On this final disc of his recent solo trilogy, the Twang Bar King primarily holds court with himself, playing most of the instruments and covering all the vocals except for the poignantly comical sampled ravings of the Prophet Omega on the opening cut, “Troubles.” Six of the 12 tracks have lyrics, but with two exceptions they are only a few lines each, making the focus of these pieces Belew’s guitar work—and that’s not a bad thing. Nasty octave-fuzz phrases that would make Hendrix smile, wonderfully quirky and funky rhythm parts, inspired synth patches and performances, menacing harmonizer clusters, gentle acoustic passages, and searing solo lines are all part of the fun. Guest artists include bassist Les Claypool and drummer Carey on a couple of cuts, a nice cameo “flute guitar” part by Robert Fripp, and some great sax and flute playing by Mel Collins on two tracks. The material is quite varied—ranging from short atmospheric sound paintings to bouncy pop to Crimson-like ominousness—but everything flows together naturally. Of the three discs in this series, this one is the most intimate, freewheeling, and adventurous, easily making it my personal favorite. (Sanctuary).
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