Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Adrian Belew - Side One & Side Two (2005)

Although Adrian Belew has played with some of rock's biggest names over the years (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, the Talking Heads, King Crimson, etc.), he remains one of the most underrated and woefully overlooked guitarists of recent times. Like all great guitarists, Belew has his own recognizable style/sound (one that admittedly tends to be quirky and off-the-wall at times), and is an incredibly versatile player, as he's always found a way to make his signature style fit into a wide variety of musical genres: hard rock, funk, new wave, experimental, Beatlesque pop, and more.

By 2005, it had been nearly eight years since Adrian Belew had unleashed an all-new solo studio effort. That's not to say he wasn't busy, though, as he toured/recorded with both King Crimsonthe Bears during this time. And in the process, he became quite friendly with two of rock's top players -- Primus' Les Claypool and Tool's Danny Carey -- who happened to be major Belew fans. As a result, Belew invited the duo to play on several tracks on Side One. But be forewarned: they do not appear on the entire album, which is a shame, because the two best tracks -- "Ampersand" and "Writing on the Wall" (the latter of which is a fierce funk-rocker, quite reminiscent of early-'80s-era King Crimson) -- are the ones that contain this stellar lineup. But that's not to say the other tracks aren't worthwhile; other standouts include the noisy, repetitive epic "Madness" (which could have fit snugly on Crimson's 2003 effort, The Power to Believe) and a tribute to pachyderms everywhere, the appropriately titled "Elephants."
mp3 - 320kbps - rar - 55mb

No big guest stars on this one; Belew handles just about everything entirely solo. Longtime fans may be a bit surprised by the prevalence of electronic sounds, loops, and synthesized percussion, but Belew has really done a great job of incorporating them into his sound. The lyrics are deliberately sparse (inspired by Haiku), which allows for much more focus on the music and atmosphere. In fact, Belew has pretty much forsaken any "pop" aspirations here and fully pursued his more experimental muse, which will absolutely delight many of his longtime fans (and perhaps alienate the more pop-oriented ones a bit, though nothing here really qualifies as harsh or difficult listening). The album is filled with great sounds and textures, and there is plenty of ferocious guitar playing, as expected. The running time is fairly brief but there are essentially no breaks between songs, so the end of the album is like the end of a wild ride; it was a lot of fun but you're about ready for a break. However, you just might want to heed the whispered advice at the end of the album.

mp3 - 320 kbps - rar - 75mb

* If anyone knows where I can find Side Three please lemme know in the comments or email hfigurine @ hotmail. com


Eric said...

Thanks, I love Belew. You wouldn't have "Mr. Music Head", by any chance, would you?

H. said...

I wish I did! Unfortunately these are the only Belew albums I have at the moment. If/ when I find more I will post them. He's an amazing and very unique player!

andy said...

thanks for the Belew...he's one of my musical heroes. I'm new to blogging, so I haven't tried uploading yet, but I have some good solo Adrian including Mr. Music Head, Young Lions, Inner Revolution, Desire of the Rhino King, as well as the first 2 Bears discs...any tips for a rookie uploader would be appreciated!

Anonymous said...

would be happy to send you side three as well as a vinyl rip of oh daddy if you could just assist me in getting side one and two which are listed as "currently unavailable"