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Reviews Written by
B. A. Woodhouse "newt12"

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly patchy, 18 Feb 2004
This review is from: Liberation (Audio CD)
Liberation is an album that frustrates because it has so many good ideas but fails to deliver on this potential. Kale clearly has a significant talent and he draws together the traditional and modern elements in a similar way to Talvin Singh and others. This is an album of great moments with huge washes of strings, eastern voices and tabla alongside a variety of keyboard and drum effects but few tracks really develop into anything memorable. More irritatingly the tendency is for melodies and hooks to be lost after a short time into a chaos of additional elements. When a track works well (such as the album closer) it is because it has some simplicity and consistency. Kale at times sounds like somebody keen on demonstrating their entire palette of sounds and forgetting to produce a coherent whole.
I'd suggest those who enjoy Kale should also explore Nitin Sawhney (especially 'Beyond Skin' and 'Human') as well as Talvin Singh's Mercury prize winner 'OK'. I'll buy another Karsh Kale album because he is clearly a talent to watch, I just hope he can resist the overcomplication that partially spoils 'Liberation'.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1 Digital Camera [5MP 4xOptical] 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1 Digital Camera [5MP 4xOptical] 

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real contender amongst 5MP cameras, 14 Feb 2004
This is my first 'serious' digital camera. It took a leap of faith to use this for my photography and leave my Olympus OM4 at home but by and large it is delivering the goods.
Good things.
Size/weight. Compared to the Canon/Olympus 5MP equivalents the Sony is significantly smaller. This makes it more likely to be stuffed into my rucsac on every trip.
Image quality. The resolution is backed up by good optics, dealing well with difficult high contrast subjects and varied situations. Performance seems consistent across the zoom range. I'd still pick my SLR when quality is paramount but it is getting close. Colour balance is excellent on Auto almost all the time.
Controllability. Lots of functions, many actually useful. Lots of choices of metering/focus/AE modes. Spot meter works especially well. Good screen information without being too fussy. Exposure compensation and bracketing functions simple to use.
Menus largely logical and easy to follow even if they lack the fancy icons of other makes.
Fast. Little shutter delay and quite quick from switch on to ready.
Less good things;
Screen a bit susceptible to glare, nice if it could be tilted as per the Olympus range (but would make it more bulky).
Some of the buttons a bit scattered and poorly labelled.
Shutter release action is very 'clicky'. Not smooth for low shutter speeds and takes getting used to.
Battery life 'adequate'. Screen at least gives fairly accurate indication of time left. Supplied memory stick too small. No case in the box-how tight is that!
Wide angle lacking without adapter. I would like range to go from 28mm.
In conclusion this is a serious camera that delivers punchy images in a very compact and mostly easy-to-use package. The Sony build quality is good and almost all the functions you'll need are available. Left on AUTO all the time it will cover most situations for the snapper but more creative photography is a real option if you want to use it to full potential.

The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey|Kate Winslet
Price: £2.74

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing thriller with anti death-penalty message, 24 Nov 2003
The ingredients are promising but David Gale never quite delivers.
Firstly we have a race-against-time plot which sees Spacey in his last few days on Death Row telling his story to Winslet's initially cynical journo. The resulting rush to prove his innocence has a few edgy moments but Winslet never really looks engaged and the plot becomes more convulted and less convincing with every minute.
The second strand is a strong anti death-penalty message with Spacey and friends active anti campaigners. Laura Linney brings some depth to her role as the lead campaigner (depite being lumbered with the oldest plot cliche imaginable) but the film handles these issues clumsily, portraying all proponents of the death penalty as religious zealouts and rednecks is hardly original or thought provoking. The director then curiously mishandles scenes around an execution itself, softening the impact of the films zenith. The power of Dead Man Walking is never even approached.
Ultimately David Gale is decent entertainment but is neither a convincing thriller nor the social conscience movie it might have been.

