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Adrian Belew

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Adrian Belew Side Three album cover
4.00 | 86 ratings | 10 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Troubles (3:13)
2. Incompetence Differerence (5:01)
3. Water Turns to Wine (3:46)
4. Crunk (1:17)
5. Drive (3:27)
6. Cinemusic (1:37)
7. Whatever (3:17)
8. Men In Helicopters v4.0 (3:07)
9. Beat Box Car (4:30)
10. Truth Is (1:34)
11. The Red Bell Rides a Boomerang Across the Blue Constellation (4:34)
12. & (3:17)

Total Time: 35:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / vocals and instruments, producer

- Robert Fripp / flute (?) guitar (3)
- Mel Collins / saxophone (9), flute (10)
- Les Claypool / bass (7,8)
- Danny Carey / drums (7,8)
- The Prophet Omega / radio broadcast voice (1)
- Martha Belew / telephone message voice (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Adrian Belew

CD Sanctuary Records ‎- 06076-84777-2 (2006, US)

Thanks to Cygnus X-2 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ADRIAN BELEW Side Three ratings distribution

(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

ADRIAN BELEW Side Three reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Throughout the past year, Adrian Belew has been on a mission to release a three part album journey simply titled Side One, which was released in January of 2005, Side Two, released in July of 2005, and finally it comes to a stunning conclusion with Side Three, which was released commercially today. Along the way, Adrian has gone through many different styles of music, ranging from King Crimson-esque dissonant compositions to more laid back groove songs, from electronic music to circus music, one thing is certain, this man has an eclectic style of music. On this album, he comes full circle with his ideas and knocks one out of the park. Once again, Belew brings in an array of guest musicians, ranging from Danny Carey of Tool fame and Les Claypool of Primus fame, and on this album all-star musicians Robert Fripp and Mel Collins (both of King Crimson fame). Adrian himself takes care of all the instruments on this album, save for a few moments where the guest musicians get their turn in the spotlight.

The album begins with Troubles, the grooving bass line augmented with some superb dialogue from The Prophet Omega and a great guitar theme from Belew. A great way to start off the album, with some very strong musicianship from Belew. Incompetence Difference has some nice chordal phrases from Belew, and his spoken lyrics (which come off the tongue quite well), and he brings back the voice distorter that he used back on ProzaKc Blues (The ConstrucKtion of Light). His wife, Martha, offers a telephone message in the vein of those automated messages and that ends the song quite well. Turning Water to Wine is the sole composition on the album to feature Adrian's longtime friend and colleague Robert Fripp on guitar, but his contributions on the album are nonetheless stunning. His "flute guitar" fills in between the verses are quite stunning and Adrian's vocal and guitar work on this song are also quite breathtaking. The song also has the feeling of Side Two (the electronic percussion work makes it stand out). Crunk is a minute of guitar insanity, with Adrian going off on a tangent of a solo, leaving no prisoners and absolutely creating a sonic assault on the listener, absolutely stunning work.

Drive begins with the starting of a car engine, and the acceleration of said car. The tabla, the grooving bassline, the ethereal guitar work, it all works so perfectly, with Belew's gentle vocals and distorted dialogue. That King Crimson feeling of dissonance also returns with this song, and it works wonderfully when put together with the other elements in the song. Cinemusic is an anxious, nervous, and mysterious piece of music, with an orchestral feeling intro, but suddenly it becomes a nightmarish track of haunting bells and various sound effects. It has that feeling of Happiness back on Side Two. Whatever is the first track on the album to feature Danny Carey and Les Claypool as the rhythm unit, and they drive this one home with a phenomenal bass/drum groove over Belew's groovy guitar work. Belew's lead work on this song is phenomenal, taking his quirkiness to the max, with double tracked leads and some great vocal work from Belew. Men in Helicopters v4.0 takes cues from Matchless Man off of Side One, and tones down the action from the group. This song has a majestic, orchestral feel to it, with some great snare work from Carey and double bass work from Claypool. The backing "orchestra" as it were is stunning and it takes the variety of the album into an entirely new direction.

Beat Box Car brings back the main theme from Beat Box Guitar from Side One (which landed Belew a Grammy Nomination), but this time things get a lot more quirky. This is obtained mainly through the great saxophone work from Mel Collins (ex-King Crimson), which takes the listener by surprise. But that isn't the only noteworthy thing about this track, Belew's guitar work is phenomenal and he adds a new layer of ingenuity to the track that was released last year. Truth Is begins with some nice guitar work from Belew, a great acoustic breakdown. It is similar to the Inner Garden songs on Thrak, simply because it has just vocal and guitar. But that's the beginning. After the first verse, some nice flute from Mel Collins swirls wonderfully with Belew's acoustic breakdowns. The Red Bell Rides a Boomerang Across the Blue Constellation has a similar feeling to that of Nuages (Which Passes Like Clouds) off of Three of a Perfect Pair, it has this abstract/ethereal feeling to it augmented with great sound effects, and a bass line that sort of reminds me of a part in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds album. Abstract bits of vocal act as an intro to a section that has percussion similar to that of Side Two. Themes from songs all over Side One and Two recur in this track, such as the guitar theme to Elephants from Side One, and the main theme from Happiness on Side Two. & ends the album, it essentially is a reworking of Ampersand (which opened Side One). The lyrics on this track are superb, and Belew gives it a completely different feeling (mainly because he plays all the instruments on this one, as opposed to Belew and Carey on Side One). And soon enough, the Ampersand theme ends and the tribal percussion at the end give us a great send off to what is a masterpiece.

