Marking Manzanera's tenth year of as a professional musician, Primitive Guitars means to be a looking back at his stylistic growth through a series of solo pieces that take in the various stages of his life: childhood in South America, adolescence in London, stints in Roxy Music, 801, and other projects. These are hinted at in the titles ("Caracas," "Bogota," "Ritmo de Los Angeles") and often in the Latin influences of the melodies and playing styles. On all these pulsing, groove-centered instrumental tracks, Manzanera is backed only by a drum machine and, on one tune, John Wetton on bass. Otherwise all the diverse sounds, noises, melodies, and rhythms have been created on guitar, linking Manzanera to another progressive virtuoso, Adrian Belew. In between tracks, Manzanera inserts snatches of dialogue recorded at various rehearsals, making this a successful, very personal album.
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AllMusic Review by Ted Mills