Offramp album cover

Pat Metheny Group

ECM Records

As is well established, there is no true core to the Balearic aesthetic in music. It’s all about context, about juxtaposition, about what works in the moment. However there are certain sounds, styles, records without which it couldn’t be what it is. And this is one of those records. Munich’s ECM label has always specialised in finding a calm neither/nor space between jazz, modern classical and new age — and they were a perfect space for Metheny’s meditational jazz fusion experiments. The guitarist is known as one of the greatest virtuosos of all time, but on this album, everything is about underplaying by him and his band. Gentle Brazilian percussion, ambient synth pads, melodies that flow through the air like liquid gold, combine with the kind of ultra crisp production that so much in the 80s aspired to but all too often overshot into digital harshness. It’s pure elegance, and — although it’s laid back throughout — the sort of pure groove that made it into catnip for the DJs of Ibiza.

Joe Muggs

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