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ADRIAN BELEW

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Adrian Belew biography
Robert Steven Belew - Born December 23, 1949 (Covington, USA)

Belew's first instrument of interest was the drums, as he soon kept the backbeat in his high school's marching band. But not long after his discovery of the Beatles, Belew picked up the guitar, teaching himself how to play and to write original songs. In 1975, he officially changed his name to Adrian (because he liked the name).

During the mid/late 70's, Adrian did work with FRANK ZAPPA, which in turn led to his meeting with BRIAN ENO, which in turn led him to his work with the TALKING HEADS. After the album that he worked on with the group came out, Robert Fripp approached Adrian and asked if he would like to join a new version of KING CRIMSON. "Discipline" came out in 1981, and the album featured Adrian's Roland Guitar Synth, which provided many bizarre sounds to the already stellar sound. His first solo album, "Lone Rhino" was released in 1982. In the following years, Adrian would release many other solo efforts, and would collaborate with such artists as David Bowie and Porcupine Tree.

In 2005, Adrian released the first third of his concept piece titled "Side One". This album featured the talents of Les Claypool (Primus) on the bass guitar and Danny Carey (Tool) on the drums. This album had many bizarre Krimson-esque sound and was acclaimed by fans and critics. "Side Two" was released on July 12, 2005. It features a more electronic approach to the sound, but still has some Krimson guitar sounds.

Adrian Belew pushes the envelope with his musical direction and spirit. I highly recommend that you delve into the depths of Adrian Belew's catalogue.

Why this band must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
The majority of his output is progressive in my opinion, and fellow Krimson members Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn are included.

Discography:
Lone Rhino (1982), Studio Album
Twang Bar King (1983), Studio Album
Electronic Guitar (1985), Video
Desire Caught by the Tail (1986), Studio Album
Mr. Music Head (1989), Studio Album
Oh Daddy/ Peaceable Kingdom (1989), Single
Young Lions (1990), Studio Album
Not Alone Anymore (1990), Single
Desire of the Rhino King (1991), Studio Album
Inner Revolution (1992), Studio Album
Acoustic Adrian Belew (1993), Compilation
Here (1994), Studio Album
Peace on Earth (1994), Single
Guitar as Orchestra (1...
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ADRIAN BELEW discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ADRIAN BELEW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 72 ratings
Lone Rhino
1982
3.11 | 33 ratings
Twang Bar King
1983
3.41 | 29 ratings
Desire Caught By The Tail
1986
2.79 | 30 ratings
Mr. Music Head
1989
2.27 | 40 ratings
Young Lions
1990
2.78 | 29 ratings
Inner Revolution
1992
2.73 | 21 ratings
The Acoustic Adrian Belew
1993
3.38 | 31 ratings
Here
1994
2.52 | 16 ratings
Experimental Guitar Series Vol. 1 - The Guitar As Orchestra
1995
3.97 | 39 ratings
Op Zop Too Wah
1996
3.49 | 17 ratings
Belew Prints - The Acoustic Adrian Belew Vol. 2
1998
5.00 | 1 ratings
Kevin Max & Adrian Belew: Raven Songs 101
2003
3.53 | 61 ratings
Side One
2005
3.50 | 46 ratings
Side Two
2005
3.99 | 81 ratings
Side Three
2006
4.23 | 37 ratings
Adrian Belew Power Trio: E
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Michael Clay & Adrian Belew: A Cup Of Coffee And A Slice Of Time
2009
4.91 | 3 ratings
Metropole Orkest: E For Orchestra
2011
3.80 | 6 ratings
Flux - Volume One
2016
4.50 | 2 ratings
Flux - Volume Two
2017
3.00 | 1 ratings
Flux - Volume Three
2018
3.17 | 11 ratings
Pop Sided
2019

ADRIAN BELEW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 15 ratings
Side Four
2007

ADRIAN BELEW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ADRIAN BELEW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 9 ratings
Desire Of The Rhino King
1991
3.94 | 8 ratings
Salad Days
1998
3.86 | 5 ratings
Coming Attractions
2000
4.50 | 2 ratings
Lone Rhino/Twang Bar King
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Twenty
2015

ADRIAN BELEW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.27 | 2 ratings
Big Electric Cat / The Lone Rhinocerous
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Joan Miro's Procession Through the Insides of a Purple Antelope Across a Sea of Tuna Fish
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Oh Daddy
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pretty Pink Rose (12" Single)
1990
3.75 | 4 ratings
Pretty Pink Rose
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Enough
1994
4.00 | 2 ratings
Dust
2014

ADRIAN BELEW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Side Three by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 81 ratings

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Side Three
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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.

