Adrian Belew began his career as the singer/guitarist for the progressive rock outfit King Crimson during the 80s, and has also made quite a name for himself as a session musician for the likes of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Talking Heads, etc…His career as a solo artist, however, has largely gone unnoticed as far as I can tell, and his success has been largely based on strong word-of-mouth. On Side Two, Belew showcases his ability to blend dissonant guitar sounds with lots of textured sequencers and lush strings. Most tracks feature Belew on vocals, but there are several beautiful instrumental nuggets such as "Happiness," which features haunting organ sounds. This is probably my favourite track on the CD, even though it only clocks in at 1:53. Others, like "Asleep" and the opening track, "Dead Dog On Asphalt", feature haunting dissonance from Belew's guitar and despairingly fragile vocals that exemplify the overall feeling of Side Two. The second in a planned trilogy, Side Two is an improvement over the more Krimsonesque Side One (Belew alongside Les Claypool and Danny Carey), and could be a sign of things to come for Side Three. Fans of dissonant rock/electronic fusion should take note of this CD, one of the year's best in the genre. Anyone looking for something out of the ordinary, particularly music pointing towards the future rather than to the past, should be on the lookout for this one as well. Highly recommended.
Personnel: Adrian Belew (vocals, various instruments, guitar); Erick Cole (acoustic guitar, balalaika, Theremin); Peter Hyrka (violin); Gary Tussing (cello).