google returned this Metheny quote from a 2002 interview with Guitarist magazine:

I’ve always been interested in what you can make the guitar be by forcing it into different registers and tunings. To get that sound from Icefire you’d have to buy an electric 12-string, take off all the strings and restring it with all unwound strings except for the lowest, then tune it in fifths to a diatonic major pentatonic scale. That piece was built around not only an odd tuning but also a major restringing.

Wow, no wonder I’ve never been able to pin down was what Pat was up to on this composition.

Connecting to last week’s missive, “Icefire” is triggering those coast of Maine mental notes even more strongly than the album’s title track. I can’t say why that is, except that whenever I hear the song, I remember not only the coffee but the fog slowly clearing off the water, the sound of gulls as I stood on the deck, my own early morning haze (I never was a morning person), and the solitary time spent listening to this record. Afterwards, I switched off the cassette player and watched the Today Show, since the local NBC channel was the only thing that I could be reliably tuned in on the TV.

Why do these memories persist? Is it the strength of the music? That fact that I was only in my twenties? I don’t really want to go back though…this music takes me there for free.

Pat Metheny – Icefire from Pat Metheny on Vimeo.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B000W1Q5O2″ container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000W1Q64G” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000026FDG” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
Share this:
Close