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Gary Howchen "No Turn Unstoned" (Essex, UK)

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Scott 4
Scott 4
Price: 7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic, 10 Jun 2012
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)
As its title implies this was the fourth in a series of Scott Walker solo albums in the late 1960's and is probably his best work.
The previous 3 albums now sound more dated whereas those that came immediately after it tend to edge more towards the "Easy Listening" bracket before a later series of releases that are very dense and challenging.
Its mood is dark, melancholy and brooding at times but there are moments of euphoria too and the sympathetic and unobtrusive orchestral arrangements provide a wonderful backdrop to Walker's vivid vocal delivery.
A good place to start for a newcomer to Scott Walker's work if a little on the short side.

Upside Down: The Best Of
Upside Down: The Best Of
Price: 6.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Understood Them, 4 Jun 2012
OK so I admit it - at the time, along with many others I was bemused by what attracted John Peel and other luminaries to them. They were loud, brash, confrontational, at times obscene and couldnt really play all that well either.
But now with the benefit of age, hindsight and in the context of what followed and all they inspired they were indeed the greatest rock and roll band East Kilbride and probably the UK has ever produced.
All modern music history is here - echoes of the Beach Boys, Everly Bros, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector et al come flooding out amidst the squalls of feedback and the couldnt care less attitude the JAMC displayed at the time - even the Gallaghers copied the fraternal enmity!
This attractively priced release contains almost all of their finest songs from the gorgeous sweep of Just Like Honey through to the curious false start of Cracking Up and even throws in the odd dud for balance just to show their essential imperfections.
As a concert going experience nothing comes close to standing right at the front at the Forum and feeling the sound travel through you as William embarks on one of those trademark solos that made all thse songs so instantly memorable.
An essential document of British rock and roll music.

Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri
Price: 12.13

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Momentous, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: Alpha Centauri (Audio CD)
I haven't heard the reissued version but the original is my favourite TD album from the era of Kosmische Musik and from the Ohr label that helped to launch many other legendary artists.
At the time TD were only just beginning to use synthesisers and their basic sound was mainly organic and on this album they have created a soundscape using largely conventional instruments.
Sunrise in the Third System is a brief soundtrack based around a rich deep organ theme while Fly and Collision of Comas Sola begins slowly and quietly with Froese's guitar wandering in gently then gives way to a driving drum thrash until it eventually reaches a crescendo.
The title track is a sprawling epic building slowly from an understated beginning featuring shards of flute and percussion until around twenty minutes in then a disembodied monologue leads to a Teutonic chorale finale of stunning proportions.
Best heard on headphones late at night.

Price: 7.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Finest Hour, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: Third (Audio CD)
Other reviewers have already done this album justice so I will just add my own views briefly.
In hindsight some 40 years on it can be clearly seen that the classic line up (Ratledge, Hopper, Wyatt and Dean) could not last as they were heading in different directions musically.
Having featured "songs" on Vols 1 and 2 (albeit whimsical and jazz based) this collection features three instrumentals opening with the angular and strange "Facelift" which now sounds like a prequel to Hugh Hoppers later efforts on his solo album 1984.
"Moon in June" is a glorious twenty minute ditty on which Robert Wyatt sings wittily and laconically and can be seen as a foretaste of the direction he would later go in when forced to re-align his career post accident.
But the backbone and beauty of this album are the two Mike Ratledge pieces "Out-Bloody-Rageous" and "Slightly All the Time" where the whole band and its associate luminaries perform at the peak of their powers.
The revelation is that at times the keyboard is playing the basic melody while bass, sax and especially percussion skitter around sympathetically in a gorgoeus sweep rich with pathos, humour and invention. Wyatt and Dean's contributions are memorable and the second half of "Slightly All the Time" is one of the most beautiful passages I have ever heard.
Subsequent releases may have featured highly accomplished musicians and had their high points but as a whole this album has a warmth and affection that very few jazz based recordings manage to achieve.
Best listened to alone on a rainy afternoon in Winter by the way.....

You Follow Me
You Follow Me
Price: 7.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: You Follow Me (Audio CD)
Nina Nastasia is my favourite female singer songwriter so I am biased in the extreme here. Nervous, modest and sometimes seemingly uncomfortable live, she sings with her whole body on record like Peter Hammill's long lost sister or a troubled relative of Suzanne Vega.
This album comes in a bit short at well under 40 minutes, was released as a companion to the excellent "On Leaving" and at first sounds ill-conceived as its protagonists appear to have been working on two different projects over the first five tracks.
Nina seems to be in one room while Jim White is rehearsing next door until the opening bars of "In the Evening" where the whole thing comes sharply and suddenly into focus. "Late Night" is similarly immediate and sticks in the mind until repeated listening makes the other tracks morph into a satisfying whole where every drum beat, scratch, clatter and silence are intentional and well placed.
The closing song "I Come After You" is the song Nina was born to write and makes Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" sound almost complimentary by comparison; a scathing world weary dismissal of a philandering partner searing with contempt, frustration and disappointment whilst implying that it was entirely predictable.
Exceptional indeed.

