“TRIBOLUMINESCENCE is actually a scientific word that means creating light from dark, which I believe is a great metaphor for any creative act and, especially, music,” stated SUMMERS. “I felt compelled to follow up the record I made last year, METAL DOG, where I was trying to go into a new territory — with not just a straight-ahead jazz or jazz fusion or rock or pop, but something very much my own genre. This record results from a lifetime’s worth of receiving influence, digesting it, and trying to create a new voice. I feel like I’m taking the METAL DOG album and moving on from there and trying to expand the writing, the tonal palette and this idea that I have about creating new music.”
And new territory it is. SUMMERS draws upon all his musical influences from around the globe and takes the listener on a sonic journey that begins with the opening track, “If Anything,” a majestic, sonorous piece featuring SUMMERS’ guitar with endless layers of rich tone and never-ending sustain. The journey moves to the title track, “Triboluminescence,” with its exotic, looping Indonesian Gamelan-like sounds that evoke the feeling of being in a village in Bali, and then to “A dinkra,” which is influenced by West African music, with Summers playing all the drums and percussion.
"Elephant Bird” is the fourth track on the album, and once again it opens with thick, rich, loops. “This track has a challenging background to play over, but I found a way using distortion on the guitar and playing natural harmonics. The result – which surprised me, is a positive melodic line,” commented SUMMERS. “I was able to create sounds that range from a muted Miles Davis trumpet to a very liquid, yet thick, almost two-trumpet sound!”
For “Shadyland,” SUMMERS again draws upon his love of jazz and creates a haunting harmonic setting, à la McCoy Tyner when he played with John Coltrane. His quartal guitar harmonies lend themselves perfectly to this dark jazz composition, which evokes the feeling and emotion of being in a small, dimly lit, smoke-filled jazz club.
“‘Haunted Dolls,’ the sixth track on the record, is interesting for me because I think the melody is intervallic, which is very Monk-like,” stated SUMMERS. “Of course the difference being instead of a jazz piano in the background, I’m using a loop, which for me, replaces the more standard harmonic accompaniment of a piano, but in a very ‘guitaristic’ kind of a way.”
“Gigantopithecus” is a song SUMMERS started working on a few years ago with an amazing drum rhythm. The staccato melody is played on a baritone guitar that is doubled with a fretless bass, acoustic bass guitar and other instruments for additional character. The title of the song refers to the name of an extinct ape that lived millions of years ago. “This track sounded to me like a big lumbering animal, so I felt Gigantopithecus was an appropriate name for this track,” said SUMMERS, laughing.
“Pukul Buny Bunye,” an Indonesian phrase that means hammering, striking keys, was the name Summers chose for this track, as it refers to the way he began working on this piece. “I started with two guitars in alternate tunings, and one had a capo on the 12th fret. I was playing them with chopsticks to get the background. Once I got that whole thing going, that was really the inspiration. I was setting out to find a melodic theme or thematic motive, but I had my Stratocaster guitar tuned way down, way below pitch. So, the track starts with these hammering guitars and then this off-the-wall solo comes in, which because of the tuning, made me play in a way that I thought was sort of funny. Then, it gets picked up by this crazy, almost like a marching band theme, again like an orchestra, until it goes into some very exotic chords and the guitar does a solo over that. So, it’s really quite a quirky piece, but for me it sat really well with the other tracks on the record which was the important thing.”
“Garden of the Sea,” the last track on the record, closes the sonic journey of TRIBOLUMINESCENCE and was created out of a set of sessions Summers did with the great Armenian cellist Artyom Manukyan. “Garden of the Sea is played with a reverse looping effect — it’s like playing into a mirror,” stated SUMMERS. “And when you set the cello against that, you get this beautiful, pastoral effect. It’s a lullaby at the end of the album.”
TRIBOLUMINESCENCE once again builds on the sonic and artistic framework of his lauded 2015 set, METAL DOG. The nine tracks on TRIBOLUMINESCENCE all feature SUMMERS’ rich, lush, multi-layered, rhythmically and spatial signature guitar tones that draws the listener in track after track.
About Andy Summers
Andy Summers rose to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the guitarist of the legendary award-winning, multi-million-selling rock band The Police, recognized as the most successful and critically acclaimed group of the era in any genre. The Police dominated the music scene through the first half of the 1980s with several number-one records, and Summers’ innovative guitar sound was a key element of the band’s popularity, creating a new paradigm for guitarists that has been widely imitated in the decades since.
After The Police’s dramatic exit from the stage at the height of their fame, Summers embarked on a prolific solo career, including over a dozen solo albums and several notable collaborations (Robert Fripp, John Etheridge, Victor Biglione, Benjamin Verdery, Roberto Menescal, Fernanda Takai, Rodrigo Santos and Joa Barone). His output has involved successful forays into instrumental music, jazz and film scoring (2010, Down and Out in Beverly Hills) alongside his rock and pop projects, as well as acclaimed work as a photographer. In March 2005, Summers made his debut at Carnegie Hall, premiering Dark Florescence, a concerto written for him and Benjamin Verdery by composer Ingram Marshall.
Extensive touring has kept him moving across the globe, connecting with fans old and new. In 2007-8, The Police reunited for a fantastically successful world tour, the third-highest-grossing tour of all time.
In 2006 his memoir One Train Later was released to great success and was voted the number-one music book of the year in the UK by Mojo Magazine. The documentary film Can’t Stand Losing You, based on the book, was produced by the Yari Film Group and was released in North America in 2015 by Cinema Libre Studio.
Summers has been a photographer since the early days of The Police, and has published four books of his photographic work, much of which was featured in the film Can’t Stand Losing You. Exhibitions of his photos have taken place across the globe, including recent exhibitions at the Leica gallery in Los Angeles; São Paulo, Brazil; Paris Photo Los Angeles; Kunst.Licht Shanghai; CCC in Beijing; and Photokina, Germany. In 2017, Steidl will publish The Bones of Chuang Tzu, which features Andy’s photography from several journeys to China; additionally, Leica Camera AG will be releasing the Andy Summers Signature camera, and Fender will release a special-edition guitar designed by Summers.
His awards and honors include induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Guitar Player Hall of Fame, multiple GRAMMY® Awards, the Prog Guiding Light award in 2016, the Roland & BOSS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, the Key to New York City, an honorary doctorate from Bournemouth University, the Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres by the government of France, and dozens of other accolades. He has three children and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kate.
Summers’ new 2017 album, Triboluminescence, builds on the sonic and artistic framework of his lauded 2015 set, Metal Dog – with both projects embodying a style Summers has evocatively dubbed “New Exotic.” April 2017 sees the start of a Brazilian tour supporting the new record, with more dates to follow.