Legendary artist Pat Metheny has gone to robotics for his next album, and you can finally see a first glimpse at what the results look like. The Orchestrion is a project by the musical robotic specialists LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots).

That’s all I’ll say for now, but I definitely will be working to cover this story in more detail.

After more than a year of work and collaboration, I am extremely excited to tell you about the Orchestrion Project. In 2007, 17-time Grammy-winning jazz artist Pat Metheny came to LEMUR with the idea to produce an album and tour backed entirely by robotic musical instruments. This led to a year-long project where we produced an orchestra of nearly 40 robotic instruments, including GuitarBots, mallet instruments and a large array of percussion. These instruments, augmented with several instruments by other roboticists, comprise the Orchestrion, a robotic orchestra entirely under Pat’s compositional and improvisational control.

Pat spent the better part of 2008 composing for and recording with these instruments. The result is a new album entitled Orchestrion, scheduled for release on January 26, 2010. I’ve had the pleasure to preview the album and see Pat perform in studio with the Orchestrion. I and others who have heard and seen the Orchestrion Project believe it is some of the best music Pat has ever produced.

From February to May 2010, Pat will be touring the world with the Orchestrion. I am eagerly looking forward to the tour and the exposure it will bring to our art form and the great music produced by Pat Metheny with these instruments. When Orchestrion comes to your city, it is a performance not to be missed.

I would like to personally thank all of the LEMUR artists and apprentices who worked on this project. I especially want to thank Leif Krinkle and Boris Klompus – without their hard work and dedication, the extraordinary results we achieved would not have been possible.

This project, along with other projects, performances and installations we’re working on in New York and Pittsburgh, should make 2010 a banner year for LEMUR. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to share our work with you.

We’ll have the album on January 26, and the tour in February.

Thanks to Brian Cass of the Overclock Orchestra.