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Big New Prinz (Scotland)

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Liber Dogma
Liber Dogma
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Top dog, 20 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Liber Dogma (MP3 Download)
At time of posting, there was only one review for Liber Dogma. Now one review does not a good recommendation only takes one mentalist. So I thought I'd take the time to write another review and make it two mentalists.

When I first had mind to investigate The Black Dog, I was inevitably pointed to their Bytes and Spanners albums. It didn't seem to matter how much I played them, I just couldn't get it. They seemed just a little light and dancefloor for my taste and I consigned them to the far reaches of the CD collection which is kept mainly because it is too much of an effort to take them to the charity shop.

However, I was drawn back by the excellent series of Darkwave podcasts that they did and realised that these days they are entirely different proposition. Since 2005 and the arrival of a handful of Dusts, the beats and grooves have become darker...but the music has remained rooted in dance whilst incorporating the rhythmic pounding of industrial drop-forging. Having been around so long, The Black Dog have certainly learnt one or two things and being a trio around the table, ideas can bounce around and, more importantly, bad ideas can be strangled at birth. Over the years I have become suspicious of solo, electronica/techno artists who disappear into studios and churn out quality- uncontrolled albums with great frequency.

Anyway to Liber Dogma...even after numerous listens, I still feel the desire to keep playing this. The Black Dog really are in the Premiership of mixers and Liber Dogma plays as (pretty much) a continuous track. It is best viewed in this way and listening to individual 30 second samples rather draws you into believing that this is a collection of 13 songs. In some ways it is, and in some ways it isn't. Each track flows from the previous to produce something which is greater than the sum of its parts...although the parts are excellent too. If you like a tune that you can whistle on the bus, then this probably isn't for you but similarly this collection of dark, brooding, rhythmic beats are peppered with enjoyable and interesting melodies and refrains which set the piece apart from much techno.

If after this, you feel you want more, then there is always Liber Collected which is a collection of EPs (and remixes) of about this Black Dog period. It is available on amazon but never comes up (for me) under a 'The Black Dog' search.


I love Liber Collected just as much and I'd review it...but no one would ever see the review.

Wild Light
Wild Light
Price: £12.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so wild, 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Wild Light (Audio CD)
Okay, so I get 65dos's schtick. I loved the first 4 studio albums so much that I supported the recording of Silent Running to bits and bytes...and yet was a little disappointed by the result. Fine, no problem, it was a soundtrack to a film and the audio recording is out of context, no probs, I'll still pre-order Wild Light. And I did. And I'm a bit disappointed here too.
From other reviews, it appears that it's just me but the refrains are just a little bit too uninteresting and the progressions in their repeat are just a little bit too slow and the variations from one repeat to the next are just a little bit too small. Perhaps this is intentional and the guys are really trying to push those limits. But to my ears, everything seems just that little bit too laboured and plodding giving an overall impression of tracks that just don't seem to hit the crescendos that their build-ups suggest. I do wonder if the soundtracking project hasn't cast a (wild) shadow over what is going on here. All of the above issues are not so important in soundtracking because the video is the focus but when audio is the focus, well, it's more of a problem.
I like the whole album, well enough - but I do struggle to remember many of the tracks even though I've listened to the whole thing well in to double figures. If nothing else, I've come to expect a great closer from 65dos - something to make me go...Woah!...and reach for the repeat button. Aren't We All Running, Radio Protector, Conspiracy of Seeds, Tiger Girl...Is Safe Passage a worthy addition to that quadrilogy...don't think so. At the end of Safe Passage, I find I'm rather happy to be moving onto something else.

Slow Focus
Slow Focus
Price: £5.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focused, 21 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Slow Focus (MP3 Download)
So I came to this release having got over the embarrassingly juvenile band name and being the owner of both Street Horrsing and Tarot Sport. The short clips on Amazon are never going to be much of a clue as to whether to splash-the-cash when you are talking about lengthy compositions welded together and so I returned to the two previous albums and gave them a listen (which hadn't happened in a while).

I love the concept of FBs. I love the noises. I love the songs. The problem with the last two albums for me was that, when the songs were lined up back-to-back, it resulted in an aural assault with little variation of light and shade and by album's end, I was always screaming for less. Now don't get me wrong. I'm as noise-addicted and discordant as the next guy - if the next guy happens to love Autechre as much as I do. The albums weren't so much 'nosebleed' as 'bleeding out through the nose'.

What finally drove me to buy this was the (excellent) review by the two dudes at velocitiesinmusic on u-tube who made me realise that this album actually has...LOW FREQUENCIES. Did they get a new piece of kit ? This was what was lacking in the last two album releases. Furthermore, they are used to such great effect on each track that this feels like...(drumroll plz) album...with each track having some respect for the previous one rather than being a variation on it. Overall, the album has the right length, the right blend and sufficient variation for this type of barely-controlled, flailing, abrasive noise. At the album's end, I can even contemplate listening to it again...remarkable.

