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Adrian Belew 

Coming Attractions

Adrian Belew
Coming Attractions
(Thirsty Ear)

In the liner notes to his latest musical scrapbook, the appropriately titled Coming Attractions, King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew likens himself to one of those manic platespinners who would mysteriously appear on Ed Sullivan's show every couple of months. It's an apt metaphor, as Belew is currently overseeing over a half-dozen distinctly different projects, all of which are excerpted and annotated on Coming Attractions, an interesting sampler.

The past is ably represented by a number of entries, including a pair of live tracks from a project titled This Is a Pencil, which may never see the light of day, due to a slew of recent Belew releases that are redundantly similar. The solo guitar versions of "Inner Revolution" (from the album of the same name) and "Time Waits" (from Op Zop Too Wah) are wonderfully stripped down and naked, a familiar state for Belew songs. There are also a handful of cuts culled from a 20-year/90-track boxed set retrospective planned for next year called Dust -- included here are Belew's stab at the David Byrne/Brian Eno found sound idea, with a Nashville evangelist named Prophet preaching the foundation to the sonic exercise "I Know What I Know and That Is All I Know and I Know It," a quirky little demo called "People," and an experiment titled "No Such Guitar" that was originally intended for the Guitar Speak series on IRS Records.

In the new category, Belew dusts off his pop duds and concocts a few of his more muscular delights, which will hopefully work their way onto his next solo album. "Inner Man" finds Belew playing rock guitar icon with a snarling vengeance, followed by the slightly more esoteric pop of "Predator Feast," a collection of loops and blips that marries his sonic invention to his pop convention. Also included is the nostalgic "117 Valley Drive," a new track from the much-anticipated return of the Bears, Belew's Beatlesque quartet that recorded two wonderful and completely ignored albums in the late '80s. Coming Attractions is a fascinating cross section of musical diversion as Belew dresses up to play the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future all at once. With the diversity of projects blurbed, Coming Attractions is a typically schizophrenic affair, but for fans of Adrian Belew, each and every personality he exhibits is a welcomed and creative friend. -- Brian Baker

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