The Murky World Of Barry Adamson
By: Eric G.
Barry Adamson has some heavy-duty props under his belt. He played bass for Manchester’s influential Magazine for four years before a brief stint with The Birthday Party, which led to his being a founding member of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. He left the rock format in search of something less constricting to his musical vision after only a handful of records with the band. The result was his first single in 1988, “The Man With The Golden Arm”, which starts this collection of Adamson’s solo work with a confident statement of both style and sophistication. The influences of John Barry and Ennio Morricone are discernable yet slightly understated.
Adamson is a hard man to pigeonhole. His tastes are very much in line with jazz concepts, but he is too much of a dilettante to classify with much accuracy. All of his work is underscored with a looming darkness. The music on this collection has a filmic quality- even the stuff that predates his actual scoring, which began with Carl Colpaert’s film Delusion and took up the bulk of his time in the last ten years. All of the scoring led Adamson to study film himself in New York in the late eighties. His 1996 album Oedipus Schmoedipus garnered him much acclaim and a spot on David Lynch’s Lost Highway soundtrack.
Adamson’s biggest drawback is his vocal style, which seems to ape Barry White just a bit in its sleekness and intended ‘cool.’ He didn’t really utilize vocals until very recently on albums like As Above, So Below, but he’s been known to talk over tracks in the past. His forte is, obviously, the instrumental. The Murky World Of Barry Adamson is an aptly titled collection that explores a strange hybrid of new wave meets jazz meets big band lounge. Three new tracks show a futuristic turn in his mission to meld jazzy space rock with cinematic soundscapes.