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Reviews Written by
Simon J. Whight "fourfourfun" (Manchester)

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Fundacion NYC
Fundacion NYC

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistancy from the master DJ, 22 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Fundacion NYC (Audio CD)
I found myself approaching this mix with an already increasing sense of disappointment even before the headphones hit my ears. A review here crying "What has become of our beautiful Sasha!?" led me to start believing that the great one was indeed falling from grace if the hardcore Sasha-ites were despairing over his latest work. After having a listen, I can only think what on Earth have these people been listening to? Perhaps there was a mispressing and they got a freakish copy of an EP of Crazy Frog remixes. I don't know.
While not the most astonishing mix I've heard in recent times, its still a step in the right direction. Where Airdrawndagger was fair enough, it lacked punch. Sasha took his production know how and applied it to what he does best, creating ace remixes and thus we had Involver. Fundacion keeps following the path that Sasha has set before him but this time its an actual variety of artist tracks laid before our ears. Its refreshing to see the big name DJs steering away from progressive dullness of recent, letting melodies, glitchy beats, dirty electroid funk and scatterings of vocals slip into their sets ... no doubt due to the rise in power of more experimentally minded tech-house DJs. Even though Sasha has picked up on this shift in power on the scene, when you hear these tunes mixed together, it has nothing other than the official stamp of 'SASHA' across each track. Those glacial synths, the seamless flow of tracks.
Thanks to the mixing software used on this album, you don't get to hear some tracks shine as such, but used as elements to enhance other tracks. Of moments to bring a smile to my lips there is ace Depeche Mode cover from Playgroup, the latter section of the mix where Freaky Chakra takes everything a bit offkilter by introducing 6/4 rhythms and Goldfrapp pick up the baton to move into glam electro territories. Certainly an ambitious mix.
I remember reading ages ago that Sasha was planning to do a series of 3 DJ mixes for Global Underground. We've had a mix of remixes from Involver and a mix from the laptop with Fundacion, I'd seriously like to see Mr Coe follow in the steps of Mr Digweed's Fabric mix and go back to grass roots for his final mix in the series, putting Ableton Live or whatever he is getting his hands on to play around with aside. Sasha, some decks and some pure dancefloor material ... a bit of raw energy. It has to be done.

K750i (UK, Black)
K750i (UK, Black)

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best phone of the mo for pictures and MP3s!, 19 Jun. 2005
To quote an SPV loving mate who works for a mobile phone company "its the most desirable phone I've seen to date". This is one seriously impressive phone.
When it came to upgrade time, I thought to myself, what would I want from my mobile? Perhaps MP3 playing capability? How about a decent camera? These are things that have been hinted at to date but now finally realised with Sony's new wonderphone.
The camera on this beast is really solid, flick open the protective cover and unleash the 2 megapixel glory. In daylight it performs just as good as any dedicated digital camera. 4x zoom and autofocus mean you can set up and capture some quality shots. At night, arguably the time when phone cameras show their limitation, and it performs almost as well. I say almost because without night-mode, the light on and a steady hand ... you'll still be subject to slighty grainy/blurred pictures. But hey! Its the BEST I've seen a phone do in no light quality. You can get your pictures playing as a slideshow, add a soundtrack, you can switch to movie mode and record MP4 film. Various qualities of film/pictures are available depending on your purposes. Low qualities for using in messaging, high quality for those who may want to Bluetooth their results to a PC.
Now we come to MP3 playing, well for one you will need Sony mobile handsfree kits to get things playing in your ears. The standard headphones are decent but VERY uncomfortable. Better quality than the Nokia ones though. Where the good news lies is with the Fontopia design handsfree kit being an accessory to be released in the near future. The standard Fontopia headphones are frankly ACE and to have these for your mobile would give you a really strong MP3 playing device. Couple this with the phone being able to take up to 4GB Memory Stick Duo cards and you've got some real scope here. The Media Player section allows you to structure playlists to your desire.
The rest of the phone matches up the likes of the Nokia 6230, you can sync your phone on the PC with the PC Suite software. The USB cable is ace, transferring data AND recharging your phone, its just a shame that the software currently does not sync to Lotus Notes. You can pick up your emails if you tap in your ISP settings and the phone generally goes out of its way to offer just as much functionality to each phone function as possible. You can navigate through the menus via the jogstick/keypad, and additional options appear in the form of dropdowns. Its certainly a busier approach to the simplistic and easy to use Nokia phones, but this does not interfere with the actual usage of the phone and is certainly intuitive. Besides, it will take a LOT to contest Nokia's for ease of use.
You can get plenty of downloads for the phone, new themes, wallpapers, ringtones. It takes Java applications and my one came with a pretty swish fully 3D driving game!
Also on the market is the D750i, Tmobiles currently exclusive version of this phone. It is styled differently, in a very nice lilac, and has a different lens protector. Other than that it is the same phone. Soon to come is the W800i, again the same phone, but bundled with a bigger memory stick than the 64meg you get with this phone. Between that and the 32meg onboard memory, however, you'll be fine for now! The only thing I wish this phone had was replacable facias. One it helps for resale value and two you'll need to keep that screen in good nick, you're only going to get one!
I'm well chuffed, I really haven't come across anything this fantastic since I stumbled across the Nokia 6230. With this and the new 6230i out, there are clearly only two decent contenders in the mobile market right now ... all you have to do is make your choice. This one was the winner for me.

