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Sid Nuncius (London)

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Dowland: Complete Lute Music Box set Edition by Nigel North (2009) Audio CD
Dowland: Complete Lute Music Box set Edition by Nigel North (2009) Audio CD
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £53.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic set, 12 July 2015
You may like to know that this wonderful 4-CD set is still available at budget price: Dowland: Complete Lute Music. Below is my review from that page:

This is an absolutely fantastic set. Dowland's lute music itself is wonderful - often melancholy, sometimes more sprightly and dancing but always fresh and often innovative for its time and packed with melody and harmonic invention. It constitutes one of the glories of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages and, four centuries on, thoroughly deserves to be alive and well. In the hands of Nigel North it is both.

North is one of the world's greatest lutenists. He has been making recordings of the highest quality for many years now and this series for Naxos is among his best. He has the depth of technique to make Dowland's sometimes very difficult pieces sound as easy and as natural as breathing. He also has a wonderful understanding of the music itself, investing it with exactly the right degree of emotion so that it never sounds stodgy or miserable - just poignantly melancholy where it should and engagingly charming in other places. The fabulously beautiful tone which North coaxes from his lute is perfectly caught by the excellent recording, and the notes and presentation are very decent.

I cannot commend this set highly enough. I was raised on Jakob Lindberg's recordings which I still love, but I have come round to preferring Nigel North's recordings. At this price they are a wonderful bargain, too. Don't hesitate: this is a set to give pleasure for many years so snap it up.

Live At Shea Stadium 1982 [DVD] [2015] [NTSC]
Live At Shea Stadium 1982 [DVD] [2015] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ The Who
Price: £13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great live recording, 12 July 2015
This is a decent but not a great live recording. I don't think The Who were ever less than good live and sometimes they were quite stunning (as they were when I saw the at The Valley in 1974). For a variety of reasons, this isn't one of their best, but it's well recorded and a good record of the band at this time, if not much more.

There are some great songs on this album, and it's always a pleasure to see The Who perform their classics, but even those are a little lacklustre at times. As others have noted, Kenney Jones is a great drummer but didn't quite gel with The Who so that magnificent, driving rocket behind them, which Moon provided before his death and Zak Starkey has provided more recently, is missing. Even the great, great Who songs don't quite blaze as they should. Also, some of the material from around this time isn't that great in my view, so there are some pretty ordinary passages.

This is certainly no Live At Leeds, and in some ways it's a little sad to see such a great band running into the doldrums slightly. As a Who fan of 50 years standing I'm glad to have this, but it's not one I'll be playing that often, I suspect. If you're looking for a really fine Who performance on DVD, I'd recommend Quadrophenia Live In London The Who: Quadrophenia - Live In London [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]. Obviously, it's very different: there's no Entwhistle and Townshend and Daltrey are 30 years older, but as a live performance it's superb and miles (and miles and miles) ahead of this. Only a qualified recommendation from me for this one, I'm afraid.

Carnegie Hall 1971
Carnegie Hall 1971
Price: £16.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ruined by dreadful sound quality, 11 July 2015
This review is from: Carnegie Hall 1971 (Audio CD)
I'm afraid I agree with the other reviewers here: this is a very good concert, completely ruined by dreadful sound quality. Even as a long-term Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker fan I can't recommend it, and to be honest, I think it's a bit of a con charging fans full price for such a poor recording. The sound is badly distorted, sounding as though it's coming through a tiny speaker stretched well beyond its capacity, and very poor balance making the whole thing sound like an indistinct mush. It almost sounds as though it could be any old band in a pub somewhere, and to do that to Canned Heat is just plain wrong.

However much you may love Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker, my advice is to avoid this: it's seriously disappointing.

ECHTPower BS019-BK Portable Mobiler Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia, HTC, Blackberry, Google, LG, Nexus, iPad
ECHTPower BS019-BK Portable Mobiler Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia, HTC, Blackberry, Google, LG, Nexus, iPad
Offered by ECHTPower
Price: £49.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, versatile little unit, 11 July 2015
Length:: 4:51 Mins

I was sent this for review by Echtpower and I think it is a good quality and versatile little unit. It's a speaker, FM radio and alarm clock and represents very good value.

The unit is nicely packaged and comes with a standard micro-USB lead for charging, a jack-to-jack lead and an adequate instruction manual in dodgy but comprehensible English. It is nicely made and seems robust, with smart styling. It's quite compact: roughly 14cm long x 6cm high x 6cm deep and would sit easily on a bedside table, shelf, windowsill or the like.

Functionally, it's very good. As a speaker it has connectivity via Bluetooth, AUX jack input for non-Bluetooth devices, microSD card and USB for a flash drive. All work very well; Bluetooth connection is simple and range seems good. The microphone and hands-free call functions are perfectly adequate. The FM radio is surprisingly good in a place with decent signal - there is no external aerial but it works almost as well as my radios with aerials and it scans and stores stations which you can scroll between using the buttons. The alarm works simply and will come on in the mode of your choice and the clock display is small but clear. Battery life seems around 5 hours and it also works while charging, so you can have it plugged in to a charger while using it if you need to.

