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Adrian Belew

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Adrian Belew Side Two album cover
3.50 | 52 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dead Dog On Aspahalt (4:05)
2. I Wish I Knew (3:19)
3. Face To Face (3:03)
4. Asleep (5:23)
5. Sex Nerve (3:06)
6. Then What (3:02)
7. Quicksand (3:19)
8. I Know Now (1:26)
9. Happiness (1:53)
10. Sunlight (4:32)

Total Time 32:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / vocals and instruments, producer

- Erick Cole / acoustic guitar (2), balalaika (3), Theremin (4)
- Peter Hyrka / violin (4)
- Gary Tussing / cello (4)
- Leah Belew / whispering (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Adrian Belew

CD Sanctuary Records ‎- 06076-84755-2 (2005, US)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ADRIAN BELEW Side Two ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ADRIAN BELEW Side Two reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Part two of Adrian Belew's musical trio is something entirely different from the first. While Side One featured predominantly Krimson overtones and manic guitar, this one features a more synthetic approach, with drum loops and synth pads being the dominant rhytmic force. Adrian Belew still adds the manic guitar, though, but not as predominantly as in Side One. His musicianship on this album is top notch, everything sounds great, and everything is played to perfection.

Stand out tracks for me are Asleep, which features Adrian's daughter Leah whisphering into the speakers, but also contains wild guitar and a steady trance beat. Happiness has a circus feel to it, with haunting organ sounds filling the speakers. The lyrics on this album are all haikus according to the liner notes, and they still feature Adrian's wit and quirky flavor while trying to go in new directions. My overall favorite track on the album, though, is the opener Dead Dog on Asphalt. This song features dissonant guitar work that gives the song a more haunting feel. Adrian's solo on this one is among the best on the album, it also features that dissonance and keeps the feel of the song perfectly.

Overall, this is a slight improvement over Side One. While Side One was almost perfect, this one is even closer to perfection. My only gripe is that some of the more electronic pieces sound similar in structure. Regardless, this one is one of the best albums I've heard. Let's hope Side Three is the masterpiece the fans are waiting for. 4.5/5

Review by Hangedman
4 stars Now this album blew me away. Side 1 while very good, was nothing to rant about. I only bought Side 2 on a curious whim. Never has one of my whims paid off so heavily. Adrian treads ground he's never walked over before, and that's saying a lot for such an accomplished musician. The only flaw is that the album is only 33 minutes and 12 seconds. It does not have enough substance to be a masterpiece.

The sparse simplistic vocals paired with the looping makes an amazing trancelike atmospheric sound. Every time I listen I'm completely absorbed into the patterns that lay the foundations to the songs. Now this wouldn't be Adrian Belew if there wasn't some his trademark drowning in whammy guitar. Id say the greatest accomplishment of the album is that despite its short length once you get to the end of the experience it doesn't leave you wanting more. You are completely satisfied with where the album has brought you, the thought that it evokes is impressive. Belew's lyrics don't get more than an amused smile from me, but he manages to pull you in emotionally and cognitively this time. Despite the fact the album is minimalist in nature, Belew and the guest musicians manage to pay some well put together and difficult compositions.

There isn't a weak track on the entire album, from the raw power of "Dead Dog On Asphalt" and its assault on the soul with Belew's furious yet held back guitar, right to "Sunlight" and its uplifting looping synth textures you don't lose interest once. Highlights include "Asleep" this song uses all of the albums focus very well, its a moving and creepy song which the synth/drum loops combine seamlessly with guitar instead of almost playing against each other as with the rest of the album. Also "Happiness" in where the song seems to mock the title, its short but gets across its meaning brilliantly.

Like I said just short of a masterpiece rating, and so far (with it being August 1st 2005) this is the album of the year. Id suggest you buy it even if you couldn't stand Side 1. Adrian fixes every fault (musically and conceptually anyways) and has made a very strong addition to an already great discography. Side 3 has a lot to live up to.

