Stripped is the first studio album in 14 years from Daniel Ash, the guitarist of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets and Tones on Tail. A longtime resident of Ojai — a place where a lot of British expats seem to settle down; Malcolm McDowell and Rocky Horror theatrical impresario Michael White spring to mind — Ash is one of the greatest, most underrated guitarists to come out of the ’80s. His playing is at points inventive, furious and shimmering; along with Robert Smith of The Cure and John McGeoch of Siouxsie and the Banshees, he represented a range of possibilities on the guitar that upended mainstream rock’s notion of what a guitar should do. On Stripped, Ash takes various Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets songs and radically reconfigures them through lenses of dub and electro until they become almost unrecognizable slabs of sound, sparking out of the speakers like so many ninja-throwing stars. “So Alive,” “Love Me,” “OK, This is the Pops,” “Mirror People,” “Christian Says” and seven other tracks get treated to Ash’s restless re-envisioning, while the specter of his seething guitar lurks in the shadows. One of the most startling records you will hear this year.
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