 Side Two by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.50 | 46 ratings

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Side Two
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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.

 Side One by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.53 | 61 ratings

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Side One
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Adrian Belew took a break from his solo career after 1996 to continue his work with King Crimson. However, after KC released 'Power to Believe', that band went on hiatus again, and Belew went back to releasing solo albums. His 13th solo album was released in 2005 and was the first part of a trilogy of albums, this one entitled 'Side One'. This is the album that is notorious for featuring Les Claypool and Danny Carey (Tool) on the first 3 tracks. The placement of these tracks as the first three make for an easy transition from Belew's King Crimson days as the carry the same style of loud, almost abstract playing, very eclectic with heavy grooves.

The beginning trio of tracks start with 'Ampersand', a hard and heavy, complex rocker with the involvement of top-notch musicians. There is a rock n roll foundation that definitely stands out even with the heavy guitar, bass and drum layers, and layered vocals on top of it all. The ending is quite chaotic and noisy. 'Writing on the Wall' gets funky and effectively combines the weirdness and brashness of Belew's guitar with the punch of Claypool's bass and Carey's solid, complex drumming. It makes you wish this was a supergroup, but alas, the lineup only lasts for 1/3 of the album. The track is crazy, cool and tasty. 'Matchless Man' ends this dream trio with Carey mellowing out using a tabla, Belew making his guitar sound almost violin-like, and Claypool adding an almost jazz-like bass. Mysterious and a bit bizarre, very KC-like.

The question is, can the rest of the album live up to the supergroup feel provided on the first 3 tracks? 'Madness' follows with Belew unleashing his mean and heavy guitar sounds while he provides his own bass and drums this time on this instrumental. The track takes part of its inspiration from Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian with its complex instrumental lines, noise and dissonance. The rhythm is provided by the slow and steady pounding of a solid, moderate beat, chunky bass and angry guitar. The longest track on the album, it almost reaches the 7 minute mark. Belew proves he can be a supergroup all by himself on this sonic jam. 'Walk Around the World' uses Belew's unique combination of his vocals, funky guitar and complex sounds. The one man band is helped out on this one by Gary Tussing on cello and Peter Hyrka on violin, but Belew provides everything else. The sudden addition of strong bass is a welcome sound to keep the track fresh. 'Beat Box Guitar' is the last of the tracks making up the middle third of the album. This track was nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' in 2005, but lost to Les Paul and Friends. This track is a cool, effects-heavy track with a nice accessible beat, record static backing up snappy guitar riffs and effects and tinny percussion until the last section where the drums become fuller and the guitar bursts with personality. It is quite a brilliant piece of work.

The last third of the album is by far the shortest third with three tracks that average under two minutes each. 'Under the Radar' is a neat, little atmospheric track with a psychedelic sounding vocal melody, 'Elephants' starts with the BBC announcer Ian Wallace, and then Belew using his guitar to imitate an angry elephant and some spoken word field recording peppered among the plodding sounds, and the 'Pause' ends the album with spooky sounding effects followed by some violin/guitar playing, then fading.

The last three tracks are okay, but almost seem to be tacked on to the end of the album in order to make it reach the 33 minute mark so that it could be considered an album, not an EP. This is the biggest fault of the album, as up to track 7, it sounds very much like a 5 star album, but then the short experimental tracks don't really fit in with the rest of the album making it feel like a bad extension. The album is too short as a result of this. It feels like a strong album and then is let down by the short, experimental ending tracks. It still comes out as a 4 star album, however, but maybe Belew should have combined 'Side One' and 'Side Two' to make one album.

 Metropole Orkest: E For Orchestra by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.91 | 3 ratings

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Metropole Orkest: E For Orchestra
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars When Adrian Belew and his Power Trio created the album "e" in 2009, he expressed a desire to eventually do it with an orchestra. When the original and extremely talented line up of his Power Trio went their various ways (though Julie Slick would return as bassist when Belew expanded the Power Trio in 2019), he put that dream to a reality and in 2011, self- released the orchestral version of the suite.

This time around, Belew put his soloing guitar in front of the "Metropole Orkest" with Jules Buckley conducting this 52 member ensemble. This time around, the album would be split up into 5 distinct tracks that would easily separate the 5 suites which were still named after the first 5 letters of the alphabet.