Review by Tristan Mulders
2 stars Adrian Belew - Side Two

This was my first encounter with KING CRIMSON's Adrian Belew's solo work and I must say it wasn't that good if you ask me. It seems that Adrian doesn't really mind using any sort of standard pattern, instead you get ethereal melodies, weird drum(computer) rhythms and his trademark guitar playing. Personally, I quite like parts of it when I'm in a specific mood, but on the other hand, there are moments when I really can't listen to his music, if you get my point, it just isn't my cup'o tea so to speak. You really have to be in a certain kind of mood to appreciate the abstractness of Belew's compositions. I heard the other "Side" albums as well, but those didn't even remotely connect with me on any sort of level...

I mean.. Belew manages to make the most commercial track on this album to sound like an acid trip... hey, that sums all of his music up in one sentence.. Spaced-out music can be rather enjoyable, but this is something you listen to once and never again.

I think this will make a lot of King Crimson fans happy, but if you need some sort of 'guiding light' in a musical composition, please stay away from this as far as you can!

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Side Two" of Adrian Belew's series of albums after his last stint with King Crimson sees Belew handling everything on his own. All instruments and vocals are performed by him alone. Also, where "Side One" concentrated more on the raw energy of actual instruments and very little electronic enhancement, "Side Two" sees more use of electronic use, though there is still a generous helping of Belew's tasty guitar antics. The lyrics are not as extensive as on the previous album either, the words are fewer and written more in a "Haiku" style.

"Dead Dog on Asphalt" starts it off, and it also reflects the artwork on the cover which was painted by Belew from inspiration he had after accidentally hitting a dog while driving his truck. The sound is less chaotic than the first album, but no less experimental and not anymore accessible. The tone is a bit frosty, still sounding much like the work he did with King Crimson, and even, at times, sounds a bit like Radiohead. The first track has some great guitar work pared with keys and electronics, but "I Wish I Knew" is much darker (strangely enough) and heavier on the use of loops and etc. "Face to Face" once again pushes the tempo up, but staying with a more automatic tempo, more straightforward than on the previous album, this track could have almost got away with being radio friendly, but it's still catchy and interesting, plus, never fear, Belew's guitar work is still here.

As on the previous album, the tracks are not very long, and even though there are 10 tracks this time, the overall timing is the same. "Asleep" takes the prize for being the longest track, but stays safely within the 5 minute boundary. This track is based around a sneaky, repeating bass line, but is surrounded by Belew's unique phrasing on his guitar, adding a bit of glitchy-ness to the sound his "bow-like" playing. The last half of this track slips into a bit of experimentalism, losing the beat in the middle for a while as there is some free-form atmospherics, but then later returning to the repeating riff and vocals, and this time what sounds like some violin. "Sex Nerve" goes for a smoother sound with more repeated electronic effects, but still leaving time for freedom on the guitar, and somewhat sultry singing and lyrics. "Then What" goes full-on "Kid A" mode with crazy electronics and tortured guitar. Being a Radiohead fan, I mean this as a complete compliment. It doesn't sound so much like he is trying to copy their sound, it sounds like he helped them invent it.

"Quicksand" sounds similar somewhat to King Crimson's "Man with an Open Heart", but with a bit more of the electronics added in among swashes of guitar. "I Know Now" is a short, somewhat harsh sounding guitar free-for-all played over programmed percussion. "Happiness" is another short track that sounds like bright happy instruments that have been warped by an evil entity with dissonant music box sounds and such. The album ends with "Sunlight" with more Radiohead style percussion and loops overlayed with a more complex improvisation, but light and airy sounding. Vocals start after a minute.

This album is a bit more cohesive then "Side One" that was pretty strong up until the last few tracks and then lost focus. It isn't as loud and chaotic as the first one, and that might disappoint some people, but it is still pretty good, and it stays more even throughout. However, its main fault is the same as "Side One", its too short. As with that album, I also say with this one, the two should have been put together into one album, and then it would have been worth a 5 star rating. Alone, however, also like its predecessor, it is 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars My old records with Belew was all very diffrent in style, Lone Rhino, Desire cought by the Tail, and Young Lions. So i had no idear what to expect from this. Especialy because 15 year have gone by where i havent listened to anything from Belew, besides what he done with King Crimson. Turns ... (read more)

Report this review (#243636) | Posted by tamijo | Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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