So in the end, this is Belew's masterpiece. Nothing I've heard from the man can surpass this album, it's a great ride from start to finish and I recommend anyone who even remotely knows of this man (or is a fan of Les Claypool or Danny Carey) get this album immediately. From the stunning artwork (by Belew himself) to the lyrics and creativity put forth, this album is nothing short of genious. It is the best album I've heard in 2006 so far, and it's going to be hard to top it. I give it my highest recommendation. 5/5.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars The final installment in a trilogy, Adrian Belew's Side Three ends Belews strange and wonderful journey perfectly. Although it does bring back some old material (though moreso just riffs and various sounds) the twists that are put on it make it fit just right to bring it full circle. Adrain Belew is certianly a very talented musican, and really this trilogy is the proof you need. Aside from a few guest musicans (which are used sparingly on this album) Adrain tackles all the instruments. Needless to say, instrumentation is top-notch. The Lyrics are strange, quirky, funny, brillant, and really fitting to the music. The guest musicans really stand out as well. Mel Collins with a fantastic sax solo in Beat Box Car, Robert Fripp with a great flute guitar solo in Water Turns To Wine, and Les Claypool and Danny Carey on bass and drums, respecfully, giving great performances and really giving a nice bottom end to the songs they feature in (Whatever and Men In Helicopters V4.0). On to the highlights.

Highlights: Incompetence Indifference: Perhaps my favorite song on the album (and the longest) describes the poor state that our socitey is in where no one cares for anyone but themselves. However, Belew turns the sad into something funny with a guest voicing by his wife Martha. Definitly my favorite lryics on the album. Water Turns To Wine: The aforementioned Fripp flute guitar solo. I love the way Fripp can manipulate his instrament like that. Granted i'm sure its just a couple of special hook-ups and connections and the like, but it comes off really nice. Other then that, solid lyrics and great playing by Belew round this off to be a great track. Men In Helicopters V4.0: The second track to feature Carey and Claypool. Awesome string arrangment here which gives it a majestic quality to the song. Poignent lyrics as well which makes pushes this track over the edge. Beat Box Car: At the core of this song is the same song from Side One, Beat Box Guitar. Not only is it one of my favorites on that album, Beat Box Car is one of my favorites here as well. Just when you think you're in for the exact same ride, Boom! Enter the magnificent sax solo by Collins. Totally unexpected and shows off this man's skill at the sax. Great stuff! Also, just to change it up a bit, it ends on a much weirder note then the original. The Red Bull Rides A Boomerang...: Bizarre. Really all over the place. A form of organized choas that i don't feel Belew has ever reached before. And it comes off absolutly brillent. A track you must hear to believe. Even though i haven't highlight every song, there is something positive that can be said about every song here, which makes the album that more enjoyable.

All in all, this is probably the best album that i've heard of 2006. A very fitting end to a fabulous trilogy of albums. An album that would fit into any prog collection. I hope for many more albums of this calibar from Mr. Belew. Highly Recommended!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Iv'e been listening to "The Power To Believe" by KING CRIMSON a lot lately and couldn't help but notice some similarities between that release and this one. Of course there are more differences than similarities but the fact Adrian Belew is singing and playing guitar on both can't be ignored, as well neither record has any keyboards played on them. You might say this is a lot lighter and funnier.The unique guitar playing of Adrian is all over this record, as well as his sense of humour.

The record starts off with "Troubles" with Mel Collins doing the vocals on this funny song with guitar soundscapes accompanying his voice. "Incompetance Difference" is a funny story ala ZAPPA. "Water Turns To Wine" is a slow paced tune with great vocals and interesting soundscapes including Mr.Fripp playing a fluteguitar. "Crunk" features a unique guitar melody with percussion. "Drive" opens with a car starting and driving away, then percussion, guitar and gentle vocals.

