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Adrian Belew – Slide One

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett – all power couples (although one of the couples is on the skids).

But what if there were a power trio? What if some of your favorite musicians came together, not in a Revolver kind of way, but in the organic sense free from the hype and mega videos?


That’s what today’s power threesome has done, consisting of Adrian Belew, best known for his time with King Crimson and The Bears, Les Claypool on bass, and Danny Carey, Tool’s infamous drummer. Side One is the first release in a trio series of solo albums for Belew, who has been working on these solo projects in between his time with King Crimson and The Bear’s reunion efforts.

The individual talent of each superstar is very apparent as they fuse Carey’s voltage together with Claypool’s signature kaleidoscopic rhythms, along Belew’s role with both lead and rhythm guitars. “Madness” is just that, a myriad of strings orchestrated to resemble Mr. Hyde’s side of town, and would not be recommended for AM blasting after a night on the town. Belew is also said to have a penchant for the improvisation aspect of the jam genre, but don’t expect any hippie, hacky sack times with this trio. This is all rock in the grittiest sense, but with the more sophisticated cloak of improv in a jazz sense, as portrayed in “Beat Box Guitar,” complete with the crackling of old vinyl.

In that sense and throughout the entire album, there is always this edging mood of chaos, but nothing strays too far from fluidity, precision, and timing. This is music that is meant for many repeat playings, allowing one to pick up a newly discovered nuance every time. I can’t wait for the other two chapters to arrive.

Belew will be touring in support of Side One, but unfortunately for us it won’t be with Les or Danny. He’ll be rallying some unknown but exemplary talent with him on the road, taking his turn at launching a few careers as Frank Zappa did for him in 1977, discovering the young man in Nashville who would later become part of the Zappa legacy.


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