Adrian Belew — Side Two
(Sanctuary Records 06076-84755-2, 2005, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01Adrian Belew has taken up painting, the kind with a canvas and brushes. The cover of this disk features his first ever work, an abstracted depiction of the dog he accidentally hit and killed while out driving one day. Coincidentally, the first track on this CD is called “Dead Dog on Asphalt” and it ushers in an album replete with angular melodies, dissonant electronica, keening wammy-bar guitar, and techno percussion. Vocals are sparse, often a song title lazily repeated as icing on the cake, though even the longer verses take on poetic resonance (Belew claims he wrote everything in haiku form). The spaciousness of the vocals beautifully suits the arrangements that, though often multi-layered, never feel cluttered or dense. This is the most atmospheric I’ve ever seen Belew with many songs thickly textural (“I Wish I Knew,” “Sex Nerve”) even while pushing the edges with harsh Fripp/Pinhas guitar or searing electronics. This applies to the more rhythmic tracks (“Face to Face,” “Then What”) that, while more accessible, never leave the vaguely bleak and disturbed mood infecting this disk. Just about the time you being to wonder if Belew needs some counseling he pops up with the closer “Sunlight” that, with its modal and ethereal arrangement glued to a low-fat techno rhythmic drive sounds like a modern take on “Tomorrow Never Knows” and leaves you with the sense that Adrian’s just fine. Like all good artists, he’s just letting us know how he’s feeling today. Recommended.
Related artist(s): Adrian Belew
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more