Project Gotham Racing 2 (Xbox Classics)
Project Gotham Racing 2 (Xbox Classics)
Offered by total-gamer
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Online play is a jape! Single player lags behind Mr GT4..., 14 Jun. 2005
I'm quite surprised. I've just got myself signed up on Xbox Live and am finding myself enjoying the PGR2 experience MORE than the Halo 2 experience. Its hilarious! Where Gran Turismo 4 is all seriousness and real world accuracy, PGR2 shines in its instant accessable arcade racing fun. Its an arcade racer but with a bit more substance than the likes of the Ridge Racer series. Now, to be fair, the one player game is a bit of a duffer when compared to GT4's 'do your cars up, learn all the courses, drive like a pro' all encompassing approach, but when it comes down to playing against real human opposition, this is the game to go for. Now, the one player game has merely been resigned to a means for unlocking new vehicles in my eyes.
I just can't get enough of occasions where without fail, everyone PELTS full speed into the barriers on the first corner in an eagerness to get that vital lead spot, accompanied by the sounds of people creasing up with laughter over the communicator. There is something more fulfilling about racing some real people than GT4s mindless drone cars. When was the last time that a car in GT4 weaved around in front of you, trying to stop you getting past? Smacked into your rear end to spin you out in front of the finishing line? Misjudge a corner and completely screw up? It just doesn't happen, the AI just can't compete with the human element.
Yes PGR2 has been out for donkeys years now, but I'm only just cottoning onto the Live experience with this game and its an absolute blast.

Walking on a Little Cloud
Walking on a Little Cloud
Offered by Warehouse Seller
Price: £2.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright laid back fare with 3 little gems, 13 Jun. 2005
I bought this album thanks to a whole load of glowing praise from the Hooj crew. While a good album, its perhaps not quite worthy of the 'unholy gushing' that I read from them. Since I got this on vinyl, I approached this with my 'would the tracks get play time on my mixer?' head on. On the whole there is alot of alright deep fare on this album. Electronic house that is pacy and summery yet not entirely remarkable, edging towards light and funky noises as opposed the wintery, melancholic synths. Reminds me of an old LP by Johnny Fiasco that I picked up on Cajual ages ago. Plenty of music that I would happily stick on as background music while pottering around the house maybe, not stuff that I'd think 'oh man, I must pull that track out NOW' though. However, I have to point you in the direction of 3 tracks that ARE worthy of praise.
Sweet Harmonies is a light gentle track with gentle floating keys, fast yet soothing. When a silly wibbly acidic synth is added to the blend, you've got a bit of a killer. Percussion is programmed just nicely. Sleep With A Fat Girl is a bit of a odd one for the album, a sinister acid tinged track with a wobbling acid bass and percussion that pitches up and down in all the right places. Finally there is Little Angel, my fave from the LP, and a current fave to finish off something like a tech house mix with. Electric drums open up the track with plenty of tom toms and bleepy noises firing out around the place, then fades in the happy little bassline before we hit into some gorgeous synth chords. Has a perfect simple little melody that is light and uplifting.
So there we go, on the whole an alright album for listening purposes but hidden within are 3 little gems that are more than worthwhile. If deep electronic house of a Metro Area, Jori Hulkkonen vibe is your thing, you're going to be right at home. Other may need a bit more persuading to find joy from this.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Xbox)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Xbox)