As Belew begins playing his guitar solo pretty much the same way as the original version, you start to wonder if this guitar/orchestra combo is just going to end up being a pretentious show-off album for Belew, but when the brass echoes his initial theme, you get the feeling that this album is going to have a lot more depth than that. As the first track continues, you know it is more than just Belew repeating his parts as the orchestra tried to copy the layers of loops that accompany the original version, as the orchestral parts take over the main lines at times and at others, Belew comes to the fore, but not as just the main artist here, more as part of the orchestra, and this turns into a veritable and amazing Electric Guitar Concerto.

The music continues to be as complex as it was on the original version, but the orchestra just brings in even more atmosphere, dynamic, depth and even excitement, giving what was already an amazing performance a new life. You can hear the recurring themes that were apparent in the original version, and you know this is definitely a composed and concise work by Belew, and not just an improvised work. Interestingly enough, it still retains its King Crimson attitude with its complex arranging, and if you are familiar with the original album, then these themes will be familiar, but with the added treat of being interpreted by an orchestra. But Belew just doesn't bring in his experience with KC to this composition, now that it has the orchestra involved, you can hear his time with Frank Zappa is also quite apparent. Take a mix of both, and you will get an understanding of what this sounds like.

This album might be a bit tougher to find than the original "Power Trio" version, but being able to have both is well worth the search. If you were impressed with the original, then you should be impressed with this version also. You still get plenty of Belew's experimental style, but with the dynamic of an orchestra. You might not have the amazing work of the Slick siblings on this version, but this version doesn't take away from that, nor does it reside below that version. Both of them are great and this composition should be recognized as the masterwork that it is.

 Adrian Belew Power Trio: E by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.23 | 37 ratings

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Adrian Belew Power Trio: E
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Adrian Belew formed a group to perform and record music that could be grouped apart from his solo works. This group was called 'Adrian Belew Power Trio' and consisted of Belew on guitar, Julie Slick on bass and her brother Eric Slick on drums. Belew was impressed after seeing them perform with the Paul Green School of Rock and formed the trio for the purpose of touring and performing his solo material along with King Crimson and Frank Zappa material.

The album that is simply entitled 'e' is the project's first album and was released in 2008. The album has 11 tracks, but is actually made up of 5 mini-suites, each one named after each of the first 5 letters of the alphabet. The music is created by adding layers of loops playing over each other, and then adding parts and solos over the top of the loops. The album itself was made live while in the studio.

'a' starts off the album and is a 3-part suite that makes up the first three tracks. The first part is a quick guitar solo at moderate speed, but the 2nd part brings in the entire trio with the layers soon kicking in and quickly sounding very cool and experimental, not unlike King Crimson, yet definitely unique. All 3 performers are quite amazing, Julie plays a tricky desending bass riff that starts and stops its descent in unpredictably, but constantly moving while the drums play complex rhythms that are also completely astounding while Belew plays his quirky, sometimes harsh, but always intriguing style. Rest assured that if you are afraid this sounds more like the less-accessible Projekcts from King Crimson, then you have nothing to worry about. It is more of a style inbetween the Crimson most people know and love and the experimental side of Belew. The 3rd part continues on falling into a more of a pattern, with Belew's improvisation swinging, groaning and sailing over the amazing support work of the Slick siblings.

'b' is also made up of 3-parts, the first part being almost longer in and of itself than the preceding suite. This one is a bit chunkier with a hard riff and contrasting guitar layers. Underneath it all, the amazing bass flies around performing tricks that are almost as crazy as Belew's own playing. The Slick's were both quite young when they started out, Eric only being 11 when he was brought in as the regular drummer for the Paul Green School of Rock, and Julie was only 13 when she started playing bass, quickly becoming an amazing bassist. Just listen to this and you'll understand how awesome they are, then consider the fact that they are doing this live-in-studio. This suite pounds along quite impressively for a while, but in the 2nd part, it becomes more laid back, but with guitar notes cascading down from the stars, but soon the music builds tension as Belew throws in some of his phrasing, connecting his notes almost like a steel guitar and making them wail against the repeated notes that build tension atmospherically, and then ending with a rapid fire track that has each instrument playing counterpoint while the drums show off a bit themselves.