The sound is pretty good for a small unit of this type. I test all headphones and speakers using a playlist of test tracks which give all aspects of the sound a thorough trial. It starts with 16th Century choral music, it ends with London Grammar and it has most things in between - orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber music, classic rock, acoustic music and so on. It's all pretty decent: it's not hi-fi, but the articulation is good, trebles are bright, middles and bass are perfectly adequate if a little thin, and speech is very clear. It goes loud enough to fill a medium-sized room with no distortion or hiss that I could detect, and as a small auxiliary unit I think it's very good.

In summary, this is a compact and versatile unit with very decent sound for its size. It seems well made and durable, and it's an attractive object, I think. At the time of writing this costs around twenty-five quid which I think represents extremely god value, and I can recommend it very warmly.

My Love Is Cool
My Love Is Cool
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive debut, 10 July 2015
This review is from: My Love Is Cool (Audio CD)
Just to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this excellent album. As so often, Red On Black has said most of what I want to say about My Love Is Cool, so I will simply add that this is an album of very well crafted songs. They are melodic, lyrically intelligent and very well played and sung and it's a very impressive debut.

I am genuinely surprised by how much I like this album. I have been listening to music seriously for well over 40 years and I have seen a lot of bands hyped to bits on their debut only to vanish again quickly for lack of real substance. I was therefore sceptical about Wolf Alice and the attention My Love Is Cool has received, but I was wrong. They have produced an exceptionally good debut album and I think they have the talent to last for a long time. I suspect we will be seeing a lot more really good stuff from this band, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Wolf Alice develop because they may well become something really big. I can recommend this warmly.

Lassus:Missa super dixit Joseph [Cinquecento] [HYPERION: CDA68064]
Lassus:Missa super dixit Joseph [Cinquecento] [HYPERION: CDA68064]
Price: £12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine release from Cinquecento, 10 July 2015
This is another fine release by the excellent Cinquecento. I have become a real devotee of their recordings over the last few years and this is a really good one.

Lassus doesn't always inspire me. His music can sometimes be a little ponderous to my ears and it needs a very fine performance to make it really shine. It gets that here, and both the mass and the motets which make up this disc are very beautiful and genuinely moving in places. The mass was new to me - it's a parody mass based on Lassus's own motet Dixit Joseph Undecim Fratribus Suis and it's very good, as are the motets. This is obviously a small selection from Lassus's vast output, and they are very well chosen to give a good variety, from the unfamiliar (to may, anyway) to the very well known Timor Et Tremor which closes the disc.

It's all beautifully sung and recorded. Cinquecento are technically flawless, with impeccable intonation, a lovely fluency of line and a beautiful blend of the male voices. Their lower, Flemish pitch gives the music a fabulous resonance in a perfect acoustic, and the whole thing sounds just fabulous. They also give the texts real meaning, so the Agnus Dei, for example, really sounds like a plea for the granting of peace, and fear and trembling are plain in Timor Et Tremor. It's exemplary singing, I think.

It often takes something quite special to really involve me in Lassus's music, and I think this is something special. It's another gem from this very, very fine ensemble and I can recommend it very warmly.

Truancy: The Best Of Pete Townshend
Truancy: The Best Of Pete Townshend
Price: £5.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good representative compilation, 9 July 2015
This is a very good representative compilation of some of Pete Townshend's solo work over the last 45 years or so.

I think Townshend is one of the finest composers and songwriters of the last half century. His melodic and harmonic ingenuity and innovations have been a constant inspiration and delight to me. I Can See For Miles set a monumental standard in 1967 with its Purcell-like harmonic progressions and he has built on that masterpiece since then with some truly enduring work which will stand with the greatest music of the late 20th Century, I think. His work with The Who has been my constant companion for half a century and has brought me immense pleasure.

That said, I have never felt that the standard of his solo work was quite that of the stuff he produced with The Who. It has the same musical complexity and intelligent, original lyrical content (sometimes even more of both), but for some reason it hasn't spoken to me in the same way and I respect it rather more than I like it. It could be that the superlative combination of those four massive talents in The Who brought out the best in Townshend's writing and in his performances. It may also be that, great musician and guitarist that he is, Pete isn't a great singer and the rather average vocals can't really convey the depth in this material. To be honest, I don't really know why it is, but for me this solo work just doesn't quite hit the spot.

All of this is a very personal reaction and please don't let me put you off. There's nothing wrong with any of it - far from it - and you may well disagree with my view. Certainly if you like Townshend's solo work, or you are looking for a place to start with it, this compilation will serve you very well and I can recommend it on that basis.

Cetaphil 236 ml Moisturising Lotion
Cetaphil 236 ml Moisturising Lotion
Price: £7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent moisturiser for sensitive skin, 9 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is excellent. Sensitive skin and sensitivity to perfumes and other volatile substances are a major issue here, and this works very well.

Cetaphil is a good moisturizer: not too thick so it soaks in well, it moisturizes and soothes nicely and it seems to last well. It is genuinely non-allergenic and fragrance-free, although there is a very faint floral smell, presumably from the macadamia oils, but it wasn't enough to cause any difficulty here. It is gentle enough to use on the face and on very sensitive areas including rashes and damaged skin.

