|Billboard - November 20, 1999
The score to the upcoming Sigourney Weaver Film "A Map Of The World" finds guitarist/composer Metheny at his wistful best, turning in 28 gorgeous compositions that stand comfortably as a cohesive, textured work. The entire atmospheric score is represented here, along with nearly 30 minutes of additional music built around the main themes. The film's rural Wisconsin setting is an ideal catalyst for Metheny's epic narratives; bereft of visuals, the listener is treated to an aural view of small-town Americana, with grand themes and sweeping orchestral sections that resonate with the promises and aspirations that the country is built upon. A chamber orchestra and longtime cohort and co-producer Steve Rodby's acoustic bass are key features of the soundscape, but Metheny's acoustic guitar is the score's main voice, speaking with the quiet intensity of both the joy and uncertainty that can accompany the American Dream.
Newsday - November 28, 1999
Pat Metheny is a deliberate musician, as close to a perfectionist as one would find in modern popular music. He is a master of delicacy, of texture and timbre. As a technician, he can wrap instruments in the studio to create a magical swirl of music.
He brings these traits and colors to his film music as well. The new film, "A Map of the World" based on Jane Hamilton's book, is about a midwestern family's trauma and fall from grace. The score reflects the drama with a somber, sober tone that has nearly religious overtones.
"Map" is also a very cerebral and quasi-minimalist score (there are 28 tracks, with titles like "Alone," "Outcast," "Patience" and "Forgiving"). Although Metheny is the center of the storm as he plays acoustic guitar and keyboards, there's a string-heavy (19 violins, 10 violas, 6 cellos) orchestra to describe the background details: brooding characters, a threatening landscape, an overwhelming sadness in places.
This album is Metheny's fourth soundtrack (and 25th album); his previous works include "The Falcon and the Snowman" and a Bud Yorkin film called "Twice in a Lifetime." Besides incorporating all of the music used in the movie, the disc adds 25 minutes of what the composer calls "various expansions and treatments" on the score.
Masterly recorded in 24-bit digital, "A Map of the World" will give serious audiophiles a thrilling experience. The rest of us can just groove on the lovely theme and the expansiveness of Pat Metheny's musical map.
Billboard - December 4, 1999
PAT METHENY Homecoming (3:17)
Superstar Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny's second Warner Bros. album doubles as the soundtrack to the upcoming film "A Map Of The World." As an apt touchstone for the project, the "Homecoming" single is signature Metheny - gorgeous Americana melodicism, simple and sanguine on the surface but with currents of rich musicality and deep feeling running underneath. Metheny's songful solos and earthy acoustic strumming create a compelling narrative sans visuals, with string sounds and Steve Rodby's rootsy bass helping to round out the aural picture. Metheny is that rare creature: a high-striving, uncompromising artist who also has wide international popular appeal. "Homecoming" will lend a bit of class to jazz airwaves around the world, no doubt warming the hearts of hardcore fans and newcomers alike.