'c' is only a single part, but lasts over 6 minutes. The percussion on this one is a little more regular and steady while the guitar and bass slowly build becoming more intense as the track rolls on. 'd' is divided up between 2 tracks. It starts off with layers of Belew's playing along with a repeating subdued staccato playing underneath. Stylistic and almost symphonic sounding percussion comes through intermittedly, but halfway through, it everyone kicks in creating a complex and exciting sound, again intense and heavy. Belew has expressed that he would love to hear this music performed by an orchestra, and upon listening to this and the complex lines, it is easy to see why that would be an intriguing idea. After a section where the guitar almost sounds like a flute, the 2nd part returns to a more linear sound, but builds even quicker, almost becoming like a condensed version of the first part. 'e' is also divided up into 2 parts, the 1st one being rather quick at under 1 minute and featuring Belew improvising pensively and the 2nd part being over 7 minutes. The 2nd part sounds like a syncopated chromatic scale ascending and desending quickly, the drums push it along and then the bass is forced in. A melodic line is played where the guitar sounds more like a synth, and then the trio plays off of the ascending and desending scale, improvising and creating quite a cavalcade of thematic elements and using them against each other, most of these done from Belew's layering, while the bass and drums even get some time to show off. The coolest thing is the piano-sounding line pounding and twinkling along while the bass thrums out a rhythmic pattern. Very cool.

In 2010, Eric was recruited by the band 'Dr. Dog' and is still the drummer for them, and Julie later released some solo work and also participated in the 'Crimson ProjeKct' tour, Marco Minnemann replaced Eric temporarily for the 2010 tours, and then Tobias Ralph took over as a permanent member of the band. Fortunately, we have this recorded document that attests to the talents of Adrian, Julie and Eric, but it is a shame that it has mostly been ignored, especially from the King Crimson and Projekcts crowds, because this music is just as amazing as anything else put out by the different KC incarnations at the time. Highly experimental, but surprisingly very enjoyable and more accessible than you might think. It is all instrumental, but it is music of the highest caliber and deserves to be considered one of the best KC albums that isn't a KC album. After hearing this, you know why both Zappa and Fripp brought Belew into their bands. Highly recommended for real KC lovers, Eclectic Prog lovers and those that love excellent and innovative guitar music.

 Desire Caught By The Tail by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.41 | 29 ratings

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Desire Caught By The Tail
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Sometimes I wonder if we try to measure Adrain Belew up to the levels of the output he had while with King Crimson, when you really look at his career, it was quite variable. He has been involved with many different artists, from Frank Zappa to Talking Heads to Celine Dion to Nine Inch Nails. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that his solo discography varies so much. Way back to the first of his solo efforts, his first two albums were considered art-pop, somewhat accessible, but with an edge of ingenuity to them, but always with his unique style of guitar and vocals. His third album, however, shows his experimental side.

"Desire Caught By the Tail" is the name of the album and it features only Belew playing all of the instruments. It also takes his avant-garde, experimental guitar work to the extremes, but like his KC partner Robert Fripp, he uses certain albums to show off his unique way of creating effects and textures from electric guitar and guitar synths. Unlike Fripp on his more experimental albums, however, Belew relies more on melodic music to display his experimental side. This is also the album that Belew claims cost him his major label contract, because it was so uncommercial. But, there is no doubt that the man can create some interesting effects, and from the history he has had playing with such instrumental greats, you know he is talented even if you go on his credits alone. I guess that is one of the things that intrigues me about him.

Right off the bat, "Tango Zebra" takes us off into some unique sounding territory, where he can make his guitar sound almost like a violin with a brass undertone. He layers different sounding guitars together, and they create some odd counterpunctual lines. But all the while doing this, he also remains tied to the main theme of the song, basing his counter melodies on that. No doubt, you hear some harsh textures and metallic noises that are appealing, yet can also make you cringe, but that is the texture he is shooting for, and you would definitely find it difficult to locate someone that can create those textures as well as he can. Meanwhile, during his experimental explorations, he can still fit some technically difficult standard playing in there just to prove that he has the talent. But, just listen to this track, and you will be amazed that all of this is done with guitars (except for the percussion). Sure, some of it is created by accessing the manipulating power of the synthesizer, but still, it's pretty amazing.

