Kinder, Gentler Rogue Policeman

Mysterious Barricades
[Private Music-1988]

Whether he was pursuing a variety of musical tangents out of artistic restlessness or found himself adrift after the breakup of the Police and tried the ‘let’s see what sticks’ approach, Summers’ solo output over the last 30 years has wandered from pop-rock, avant-garde guitar duets with Robert Fripp, new age, modern jazz, Brazilian classics and back to pop-rock again.

But his first time out as a solo instrumentalist, Summers went down a new age road, going as far as signing with Private Music, a label founded by Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream, and one of the subgenre’s premiere record companies. Mysterious Barricades bears some similarities to Summers’ first collaboration with Fripp, I Advance Masked [A&M-1982]—particularly on “Shining Sea” and “Emperor’s Last Straw”—but from the moment the gentle, peaceful guitars and synths of lead-off track “Red Balloons” make their presence felt, it’s clear this is a less angular, more relaxing endeavor than those alongside the legendary King Crimson guitarist.

Definitely a late night record and an ideal soundtrack to surrendering to Morpheus; and yes, that was a compliment.

Highlights: the aforementioned “Red Balloon”, “Shining Sea” and “Emperor’s Last Straw”; "The Lost Marbles", and the title track.