Andy Summers

Mysterious Barricades

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The former Police guitarist's first solo instrumental album turns out to be a gentle, thoroughly domesticated continuation of his looping soundscapes with Robert Fripp earlier in the 1980s ("I Advance Masked"). Keyboardist David Hentschel is a co-conspirator on several tracks, though Summers is perfectly content to go it alone on others. With its repeated guitar loops, interactive counterlines, gentle washes of keyboards, advancing and receding waves of effects, Summers is out to sooth and refresh, not to challenge and disturb -- and the music drifts lazily toward the shores of the soporific New Age. "Shining Sea" definitely has a kinship with the sound of the Fripp collaborations, but shorn of their forbidding edges, and the rest floats in and out, leaving barely a trace behind. It's all very pretty and it all sounds somewhat innocuous today, now that the phenomenon of tape or digital loops is no longer an avant-garde pet preserve.

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