"Laughing Man" is a bit more accessible as it follows a waltz-style beat and a strong melodic line. But again, just listen to those layers of guitars, creating a band of their own. He can even create an authentic calliope sound while he's at it. The middle of the track loses the beat and meanders around a bit, but you still get interesting sounds there, and you would almost think you are listening to a string quartet, except for the obvious synth sound that accompanies it all. "The Gypsy Zuma" takes on a Romanian style, venturing into a more psychedelic sound. Belew uses his trademark elephant improvisation at times here.

"Portrait of Margaret" has a catchy beat, and a lot of cool effects, but the brassy playing is a bit too harsh for it all to be accessible. If you listen to his more art-pop albums and even the Discipline-era KC albums, you will hear some of the effects and textures that he uses to a more restrained effect, and they are much easier to take in these smaller doses, but an album full of tracks that use these to excess is a bit much. After this, Belew moves into a more meandering mood with some short tracks that sound more like he is just messing around with sounds that rely less on melody and more on texture. The album finishes off with "Z". This is probably the most experimental of all, being more ambient and loose feeling, at least in the first half, but it suddenly catches a beat part way through. Novelty laugh boxes start to sound off and layers of sustained guitars start to drone along to the beat as voices talk and laugh. This all turns a bit chaotic as it goes on.

This is definitely not one for the masses, but it is a bit shallow and harsh even for those that appreciate experimental music. This is its biggest down fall, not so much the experimental side as the sometimes annoying harshness of it all. Still, I like to listen to it once in a while, because even among the hair-raising sounds, it has some interesting and appealing textures. It comes out quite even when all is said and done, the first half being a bit more accessible than the 2nd half, but only because the 1st half seems to be built more around melodic structure while the 2nd half tends to meander around. It's not really what you would call essential because it didn't end up having a lot of influence on music, and it is a bit weak, so its not excellent either, but I can call it good at least.

 Pop Sided by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.17 | 11 ratings

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Pop Sided
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Adrian Belew´s Pop Sided (2019) may well hold on more or less to its album title yet Belew´s restless energy delivers also some very un-Pop tracks to balance things a bit.

An 11 track album which if anything is varied and shares along the way some of his most hidden influences like Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys and the not so hidden like David Byrne (for whom he has collaborated), blended in with his own Pop and non-Pop vision and also of course his King Crimson kinship.

The real deal of this release, as told, is found in its variety which somehow frames its better tracks and makes the not so good tracks look not so bad, because although it will have been great for it to be flawless as some compositions may point out, it is not, it is only very well produced.

So, a couple of excellent songs (Take Five Deep Breaths, Luminous), some simply good and others are far from my likings, but then again that´s me.

***3 PA stars.

 Adrian Belew Power Trio: E by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.23 | 37 ratings

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Adrian Belew Power Trio: E
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars 4.5 stars. This sludgy guitar heavy album should be of interest to all fans of Belew's tenure in King Crimson. All the songs here are Crimsonesque and Belew and his cohorts churn out one awesome melody after another. The listener is treated with no vocals as the guitar sounds wail and the bass and drums keep the time. I'd recommend this to guitar fans of all types, metal fans looking for an alternative, or just people curious about musical legend Adrian Belew. I'm so glad I discovered his music and the general music listening public is missing out by not giving him more exposure. I love this record and you will too. Belew keeps putting out exciting, lively music forty years into his career.
 Twang Bar King by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.11 | 33 ratings

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Twang Bar King
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars 'Twang Bar King' is the second solo album by Adrian Belew, and was released in 1983. It was recorded while Belew was a member of King Crimson in between the release of 'Beat' and 'Three of a Perfect Pair' by KC. However, this album uses Belew's band 'GaGa' that he had when he recorded his first solo album 'Lone Rhino' plus the inclusion of drummer Larrie Londin, who was in Elvis Presley's band. All of the songs are written by Belew, except for the opening track which is the only cover.

It starts out with 'I'm Down' which is a cover of a B-side originally recorded by The Beatles. Belew uses a similar treatment of the original rock n roll classic, but adds his unique voice and squealing guitar on the instrumental breaks as he approaches an experimental sound. His vocals, towards the end, strive to go over the top. 'I Wonder' puts Belew back into his element with his signature styles and sounds. The beat is straightforward, but the guitar sounds are that quirky, slightly odd playing that helped get his guitar legend status and that works so well with Robert Fripp's own quirkiness.

