Wednesday, December 2, 2009
2009 Album Review #6: The Adrian Belew Power Trio - e
Adrian Belew - the man has redefined guitar playing, as far as I'm concerned. He is more than just a guitar player, however. He has a rather large catalog of solo work and collaborations with other artists and has played just about every instrument you could imagine in doing so...either that, or he has figured out how to make his guitar sound like every instrument (or animal) imaginable. The most recent release from Belew, titled "e", is more than a solo piece. It is a work by three musicians; the other two of which are equally as skilled as Adrian himself (you have to be in order to keep up with the man). The other two musicians are Eric Slick on drums and his sister Julie Slick on the bass. What the three of them have put together musically for this release is nothing short of impressive. This music is not for everyone, that's for sure. This is somewhere in the instrumental-progressive category. The piece, which breaks into 5 smaller parts (a,b,c,d, and of course e) is a frantic, frenzied venture. It is all apparently based off the chromatic e-scale, which is played in different variations by Belew, usually as a loop, to act as sort of the rhythm guitar of any given part of the music; which he'll then play more melodic guitar lines over-top of. The Slick siblings provide a terrific rhythm section to all this, in order to keep it all in whatever-the-hell kind of ridiculous time signature it happens to be in at any given moment. "e" works best when listened to all the way through start to finish, and rarely lets up. The weakest section is right in the middle; the piece entitled "c" seems to resemble more of a three-piece group warming up by playing scales, yet it still helps tie it all together and there is a decent drum-beat going for that section (you'll also hear the only vocals in the entire album during the playing of "c", when Adrian yells out "Yeah!" in the background because of how excited and impressed he is by his fellow musicians.). As much as I immensely enjoy the work known as "e", I do hope that Adrian gets back a little more into some "songs"; by which, I mean I hope there are some more of those Beatle-esque pop-rock tunes he's created in the past to come. Don't get me wrong, these are never the "dime-a-dozen" pop songs we hear on radio. They are done only the way Adrian can do them; with a strong dose of originality and a style all his own.