ADRIAN BELEW: E (2009)
1) A; 2) A2; 3) A3; 4) B; 5) B2; 6) B3; 7) C; 8) D; 9) D2; 10) E; 11) E2.
The contents of the first official studio release by the Adrian Belew Power Trio — Adrian & The Slicks — are easily guessed by anyone who has combined an acquaintance with the general Crimsonian attitude with a quick glance at the «songs»' titles, or at the modern geometrical design of the album cover.
Namely, it is a rigid exercise in math-rock: complex, angular riffs played over complex, angular bass runs, leaning on complex, angular drum patterns. Technically, this is a very impressive show, particularly for the Slicks, who have it far more rough and demanding here than they had on the live album, where, after all, the emphasis was on
On the other hand, it is hard to get rid of the feeling that this is exactly what it is: a test for Belew's fresh rhythm section. The music itself has been radiating weirdness for so long — thirty years now — that the novelty has worn off; and how could it not have been, when most of these riffs and themes keep reminding me of
In E's defense, I will say that it could have made a great soundtrack to some pretentious art-house movie (preferably, with a crazy, but visionary mathematical genius as the protagonist, and The Pink Panther as an indirect influence); also, I will say that it is far more listenable than some of King Crimson's exercises in terraforming dissonance. But there is also something very sad and disappointing about the whole concept of «predictable weirdness». In the end, I can only recommend it for Belew diehards — or for old fogeys who think of the newer generations as a well-trained, strictly disciplined army of lazy good-for-nothings. In the latter respect, E is pleasantly instructive.