Regard The End
Regard The End

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and engaging., 11 Nov 2003
This review is from: Regard The End (Audio CD)
This is a quality slice of 'Southern Gothic' that moves from the country folk of 'River in The Pines' to the Lambchop-like richness of 'Soft Hand'. Songs of loss and sorrow, hauntings and poverty roll by without a flicker of irony but variations in tempo and background make a cohesive whole that is always interesting. Compared to their last (Mojave) this album is a real step up, more varied and consistent. Highly recomended-my album of the year.

Still Life
Still Life
Price: £5.69

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Drab and largely forgettable, 31 Oct 2003
This review is from: Still Life (Audio CD)
Whilst the first album was not a classic it had it's moments so my hopes for the follow up were reasonable. Sadly, after the promising opener the album goes nowhere. Melodies are sketchy, the production is drab and muddy and at times the vocal becomes overwrought and tiresome. It is a shame, the odd spark suggests better things but the album has few memorable tracks. Similar at times to Elbow 'Cast of Thousands' it is never as interesting.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet?, 16 July 2003
This review is from: Human (Audio CD)
Human may be the best offering from Nitin Sawhney to date. It is more consistent than previous albums and develops a smoother more song-based style but loses none of the effortless integration of musical cultures which chacterised Beyond Skin in particular. Vocal performances are particularly strong and varied throughout. The overall mood is a bit more soulful, certainly less agressive than Prophesy, and played gently it makes soothing background without perhaps really catching the ear. But turn up the volume to really listen and this album is full of delights. Great stuff.

Hail To The Thief
Hail To The Thief
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Price: £5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Radiohead do mediocre, 13 Jun 2003
This review is from: Hail To The Thief (Audio CD)
I was looking forward to this album so much. Radiohead have given me some great musical moments, and I've stayed through all the stages, enjoying Kid A/Amnesiac as well as the early albums. Where would they go next? The answer appears to be nowhere in particular. Instead of invention we get a mishmash that almost touches the heights in places but ultimately feels a bit empty and slightly unfinished. The overall 'outsider' mood pervades as usual but it lacks any real emotional depth or bite. There is nothing here of real excitement, nothing that stretches the boundaries. The experimental tracks are relatively routine and unispired, the more conventional songs are not quite good enough. Be honest, how many tracks from this album would make a Best of compilation? 'There there' may scrape in but thats it for me.
Radiohead seemed to have the potential to do something really suprising at any moment. The shock is that they have produced a 'generic' Radiohead album that contains so few new delights. It is never actually bad, but I'd hoped for so much more.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mellowness from the miserablist, 6 Jun 2003
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)
This is probably Eels most consistent album since Beautiful Freak. The mood is decidedly mellow (even summery) in places with jangly guitars and an feel to several tracks. Lyrical preoccupations with the blacker side of life persist but the usual flashes of wit remain. For some the album may be a bit bland, lacking the bite and wilful perversity of some of their other offerings but I liked its gentler mood. The Wilco comparison is a fair one too-without the experimentalism of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Fashionably Late
Fashionably Late

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of quality and collaboration, 29 Aug 2002
This review is from: Fashionably Late (Audio CD)
This is a quiet and thoughtful album of calm mood and above all high quality work. The songs are varied in style, some more traditional folk than others but each is delivered with a great soulful voice. The mood is wistful and gently ironic. Top production helps, a curl of gentle guitar or northumberland pipes enliven parts with backing vocals from the likes of Kate Rusby embellishing other tracks. This feels like an album to savour and enjoy over a long time.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head
A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Price: £3.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big friendly tunes but derivative, 29 Aug 2002
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, but derivative album. The Radiohead comparisons are no longer valid-this has none of the bite or strangeness (and therefore sustaining interest) of any of that band's output. The real reference now is U2, some tracks are stylistically very close to 'classic' U2 and the vocalist even does a pretty good Bono impersonation in places. This is not to say it isn'ta good album, the quality is consistent and the songs are big and catchy. What it lacks is a few special moments and a bit of passion, not least in lyrics that are often bland and uninteresting. Good fun, but not a big breakthrough for 2002.

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