The third solo release from this former Yes guitarist will most certainly please guitar buffs, but the 21 tracks from Self-Contained can grow a little tedious as Banks' six string athletics take their course. Much more intricate than his work with Flash or Empire, Self-Contained is made up of full-fledged guitar manipulation and techniques, and although there are periodic smatterings of keyboard work from Gerald Goff, they're only present to add a little bit of texture to Banks' guitar playing. But even through the electric grind of bent chords and distorted notes, some appeal finds its way into the light. There's a solid progressive rock feel on the eight different segments of "It's All Greek to Me," which is the best example of both fluctuation and melody, while shorter pieces like "Away Days" and "Clues" are easier to listen to when singled out, that is without listening to the album from beginning to end. Self-Contained is even more expressive (and more experimental) than both The Two Sides of Peter Banks and 1993's Instinct, as Banks opts to reveal his proficiency as a guitarist first, putting any signs of musical fluency on the back burner.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne