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The Frenz Experiment
The Frenz Experiment
Price: £10.05

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Fall-Pop - and some other stuff, 27 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Frenz Experiment (Audio CD)
Every Fall disc has a place, and this is The Fall as to be listened to in the afternoon, maybe whilst reading the paper (not necessarily a bad thing - who would want Hex Enducation 24 hours a day?). The Frenz Experiment is far removed from the 'epic' Beggar's Banquet albums: Bend Sinister and This Nation's Saving Grace. This farily laid-back hour contains some of The Fall's best 'pop' tunes: Frenz, Victoria, In These Times, Tuff Life Boogie and Hit the North. For those tracks, it's an album worth getting regardless. The remainder is made up of what annoys most people about The Fall: repetitive tunelessness and incoherent rambling. However, some of this is actually really good: (Athlete Cured, Get A Hotel, The Steak Place), but the 9-minuite 'Bremen Nacht' is unberable and I'm a massive Fall fan. The only dancing I could do to it would leave me unable to walk thereafter. Some of the tracks have no particular impact, and are 'filler' as far as I'm concerned - I don't care at all, because this is no rollercoaster-ride of an album. Maybe the tracks Guest Informant, Twister and others have incredibly potent lyrical messages and symbolisms etc. Maybe they don't.
In short - get it, but not after you already have several other Fall albums. I'm going to skim the cream off this disc when I stick it in the computer and have 7 or 8 brilliant tracks for the MP3 player.


The Dealer
The Dealer
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £34.63

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of my favourite Jazz albums - A standalone in Hamilton's work, 27 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Dealer (Audio CD)
Whatever your opinions of Chico Hamilton (mine are mixed) 'The Dealer' is guaranteed sonic brilliance, in terms of both production and playing. It was the first jazz album I bought myself, and after a couple of listens I was hooked.
All the tracks are very different, and they are laid out in such a way that the album is perfectly paced. The brusque opener is followed by Archie Shepp's! piano leading a short boogaloo-styled number. The climdown from this initial energy to the appropriatley named 'A Trip' mean's that its churning psychadelia is fully appreciated. Larry Coryell is then the focus of two languid, easygoing blusey numbers. The slow and haunting vibe of 'A Trip' is then recaptured in the amazing 9-minuite 'Thoughts', a truly magnificent piece. The blustering, albeit tuneless, final track has its pros and its cons...
The bonus tracks are very interesting, with mostly different players to the LP. Their mood completley different to that of the main album, and more typical of Hamilton's other work. Like other Impulse! digipack reissues, the sound quality is amazing. It was originally produced by Bob Thiele, who I am led to believe was a big name in the field.
Larry Coryell, who I know nothing about, plays some truly amazing guitar throughout the album, giving a somewhat blues-rock feel to the album. What makes this interesting is that the album is in no way 'blues-rock'; if anything its jazz is free and avant-garde. The combination of these two very different vibes is probably what makes the album so interesting and worthwhile, well worth checking out.


Blues & Roots
Blues & Roots
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot, Loud and Brash - The Essential Mingus Primer, 13 Aug 2009
This review is from: Blues & Roots (Audio CD)
Everywhere seems to suggest that Ah Um is the one and only greatest introduction to Mingus's music. Not to knock that album, but it has a certain cinematic beauty that is best appreciated after several listens. Everything great about Blues & Roots, and Mingus, slaps you in the face right away.
This is the hottest sounding, most joyful jazz i've heard. Nobody but Mingus (as far as I know) has welded the tunefulness and good-time vibe of 'swing era' jazz with its more modern variant. He leaves Bop, and anything beyond it, sounding a bit cold and steely, despite being at the cutting edge himself.
Enough has already been said about the individual tunes on this disc. They are all 'TUNES' - not 'cuts' 'pieces' or 'numbers'
Also, the alternative takes are great. Listen 'til track 6, come back and listen from track 7. It's like a whole new EP.


Shrine '69
Shrine '69
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £14.50

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good live album - but get Live in Boston first, 23 July 2007
This review is from: Shrine '69 (Audio CD)
For those without any of Fleetwood Mac live material, it's certainly true to say that it reflects their playing far better than the studio. However, in this case the sound is unbalanced, and little or no attempt has been made at remastering or remixing it.
The three Boston Tea Party CDs are some of the very best music I have ever heard, never mind being the best Fleetwood Mac cuts available. The sound is not only clear and well balanced, but conveys the power, volume and ferocity with which the Mac played.
However, if you already have the Tea Party albums, this could well be a worthwhile purchase; many of the tracks on this CD are the only live versions commercially available. Furthermore, the version of Rolling Man - one of their very best raucous blues tunes is presented in an interestingly laid-back, percussive manner.
I would recommend this album to those who already have many Fleetwood Mac recordings, and don't mind it not having the sound quality of the Tea Party volumes. Those with no Mac live recordings should look at the Tea Party CDs before this.


Spies
Spies
by Michael Frayn
Edition: Paperback

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Self Absorbed? (possible spoilers), 28 Oct 2006
This review is from: Spies (Paperback)
Yes, like most people reviewing this book, I am studying it for AS English Literature. This doesn't mean I have to hate it though; Steinbecks 'Mice & Men' was last year's set text, which I enjoyed immensley. Writing on M&M last year was excellent, because it is such a defined and well-structured novel. Frayn's 'Spies' certianly presents a different challenge. Partly because when analysing M&M, it is quite easy to be 'wrong'. Spies is generally convuluted and fairly directionless - quite an opposite to Steinbeck's style. Because of this, one becomes quite free to draw whatever conclusions one likes.

I'm certainaly not suggesting that Frayn is a bad writer, by the way. His complex tense and person changes in the first few chapeters, and method of exporing events from Old and Young Stephen's perspective provides an incisive insight into the events of the novel. A lot of the themes that he explores on the subject of power and authority are in fact fascinating, and a man of his age does well to recollect feelings of childhood that most students have long buried in the backs of their minds already.

However towards the end of the novel, he tries to 'wrap up' the tale in a rather bizarre way. He reveals rather surprising facts unbeknown to him about his past, that although interesting in the book's historical context, they do absolutley nothing for the plot. It seems these events were supposed to provide a real twist to the tale, but this is hampered by the fact that they really don't relate to much of the events in the book.

The one event that I find completley nonsensical and rather worrying is the narrator's sense of self-absorbtion. The single greatest event (one that has a lasting effect on peoples lives) in the book is a rather untimley death. Frayn treats this as a matter of total unimportance, which is shocking considering that the narrator may have had a small part of the blame in it. I doubt that I would be exaggerating to say that the subject of this death takes up no more than a single paragraph. Young Stephen displays a lot of the egocentric self importance common in children, which is sometimes rather amusing, but when Old Stephen displays similar characteristics of self-absorbtion, it is quite frightening.


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