"Cinemusic" is a short instrumental consisting of sound effects and samples. "Whatever" and the next song "Men In Helicopters Part IV" feature Danny Carey on drums and Les Claypool on bass forming a formidable rhythm section. I like the melody of the former song while I prefer the lyrics to the latter which is also a little Beatlesque if you ask me. "Beat Box Car" features Mel Collins on sax in a great sounding song. "Truth Is" has Mel on flute this time in this haunting tune. The next song with the long title is experimental sounding with samples while a rhythm is created by the percussion.The last song "&" has some more great unique guitar and outstanding drumming.

This is highly recommended, an enjoyable listen !

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Side Three' - Adrian Belew (5/10)

Now this is eclectic if an album ever deserved the title. The talented guitarist and singer Adrian Belew seems to pack about as many different sounds and styles into a half hour as could be considered healthy... Bringing some of the best musicians around in for this project (virtuoso bassist Les Claypool, King Crimson's Robert Fripp and drummer Daney Carey of Tool fame, to name a few) and covering everything from industrial to ambient, funk, and baroque pop, it goes without saying that this was an ambitious project to undertake. Despite the obvious effort that went into this undertaking and some superb musical moments however, 'Side Three' doesn't really feel like a cohesive piece of work, much less a masterpiece.

'Side Three's state of being very scattered may have been unavoidable. Trying to go in too many directions always runs the risk of going in no particular direction at all. As a result, 'Side Three' feels more like a collection of unfinished musical ideas. With most songs around or under the three minute mark, few of the tracks get much, if any of a chance to really flourish and reach their potential. Only a handful of tracks feel like they have been properly crafted into songs; mainly the first two tracks (the playful numbers 'Troubles' and 'Incompetence Indifference') and the beautifully arranged 'Men In Helicopters,' which wears a 'Sgt. Peppers' influence on it's sleeve.

Despite the criticism of structure, much of the actual music itself on 'Side Three' is very good, if short lived. Belew presents some very tastefully done ambient ideas, and seems to give a sample of just about everything else he was into at the time of recording. Things even seem to take a dive into the realms of noise and industrial, which may turn some people off of this record but not to worry; even the less enjoyable tracks are over before you know it.

Adrian Belew is certainly a talented individual. The ability to coordinate such a wide variety of musicians and styles and release it all under a single title is no small feat. However, it may have suited the man better had he decided to hold back on throwing so much different material onboard, and took the time to develop a few of the ideas more fully. Had this happened, I have no doubt that 'Side Three' would have become a much more enjoyable, and satisfying release.

Review by admireArt
4 stars One thing you know or should know about Adrian Belew's solo projects is this crystal clear fact: He does not asssume himself as any kind of reference or musical- line. In fact he as his sometimes music colleague Frank Zappa rather be joking than been taken seriously.

This guy sets the tone for this kind of sophisticated "clowning" performances with an undertoned virtuosism. The great thing of course is his multi-skilled talents with other instruments, as his Zappa, King Crimson guitar master level.

So that is the whole "package" and from there he will go anyway his fancy takes him off. So, to balance his talents, he can turn out to be sometimes amusing, boring, intelligent, frantic, spiritual, etc., etc.

Therefore some of his self-titled efforts can be as excellent, as so-so, or plain down expendable but they are always and almost by rule personal & daring projects as he has no kind of ambitious/vicious goals beyond his association with Prog "legends" and the thrill of performance.

He pens down his music compositions but really anything can happen as they turn around in any kind of different direction and atmosphere.

Now, considering this "hazardous/blessing" process in his solo efforts "Side Three" is perfectly matched, both in aspirations as in songwriting.

So to close things up this album is a flawless display of Mr. Belew's antics and performance skills and as diverse, as creative, as fun, as intelligent as to withhold the whole project, without losing a drop of all his best attributes and still be irreverent and deep in the whole conception without being or becoming pretentious and even less sounding like that.

If you like this musician tone and style here he sets some new standards even for himself!.

****4 "We were long overdue!!", PA Stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Adrian Belew continued on his quartet of albums released between 2005-06 with 'Side Three' on which he continues to explore his eclectic and experimental side quite well. This is the Belew we all hoped would develop after years with King Crimson. While he took the sound and expanded on it, KC would choose a different path that Fripp said Belew would not be right for. So he started generating his own music by forming his own Power Trio, working with Nine Inch Nails, developing his FLUX apps, and so on. These 'Side' albums were the bridge to these new projects (along with the amazing 'e' album that would come later).

As on the other albums in the series, Belew provides most all of the instrumentation, but, as on 'Side One', he also utilizes many of his friends to help bring in more depth to the tracks. The album starts with 'Troubles', a strong, strutting track with a catchy hook bringing in the listener, and then an almost rap-like preaching spoken word section from 'The Prophet Omega'. Sounds weird, but it works, in a funny kind of way. This track not only shows Belew's creativity to make a catchy song, but also highlights his sense of humor. 'Incomplete Indifference' goes for the funky, guitar scratchy vibe while Belew does some spoken word 'poetry' himself, again another catchy strut-style rhythm brings the listener in. Belew later sings, and includes his low and heavy voice in a sing-song style that we have heard previously in King Crimson and Zappa tracks, again utilizing a playful feel to describe someone's woes with technology. Great stuff.