There's not much more to say about a moisturiser. It's always very difficult for us to find usable products, especially as manufacturers "improve" products by adding perfumes and so on, so I'm delighted to have found this. I know that skin sensitivities can be quite individual, but if you need a gentle, fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic moisturiser it would be well worth trying this one. It's worked here, which very few products do, and I can recommend it warmly.

[ The Tunnel ] [ THE TUNNEL ] BY Sabato, Ernesto ( AUTHOR ) Apr-28-2011 Paperback
[ The Tunnel ] [ THE TUNNEL ] BY Sabato, Ernesto ( AUTHOR ) Apr-28-2011 Paperback
by Ernesto Sabato
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 8 July 2015
I thoroughly disliked this book. It is probably my own fault for ordering an "existential classic." I understand and have a good deal of sympathy with the existentialist notion that it is the responsibility of every individual to give meaning to his or her life, but I have never got on with most existentialist literature and wanted to have another try at finding out what people see in it. I thought that at least this wouldn't be the self-obsessed maunderings of another pretentious and self-regarding Frenchman and I was right - it isn't. Instead it is the self-obsessed maunderings of a pretentious and self-regarding Argentine.

The narrative consists of the thought processes, given in minute detail, of an artist with no regard for or understanding of others, who is socially completely inept and alienated from any other person. (Well, of course he is - it's an existentialist classic.) His own needs and desires are all that matter to him and this, coupled with a flawed and tortured internal logic, leads to the murder to which this is the confession. To give a small flavour of the tone of the book, the narrator sees a woman looking at one of his paintings in a certain way and, solely because of this, he instantly decides that he needs her desperately but doesn't speak to her. He tries to think about how to find her again:
"The girl, I could assume, was in the habit of visiting art exhibits. If I saw her there, I could stop beside her and, without too much awkwardness, start a conversation about one of the paintings.
"After examining the possibility in detail, I abandoned it. I never go to art exhibits." (The last sentence is in italics in the text.)

Now, I can understand the desire to convey that terrible inner awkwardness and the futile planning of casual meetings to try to overcome it, but why would an intelligent, logical character have to examine the possibility *in detail* before realising that he never goes to art exhibits on principle? Surely there must be some limits to inconsistency and absurdity even in existentialist classics. There is an awful lot of this sort of stuff which I found tedious in the extreme. At least in Camus's L'Étranger, for example, one genuinely does feel the alienation of the narrator and gain some insight into the human condition. Here we are presented with someone who seems like a deeply unpleasant and unreal caricature of a cross between the young Adrian Mole and the narrator of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but with none of the human insight of either book and only a fraction of their literary merit.

I'm afraid I thought that the best thing about this book was that it is mercifully short. Although plenty of intelligent, discerning people have liked and admired it, I certainly didn't.

[Wired + Wireless Handset] Ausdom M08 Over-ear Foldable Bluetooth Stereo Headphones with Built-in Mic
[Wired + Wireless Handset] Ausdom M08 Over-ear Foldable Bluetooth Stereo Headphones with Built-in Mic

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality headphones with dominant bass, 8 July 2015
Ausdom sent me these M08 headphones for review and I am impressed. They are very well made, exceptionally comfortable and have very good sound - although I find the bass a little dominant.

The headphones are very nicely packaged and come with a standard mini-USB charging lead, a good jack-to-jack lead for wired connection and a comprehensive User Manual in good English. They look very nice, I think, and fold up for easy transport and storage. They offer both Bluetooth and wired connection, and I noticed no difference in sound quality between the two modes. You can use wired connection to connect to non-Bluetooth devices, of course, and also use it if the headphones are out of charge which may be a handy feature.

They are light and comfortable; the ear pads are some of the best I've tried for comfort, and they will be fine for prolonged listening. The controls are the usual you'd expect: on/off and volume + and - buttons which also serve for pause/play and skip forward and back and standard phone controls, and there's a perfectly decent microphone. Bluetooth pairing is simple (standard pairing only - no NFC). I found both the battery life and range good.

Sound quality is very good for many types of listening, but not ideal for me. The bass is extremely full: in some forms of music that's great, but not in all. I test all headphones and speakers (and I've tested a lot) using a playlist of test tracks which give all aspects of the sound a thorough trial. It starts with 16th Century choral music, it ends with London Grammar and it has most things in between - orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber music, classic rock, acoustic music and so on. For rock and the like these are great; the powerful bass really gives it a kick and the deep bass in London Grammar's Hey Now sounds fabulous. However, in classical music I think there's a slight flabbiness in the treble and the bass is too dominant and rather boomy, so articulation of individual instruments and voices isn't always clear.

This may not bother you at all, and if you like a real bass boom in your music these will serve you extremely well. They are certainly very good headphones at this price: they are functional, stylish and comfortable. Ausdom make good headphones; I have tried several sets from them and they have all been of very good build quality. These also seem solid and durable so you can buy with confidence, so if you're looking for a set of Bluetooth and wired headphones with really strong bass, I can recommend these.

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