Lark's Tongues in Aspic: 30th Anniversary Edition
Lark's Tongues in Aspic: 30th Anniversary Edition
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, 3 Jun 2012
I bought this album on vinyl around 1974 and it has been one of my favourites ever since.
Having disbanded the previous versions of King Crimson that had embraced poetry, mysticism, jazz and even metal along the way Robert Fripp had assembled the classic 5 piece line up that included drummer Bill Bruford and the free form percussionist Jamie Muir and the outcome is a masterpiece consisting of three instrumental pieces and three more conventionally structured "songs".
The most striking quality that becomes immediately apparent from the opening title track is the way in which they have used silence and near emptiness to build an atmosphere of foreboding that something cataclysmic is approaching as indeed is the case. Best not to turn the volume up too soon......
Muirs use of "found sounds" and David Cross' viola fully complement the cruel technical brilliance of Fripp in his prime, whilst John Wetton's vocals are perfectly wistful for the more conventional "Book of Saturday", "Exiles" and "Easy Money".
The closing track bursts in violently via a screeching segue from "The Talking Drum" and is the signature piece of the band in this its finest era.
Jamie Muir left soon afterwards never to return and whilst many of his innovations were continued on "Starless and Bible Black" and on later recordings this remains the pinnacle of Crimson output that remains ahead of its time and inspired countless others; personally I feel this album is the British cousin of "Spiderland" by Slint in its content, structure and feel.
A watershed in progressive music and a monument to the talent of its performers.

Epsilon In Malaysian Pale
Epsilon In Malaysian Pale
Offered by roundMediaUK
Price: 6.81

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Masterpiece, 3 Jun 2012
My review of this album is based on the original rather than any subsequent version but in my opinion it is by some distance Edgar Froese's finest solo effort and its immediate accessibility provides a sharp contrast to the musical output of Tangerine Dream around the period of Atem and Phaedra.
Consisting of just two tracks that originally occupied each side of the vinyl version it pays eloquent homage to Australasia and conjures up a feeling of actually being there at the time when Edgar, Monique and their (then) young son Jerome toured circa 1973.
Whereas subsequent solo and TD releases became more technical and orthodox in rhythm and structure this album still bears the hallmark of early more organic work being in places reminiscent of Alpha Centauri and Zeit whilst being entirely electronic.
Each piece ebbs and flows and features various movements and shifts that make for rewarding listening as they become increasingly familiar after several listens; a twentieth century classic that deserves to be regarded as a modern equivalent to Dvorak or Holst in its ambition and realisation.
One of my 20 favourite albums from the day I first heard it nearly 40 years ago.

13 Songs of Whiskey & Lig
13 Songs of Whiskey & Lig
Price: 21.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Home Made Masterpiece, 8 May 2011
An album billed as "recorded in the basement" and built around the twin peaks of the murder ballad "Big River" and the short punchy "File under Fire" on which Eamonn McGrath has composed and played everything himself.
World weary vocals and roaring guitars aplenty with that beguiling quality home-made feel that is somehow enhanced by the absence of any photo on the sleeve of the artist himself (see Heligoland, Bedhead for comparison).
Could have been recorded by Bruce Springsteen before he found fame...

Night Light (The Remixes)
Night Light (The Remixes)
Price: 7.40

2.0 out of 5 stars UNNECESSARY, 8 May 2011
A disappointing set of remixes of tracks from their previous album, most of which don't really work and result in good songs being submerged in special effects that ruin them.
At their best ARN produce tuneful melodic synth-pop that may appeal to fans of St Etienne, Camera Obscura and the like but Bird of Music and the original Still Night Still Light are far superior.

Come and Get It
Come and Get It
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: 2.79

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Go And Take It Back, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Come and Get It (Audio CD)
In complete agreement with other reviewers on this one. I bought this from a high street store and actually took it back, its that bad. What makes it worse is that there is nothing on the cover to warn you that its very inferior re-recordings of the songs that sound nothing like the originals. It deserves no stars at all really. Avoid it at all costs!

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