Home Read Albums Of The Week: Barry Adamson | Cut To Black

Albums Of The Week: Barry Adamson | Cut To Black

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cut To Black is Barry Adamson’s 10th solo studio album, and finds him in a fertile period of creativity, reflection and investigation.

Up Above The City, Down Beneath The Stars, the first volume of his memoirs, was released in 2021, charting the years from his inception in Manchester’s Brutalist heart, his difficult journey through childhood and how art and music became his liberation, via his father’s jazz record collection and the spy theme sounds of John Barry, through transformative years in Magazine, The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds, and up to the release of his first solo album, Moss Side Story in 1989. The book’s concept is typically inventive, with Adamson looking at the world as an observer. As he puts it, “I started to imagine my life without me in it. An author-as-observer, looking down upon this Murky World during that time and making a record of what I found there.”

The album extends the concept, as Adamson journeys through rambunctious odes, mixing elements of soul, R&B, hip-hop and funk with AI and Manhattan disco. Adamson examines various lives cut short, explores notions of race, and invites us to reflect on how much society has really changed since the original civil rights movement of the mid 20th-century, all with a deft, louche touch and gleeful wordplay and associations, both aural and visual.

Adamson’s recent work includes an original soundtrack for Scala!!!, the acclaimed full-length documentary on the legendary independent London cinema that inspired generations of artists, filmmakers and musicians, co-directed by Jane Giles and Ali Catterall. The Scala cinema in Kings Cross (1978-1993) was the world’s most influential and notorious cinema, with over a million people passing through its doors for revolutionary double-bills and all-nighters of classics, cult movies, horror, kung fu, LGBT+ and live music.

Adamson has been creating all of his life. Brought up in Manchester’s Moss Side, Adamson learnt to play the bass overnight for Magazine. When they disbanded, five albums later in 1981, his singular style was spotted by The Birthday Party, with whom he played several times. His establishment as a solo artist came after a three-year stint with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, with the release of Moss Side Story, which raised Adamson’s name as a composer of diverse complexity, able to tell a story with music, where the images were those supplanted in the minds of the listeners. Adamson has worked with some of the film industry’s most intriguing mavericks including Derek Jarman (The Last of England, 1987), David Lynch (The Lost Highway, 1997), Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers, 1994) and Danny Boyle (The Beach, 2000).

Having released nine studio albums, including the 1992 Mercury Music Prize-nominated Soul Murder, 1996’s Oedipus Schmoedipus, an album celebrating his 40 years in music, Memento Mori (2018), and his most recent release Know Where To Run, which was in part inspired by a recent U.S. tour, back playing with The Bad Seeds after 23 years, Adamson’s talents are as much in demand by new generations of artists as he was after his first solo release, with collaborations in recent years across a variety of art forms, including an Olivier Award-winning ballet performance by Sylvie Guillem and the Ballet Boyz, scored by Adamson.”