Barry Adamson

The King of Nothing Hill

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With As Above, So Below, Barry Adamson took a detour from the soundscape work that comprised much of his early solo catalog. It was more conventional sounding than anything he had written prior, and with production help from Flood, the album's seedy undertones and gritty seduction were given center stage. With The King of Nothing Hill, he continues where As Above left off -- seamlessly blending funk, jazz, rock, disco, and '60s French pop while swapping street tales with the listener. It's apparent on tracks like the funk-fueled "Cinematic Soul," the trippy "Twisted Smile," and the intense "When Darkness Calls" that Adamson can evoke a variety of feelings in any one of a number of musical styles. He's as convincing when vividly painting a crime scene as when he becomes "Satisfaction Jackson" in an attempt to seduce his prey. He occasionally dips into his soundtrack roots on tracks like the murky "Le Matin des Noire" and "The Second Stain," but when he does, he maintains the continuity of the album. This variety is what makes The King of Nothing Hill so enjoyable -- it revels in being both fun and furious. Whether he's talking about love or the streets, there's usually a clever hint of irony present. Adamson is blatant when he needs to be, but gets his point across most effectively when using metaphors. The King of Nothing Hill is his first album of all-new material since 1998's As Above, So Below. Although he released a best-of in 1999, Adamson's fans grew eager as rumors of a new album began to surface. With its sonically rich textures and ultra-smooth vibe, The King of Nothing Hill was well worth the wait.

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