'Water Turns to Wine' brings in his fellow Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp playing a flute guitar. That most definitely has to be a Fripp invention. This one is more experimental, but still maintains some accessibility and is surprisingly smooth and mellow. It's a nice sound and even with the unique sounds here, it still is easy to digest even from the first listen, and, of course, Fripp amazes. 'Crunk' is a short track with a heavy beat and crazy Belew guitar antics. 'Drive' is a lovely, atmospheric and almost ambient track that is in a more experimental style, with even more guitar tricks. 'Cinemusic' is another short track that starts with a chord drone, then slips into music-box and noisy weirdness. Cool.

Now Belew brings back Les Claypool and Danny Carey (they were both guests on 'Side One') for the next two tracks. Starting with 'Whatever', the three musicians establish a funky, yet quirky groove. Belew does a sort of call and answer style vocal with one voice trades back and forth with layered voices, almost like a conversation of sorts while the crazy guitar/bass/drum trio continues to play noise funk behind it all. The trio continues on the next track with 'Men in Helicopters v4.0' which uses a moderate march rhythm accented by strings and Belew's singing. This one is totally unexpected considering the musicians involved, and it turns out to be a nice surprise.

'Beat Box Car' is a nod back to 'Side One's' 'Beat Box Guitar'. An automatic percussion and guitar loop provides the foundation while synths and Belew's guitar spread out a smorgasbord of sound to a catchy beat and a sudden appearance on the second half or Mel Collins playing a sax that matches the wild carefree attitude of the track. There is a short track called 'Truth Is' which features an acoustic sounding guitar that has a sort of 'Clavier' sound to it, some flute by Collins, and some deep lyrics. So much packed into a short track. Then along comes 'The Red Bull Rides a Boomerang Across the Blue Constellation', which is an interesting, experimental soundscape of beastly noises, African drums looping a rhythm and electronic and organic textures and noises. It is experimental, yet strangely engaging noise rock. The last track here is '&', again a nod back to 'Side One' as the first track there was 'Ampersand'. It takes the rock n roll riff from 'Ampersand' and twists it all around, to make it a new version, even including Belew's lyrics. It's an alternate version, but so different form the original that it almost makes it new. It makes a nice bookend track that surrounds the entire project nicely. Yes there is a 'Side Four', but it is a live album that takes tracks from this series of albums and also brings in some King Crimson tracks and older Belew tracks, all performed by 'Adrian Belew's Power Trio', the original one with the extremely talented Slick siblings. That album is also worth checking out.

So, 'Side Three' in my opinion, is the strongest of the series with a great variety of songs that somehow still come out more cohesive than ever. This time the album manages to make it to 40 minutes, which is another big plus, and the songs seem more complete and finished that ever, even the short tracks. Where 'Side One' was overall, a louder album heavy on guitar and KC styles, 'Side Two' showed the more electronic version of Belew as he messes around with newer sounds and 'Radiohead' style tracks, 'Side Three' on the other hand, brings it all together, mostly coming out less complex, but still eclectic, but more on the mellower side, I suppose. Don't let that scare you away though, this is still the strongest (an most creative) collection of the three. This series of albums is a definite must for those that want to hear Belew at his best, but also for those that love that era of King Crimson. All of the albums ended up with 4-star ratings, even though Side Three is the best of them. The main reason is because of them being so brief. Together, however, the series makes up a masterpiece and is one example where the whole is greater than the separate parts.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Side Three is the final piece of Belew's Side trilogy, all released in the early Two Thousands. I adore Frank Zappa and King Crimson, but have found it hard to get into Adrian's solo stuff in the past. Well this was the album I've always waited to hear as I find this album a terrific balance b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1948152) | Posted by WFV | Friday, July 13, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Adrian Belew is always produces fresh compositions and is indisputably an original guitarist with a masterful style all his own. His lyrics are witty, original, and tries to explore new styles and subjects....his environmental issues aside. There a undoubtedly an element of the avant-garde in m ... (read more)

Report this review (#114085) | Posted by convocation | Friday, March 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not a masterpiece but a great album showing that avantgarde can be enjoyable if you create real melodies and keep the groove! I would categorize this into post-prog together with tMV and Godspeed you black Emperor... etc. The sound is truly from current millenium although there are leanings to KC ... (read more)

Report this review (#89344) | Posted by pirkka | Saturday, September 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I wont go in depth with this review, as the two previous reviews of this album have done that to great effect. This album is one of the best I have heard in the past five years, and I believe will be my favorite of 2006. From Belew's wonderful Beatle-esque pop symphonic songs, to his soundscap ... (read more)

Report this review (#85084) | Posted by YYZed | Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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