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Andy Summers: Metal Dog

Another arresting solo work from the former Policeman.

When a planned collaboration with a dance troupe ultimately faltered, veteran guitarist Andy Summers took the ideas he had accrued in the studio and added them to his already impressive catalogue of solo releases.

Playing all the instruments himself here, Summers offers up his eclectic range of influences, settling on a surprisingly gritty collection of ambient-tinged post-rock and jazz-inflected excursions. Throughout a varied career, Summers’ playing has tended to shy away from any overt rocking out or grandstanding, favouring instead a subtler construction via the thoughtful layering of textures and tones. Metal Dog exemplifies this almost painterly approach. He makes carefully considered strokes to backgrounds and settings, and when he does burst forth his soloing lines are elegant yet dazzling, focusing on sprightly, quicksilver melodies. The astronomical themes within Oceans Of Enceladus and Mare Imbrium are particularly apposite, given the way the music shimmers weightlessly, slowly orbiting around sporadic rhythmic spurs, harmonic pulses and gaseous, nebulous chords. Sparkling with so many lustrous points of light and detail. A gem of a record.