Exposé Online banner

Adrian Belew — Side Two
(Sanctuary Records 06076-84755-2, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01

Side Two Cover artAdrian 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.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Adrian Belew

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sahara - Sunrise & For All the Clowns – Formed from the ashes of Subject Esq., Sahara got lost among the mass of other mid-70s German prog groups (Grobschnitt, Novalis, SFF, et al.) in spite of their good distribution, though they didn't...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues