For their fourth album, 1981's Ghost in the Machine, the Police had streamlined their sound to focus more on their pop side and less on their trademark reggae-rock. Their jazz influence had become more prominent, as evidenced by the appearance of saxophones on several tracks. The production has more of a contemporary '80s sound to it (courtesy of Hugh Padgham, who took over for Nigel Gray), and Sting proved once and for all to be a master of the pop songwriting format.
Karl Hochman, a technician in a computer shop, is also "The Address-Book Killer", who obtains the names of his victims from stolen address-books. Terry Munroe and her son Josh come into the store to price software, and a salesman uses Terry's address-book to demonstrate a hand-held scanner. Karl obtains the file, and while driving to Terry's house that night in a heavy electrical storm, his car runs off the road and lands upside down in a cemetery. While Karl is undergoing a CAT scan at the hospital, a surge of lightning courses through the building, and Karl's mind is transformed into electrical energy. Karl uses the electrical grid and computer networks to continue his killing-spree.
Dark, somber, and thematically unified as no previous album by the Police, Ghost in the Machine deals almost exclusively with the negative effects of modern political and technological culture. The only departure from this focus is "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," a perfect pop song and radio hit. Elsewhere, the album treats such issues as the hope underlying resistance to oppression, the dismissal of most of the nonindustrialized world, the daily bombardment of words and images that overload the senses, and the frequent recourse to violence for personal or political expression. The songs are presented in what are, for the Police, unusually dense, layered arrangements. Andy Summers's guitar lines are even more ethereal than usual, with Sting's bass parts bobbing in a mix seasoned with keyboards and sax and propelled by Stewart Copeland's unmistakable, idiosyncratic drumming. While Synchronicity gave the Police their greatest success with hits and videos, Ghost in the Machine is the band's best recording…
Did you ever wonder how high the valves should lift; what happens when you scale it up or down; how big the inlet passage should be; why small engines run so fast; how heavy it will be; how the flywheel effect changes with size; how to set your lathe for greater accuracy; or how to check tapers and angles? Rudy describes and illustrates his real world approach to problem solving on these and other subjects in the shop and at the drawing board. He includes an outline and drawings of examples used in the DVD presentation.