Friday, October 26, 2018

Bewitched (1984), by Andy Summers and Robert Fripp

Yep, this album is more Andy Summers than Robert Fripp.

And no, that’s not a bad thing, especially if you enjoy Summers’ solo albums, particularly Mysterious Barricades (compare “Emperor’s Last Straw” to “Forgotten Steps”), Charming Snakes (compare “Passion of the Shadow” to “Tribe”), Earth + Sky (compare “Above the World” to “Begin the Day”), Triboluminescence (compare “Help from Jupiter” to “Bewitched”), and the title track of XYZ (compare to “Train”). By the way, Summers’ rhythmic chorused arpeggios on “Train” brilliantly convey the sonic motion of a locomotive.

I bought my first vinyl copy of Bewitched in the late 1980s, from a record store next to the GAP in a retro futuristic outlet mall across the parking lot from Levitz on Route 17 in Paramus, New Jersey. It was my first album of Summers and Fripp. Summers had just finished his first stint with The Police and had only three solo albums and a couple of soundtracks to his name. So, his parts on Bewitched and I Advance Masked seemed obvious.

However, as his solo work has progressed over the years and become more varied and revelatory, so have my understanding and appreciation of his work on the Fripp albums. And as Summers continues to record into his seventies and reveal more of his idiosyncrasies, I continue to unearth still even more treasures from those decades-old but timeless works.

--Raj Manoharan

I Advance Masked (1982), by Andy Summers and Robert Fripp

Are you familiar with many of The Police’s songs beyond their Stingy adult contemporary hits?

Are you a fan of Andy Summers and his solo career?

Then not only will you enjoy this seminal progressive experimental new age jazz/rock fusion collaboration, but you will truly appreciate it as well, especially if you like Summers’ albums The Golden Wire (compare “Blues for Snake” with “Still Point”), World Gone Strange, Synaesthesia (compare “Low Flying Doves” with “Girl on a Swing”), and Metal Dog.

The unique give-and-take interplay between these two extraordinary and unconventional ax men makes this record and its 1984 follow-up, Bewitched, unlike any other guitar albums out there and thus essential must-haves for fans of either, both, or neither artist.

--Raj Manoharan