'Life Without a Cage' is more mellow with a slight funky backbeat. Belew utilizes the brass instruments quite effectively though the album and even allows them to venture into avant-garde territory, but still keeping things barely on the sane side of normalcy. There is a cool instrumental break in the end where brass and guitar play off of each other. 'Sexy Rhino' is a silly short track that seems to lampoon Barry White with interesting effects that tie into his debut album. 'Twang Bar King' ventures into punk-ish territory with crazy instrumental effects.

'Another Time' goes back to a more accessible feel and could have been used as a single as it has a radio friendly feel to it. 'The Rail Song' is Belew's homage to trains and their continuing disappearance. The first minute is all train sounds and effects. Then a mid tempo beat comes in while Belew's guitar echoes the sound of a train before he sings an endearing and emotional lyrics. This is not a groundbreaking song, or even progressive by any means, but it is not necessarily a straightforward song pattern either but the song is definitely heartfelt. 'Paint the Road' is an instrumental that utilizes Belew's MIDI guitar with a breakneck and psychotic pace. There is also a sax that plays a quirky melody as it tries to outdo the crazy pace. This one really shows off Belew's abilities.

'She is Not Dead' is a strange one in that the music is a backward version of 'Hot Sun' from 'Lone Rhino' while Belew sings a different song lamenting the loss of a loved one over the top of it. He matches the melody to the backward melody that is created and it actually works, but just sounds a little odd. But then, Belew's music can be a little odd and that's why we love him. 'Fish Head' is an upbeat song with a catchy feel. There are several other vocalists (Christy Bley and William Janssen, both part of the band) included in this one as it comes across as a story of sorts. 'The Ideal Woman' also includes members of the band, this time talking about what the ideal woman is throughout the song, while Belew sings about her. Except for the nice guitar effects, this one is a weaker track. The last track is 'Ballet for a Blue Whale'. It features whale sound effects underlying differing guitar styles in a pensive and melodic instrumental.

This album, like 'Lone Rhino', show off Belew's versatility and unique guitar styles. In my opinion, he does best when he is not trying so hard to be commercial. There are a few commercial tracks here, but they are also the weakest tracks. When he lets his ingenuity go to work however, he proves that he is an innovative musician. There is enough versatility here that everyone will probably find something they like a lot, but it might be harder to find anyone that will love the entire album. But it does prove that Belew is an amazing musician, and his credentials he has had through his career playing in King Crimson, Frank Zappa's and David Bowie's bands and Talking Heads only prove this. It's a good album with some excellent tracks and some mediocre tracks, but if you loved 'Lone Rhino', you will probably love this one too.

 Belew Prints - The Acoustic Adrian Belew Vol. 2 by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.49 | 17 ratings

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Belew Prints - The Acoustic Adrian Belew Vol. 2
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars 'Belew Prints' is a cleverly named album from Adrian Belew. It is in actuality, the 2nd acoustic album from him, the first one, despite having some tracks that were great in their original versions, was quite underwhelming and definitely not progressive. This time around, all of the tracks are solely his own, except for 'Cage' and 'Dinosaur' which he helped compose when he was with King Crimson, and 'Free As a Bird' which is a live solo piano cover of a Beatles song written by John Lennon. Belew also sings all vocals and plays all of the instruments on this album, except for the string quartet in the first track.

Even though I would rather hear most of these tracks in their original versions, this time around Belew retains the progressiveness of the tracks much better than he did in the first acoustic album. He also adds more to the many of the tracks, which he didn't do in the first volume. 'Young Lions' actually comes out much better than the original when he gives it an almost Spanish guitar flavor.

Towards the middle there is a set of four songs (from 'Everything' to 'One of These Days') that are quite straightforward, but in these versions he accompanies himself with an ensemble lead by a piano instead of guitar for a nice change of pace. The two KC tracks are also great in acoustic form, believe it or not. Where the first volume was nice for an easy listening type of album, but not so great as a progressive album, this volume makes strengths of the weaknesses of the first volume. There are also some all instrumental tracks like the clever 'Things You Hit with a Stick', 'Return of the Chicken' and 'Nude Wrestling with a Christmas Tree' which utilizes percussive sounds, effects and random things being hit with a stick, like a piano for instance.

Also, as Belew is more willing to expand on the existing tracks, it makes things much more interesting and there is a lot more variety to the album. Sometimes, you almost forget you are listening to an acoustic album. Belew's intelligent musical sensibilities show through much more this time around, making this album much more worthwhile. It's not perfect, but it is more entertaining and better than the first volume.

Thanks to Cygnus X-2 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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