I really do feel that this is an important progression and I doubt that I'll be so hesitant when the next album comes around.

No Love Lost
No Love Lost
Price: £13.81

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Lost Plot, 4 July 2012
This review is from: No Love Lost (Audio CD)
In common with others, I really feel that I have to write a review to provide a bit of balance to the reviewer that awarded 1-star (btw there are 30 samples to try to prevent such epic fails on expectations).

John Peel liked a bit of Nightingales and he liked a bit of Fall. Since the bands are cut from Captain Beefheart cloth and centre around the social observations of their cunning linguists, they are always going to be compared. I'll be honest. In their first incarnation (79-86), I didn't much care for The Nightingales; too much jangle and the sound didn't seem to progress. But that was then...

Since 2004, The Nightingales have been putting stuff out there for anyone who wants to listen. It's not the smoothest sound - sometimes it jars...but there again, sometimes you get a bit of bassoon floating in. This is never going to be music that you 'get' on the first listen; nor are you going to get to grips with the nuances of Robert Lloyd's prose on first listen. What you get is a music of indefinite parentage - a Heinz 57 mongrel of musical delights which takes time to masticate, digest and enjoy.

In the last few years, The Nightingales have become one of the few guitar-based bands whose albums I pre-order; The Fall have disappeared from that exclusive list.

DeWalt DW340K Heatgun (Old Version)
DeWalt DW340K Heatgun (Old Version)

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It was fun while it lasted...+, 10 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As with a few others here, it worked well and was good whilst it lasted...which was around 18 months of fairly light use. The variable heat was a good feature and prevented burning and the attachments for directing the heat were also good. Nice tool but the longevity compared poorly to my last one which worked for about 10 years, was a Black and Decker and was cheap. Not really worthy of the DeWalt name.

Full Moon Over the Shopping Mall
Full Moon Over the Shopping Mall
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars East London, Middle East and further East, 31 Aug. 2010
Like many people, I first became aware of Jah Wobble through his work with PiL. Since this time, of course, he has become highly-regarded and loved...but, however much I tried, I still seemed to be missing something. Time and time again, I played 30 second snippets of songs and found jazz-influenced noodling or electronic self-indulgence which did little to excite my interest. Further, I was unmoved by 'classics' such as 'Rising above Bedlam' - too mainstream for my taste and I'm actually thinking that I might be allergic Wobble's vocals such is my aversion.

Having said all of that, I often caught glimpses of killer dub basslines but they tended to underline songs that did nothing for me. One day, I concluded that I had to jump in with both feet and just give a full album a go and this is the one I chose (and I was subsequently relieved to find that it is pretty-much purely instrumental).

The album kicks off with the title track which happens to be my favourite. A quiet catchy bass line building up to a veritable crescendo of an eclectic mix of horns, reeds and strings. Undoubtedly, your enjoyment of the album will depend upon how harsh-sounding you find these instruments as they are pretty much a mainstay of the album from this point.

Despite the presence of sitar, I find the predominant feel of the opening track to be North African; but perhaps that's just me. Over tracks 2-4, the mood becomes more distinctly Indian owing to the underlying tabla beat. The fifth track takes another tack and fuses an eastern dub feel onto a persistent wandering baseline over its 13 minutes. Again, I find this track works well but I can imagine it might be a little too harsh and discordant for many - it will certainly take a few plays.

No matter how much I listen, I just don't like the closing track; more of a traditional jazz track with horns and I'm not a big fan of the genre. In addition, it is completely out of keeping with what has gone before. But this seems a common Wobblism. Despite his undisputed mastery of the bass and his formidable musicianship, in my humble opinion he just doesn't seem to have quite grasped the idea of producing an album which is more than the sum of its parts. This requires the presentation of a cohesive body of work which takes the listener on a smooth ride. Here, we hit turbulence just as we are coming in to land. For that reason, I can only give the album 4*s rather than 5. In this instance, it is particular galling as I could go and find a handful of tracks which Wobble released around this time and would have fitted snuggly in position 6 making this album an absolute masterpiece.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I'm actually reviewing a boy's slipper..., 19 Aug. 2010
The world of the boy's slipper is a small one. If you are unfortunate enough to go boy's slipper shopping, you are as likely to find tumbleweed drifting down the shop's aisles as you are a boy's slipper; particularly if you don't want a 'mule'.

Imagine my uncontained joy then at finding a slipper in my boy's size, with my boy's favourite football club on and at under a tenner! I almost started singing 'Blue is the Colour'.

Six months on, the slipper is still going strong showing few signs of wear-and-tear and is likely to be outgrown before it disintegrates. Even the club emblem is still 100% in place and intact.

Word of warning : if your boy supports Manchester United, this product is probably not for you but you may be able to get one with their emblem and it will probably be red rather than blue.

The Spirit of Prague
The Spirit of Prague
by Ivan Klima
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Prague Tourist Board won't be happy with this advert, 19 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Spirit of Prague (Paperback)
If you have a penchant for collections of essays which have been pulled together from newspapers, samizdat broadsheets and down the back of the sofa, then this is one for you. Klima's life experience, as a survivor of the Theriesenstadt concentration camp and the 'totalitarian' state which was post-war Czechoslovakia, is frequently evident in his fictional writing and is very much to the fore in this collection.

A wide range of topics, ideas, thoughts and opinions is presented in this volume. It is only natural with such a collection that the essays don't necessarily flow into each other. In large part, this can be forgiven if the reader believes that the author has new or meaningful perspectives on each of the topics or offers new perspectives. Unfortunately, whilst the first 50 pages avoid the dangerous descent into pompous pontification, the following pages do not. Further, the writing is not particularly economical and takes on an almost bombastic tone. Here is a typical example of what you will be faced with (p83 - chosen entirely at random, honestly):

"If I speak of millionaires having the time of their lives, I am doing no more than giving a name to the present state of things. In the past, actors amused their masters. Today, the actors (or players) are the masters. Neither Maradona nor Navratilova, however, were born masters. In fact, both came from rather modest backgrounds, and if they have managed to climb up the ladder in a few years, this is a testimony to their talent, hard work and determination, certainly, but it is also a testimony to the world of today, and the depth of our longing for entertainment, or, more precisely, our longing to be entertained."

Is anything actually said in that paragraph? If it is, is it a 'road to Damascus' moment for you? Ploughing my way through paragraph after paragraph of this led me to spend my time postulating whether Klima's view is any more insightful than that of any person who happens to be sitting next to me in a bar (irrespective of the number of drinks that they have had). Further, large tracts of the book deal with life in 'the West' which is a little ironic since undoubtedly the person sitting next to me in the (western) bar will indeed have more of a basis for spouting forth on the subject.

Klima is not someone who suffers from a lack of confidence in his writing abilities. I was almost incredulous when he reported his irritation on being asked by a journalist about his homeland rather than his writing. He repeatedly pours scorn on the number of bad writers in his country but it only serves to remind me that the one novel that I have read of his (No Saints or Angels) did nothing to encourage me to read a second; it wasn't bad but it didn't set my world on fire either. Granta seem at pains to expose Western readers to Klima's work but I feel, rather cynically, that this is done to sate the appetites whetted by readers of Kundera's books.

As I get older, my intolerance for this type of book grows but, hopefully, I have given you enough to make an informed decision on whether to buy. Now I'll 'fess up. I only got to page 131 of 186 and whilst not finishing books annoys me intensely, I could not perservere.

Penguin Lost
Penguin Lost
by Andrey Kurkov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't p-p-pick up this Penguin, 22 July 2010
This review is from: Penguin Lost (Paperback)
This book is a sequel to the acclaimed 'Death and the Penguin' and ploughs much the same furrow. 'Chapters' are mere vignette slices-of-life and the packing of 106 chapters into 250 pages tells everything about the structure of the book. The protagonist Victor, owner of the lost penguin Misha, is caught in a web of (corrupt or corruptible) thugs, spivs, businessmen and politicians and we follow him on his journey from Antarctica to Kiev to Moscow to Chechnya to Kiev to Split to Argentina.

The appeal of the previous book lay in the originality of the absurd situations it described; such as a penguin being employed to attend funerals or undergoing heart surgery. However the lack of anything equivalent here, only serves to highlight that the book is peopled by stereotypical caricatures and the continuously-changing backdrop of locations is just one large expanse of stereotypical, East European grimness. In short, this book retreads the same ground as 'Death and the Penguin' but it is by no means its equal. For that reason, it is probably best left alone.

Space Shuttle Discovery & Booster Rocket 1:144 scale model
Space Shuttle Discovery & Booster Rocket 1:144 scale model
Price: £21.88

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, 10 Aug. 2009
= Durability:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as a father and son (8) model building project that could be done together. In truth, there is not much for the son to do. I don't know what the '6' minimum age refers to. It certainly appears to me that once the model is built, it is not a 'toy' to play with as such as it is just not robust enough for that. I would suggest that this model only really suits an older boy (i.e. 30+) who likes this sort of thing and anyone with the romantic notion that I had would best stay clear.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2012 4:16 PM GMT

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