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The daddy gets a face lift, 13 Jun. 2005
Well here it is. Finally the BIG game of the PS2 arrives on the Xbox. No doubt you already know the quality of this game, its worthy of bypassing all reviews instantly and heading straight up to the 'Buy' button. I've already played through, completed and reviewed this once on the PS2! Yet I have instantly rushed out to grab this Xbox version to once again relive the San Andreas experience. What can I say? From the moment the game opens up its like seeing San Andreas through a rather sharp and expensive pair of glasses as opposed to the slightly more value brand that you use to view the PS2 version through. The state is rendered oh so more crisply with sharper graphics, more detailed textures, absolutely fantastic! Everything from the orange haze of Los Santos to the foggy streets of San Fierro to the purple night times of the Las Venturas desert look absolutely stunning. You also get the bonus of proper Dolby Digital 5.1 sound as opposed to Dolby Pro Logic II. Also the Xbox hard drive shows its genius as you can get your own spooled soundtrack pumped into the game alongside the very hip hop biased main radio stations. Everything points towards making San Andreas a fuller experience for the senses.
Beyond that, the core excellence of the game is intact. If you think of Vice City giving you a playground to have your fun in, San Andreas gives you Alton Towers. Drift away from the quality Boys In The Hood storyline to experience a few side games and you'll find that they're much more fleshed out and involving. Take the car missions like Taxi Driver. Its gone from being a fair old 30 second dash around the city to a game with speed bonuses for delivery, necessity to repair the taxi when it gets a bit pranged etc. Rather than taking 5 minutes out for a quick jaunt on this I've found myself dedicating a whole hour to ferrying people around Los Santas. This applies right across the board, you'll find basket ball to play, pool, Dance Dance Revolution style rhythm games, street races... the list goes on. This all set in the massiveness that is San Andreas.
Quality has been extended to the fighting controls with a much more accomplished auto aim method. Of course it still isn't perfect, I still find I get the odd bizarre occasion of CJ running around blindly firing in the air, but its certainly less frustrating than in the previous games. The Xbox conversion brings with it its own new problems, namely being the lack of analogue buttons aside from the shoulder triggers. This means that all driving has to be done with the shoulder buttons, something totally alien when you approach the game from a perspective of the PS2s X button being the main action/drive button. Also the naff old black/white buttons make it a touch difficult to view backwards in a car/select targets to shoot at without having a right hand with 20 fingers. Also inherited from the PS2 version is the games insistence to draw textures right in front of you, thankfully less criminal than in the PS2 version.
Of course the games catalogue of faults are well known to all, but the sheer ambition and quality of the entire package bring with it a host of Pros that overwhelm the Cons from the first moment you play. Like an old friend, a favourite of the house, you learn to forgive the faults and enjoy the good times.

Loops From The Bergerie
Loops From The Bergerie
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £13.15

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Deep House, 9 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Loops From The Bergerie (Audio CD)
I had the misfortune of catching Swayzak performing a live set at Fabric one Saturday night a few years back. After being very impressed by their remix of Alcamacet on the Shinichi imprint, I was looking forward to them coming on. What I was confronted with was, in essence, two blokes kicking out bassdrums and basslines from a Groovebox and every now and again, introducing some hihats here and there. Not good.
Thankfully, since then I've had my faith restored. Their Fabric mix was a showcase of some quality deep bassy house talent and now this artist album has reaffirmed the fact that Swayzak can cut out some killer productions. Managing not to fall down the over noodly deep house pitfall, Loops From The Bergerie manages to be deep while still maintaining a bit of grit thanks to the deep scratchy drums and low basslines. I'm not a fan of male vocals at the best of times yet the scattering that are to be found on this LP are particularly pleasing, and in some instances coming across as almost Sylvian-esque in its delivery (check My House for that). If you're looking for a basket to put this in, imagine the likes of quirky housester Herbert ramped up with a bit of hypnotic tech house sensabilities.
Its a bit of a bumper time for me as far as discovering good quality house music goes; this, Agoria's Blossom, Youngsters' LemonOrange, Akufen's My Way, Ada's Blondie... the list goes on. Proof that there is a bit of inventiveness in the old dog yet in a scene that is becoming increasingly split between the Ibiza glitz and the truly inventive and creative.

UNKLESounds: Edit Music for a Film - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction
UNKLESounds: Edit Music for a Film - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction
Price: £13.27

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars UNKLE franchise in full flow again, 4 Jun. 2005
Mr Lavelle has cottoned onto the fact that if he tags the UNKLE name to a DJ mix, he's onto a winner. I know this, I got the Do Androids Dream set for £60 months before it got magically released onto the public for £25 (guh).
Lavelle has found a certain style that he likes, no doubt through his stints as a Fabric resident, and you'll see a the same themes crop up throughout his mixes from the UNKLE stuff to the Global Underground mixes. Sometimes you run the risk of stumbling over the same tracks and mixes over and over again (Big Brother Is Watching You being an example of this, coming across as a edited down version of Do Androids Dream. There was no need!). Luckily, when you head onto the 1st disc of Edit Music, you realise that its is a piece of class. Opening with the 20th Century Fox fanfare and a cheeky snippet of Lucas' THX 'noise', the mix flows through some choice breaks, varying from downtempo right up to drum and bass. The usual UNKLE accapellas make their appearences to give a new edge to well known tracks and Lavelle indulges himself with a nice scattering of well known film samples.
The 2nd disc just didn't manage to have the sparkle of the 1st disc, my interest only being perked at a rather cheeky progressive reworking of the 'Bang Bang Shoot You Down' opening credits of Kill Bill. Not a bad mix all in all, but just not as interesting as the opening A New Hope.
I think now is the time for Mr Lavelle to hit us with a new UNKLE album or to branch out into territories uncharted, theres a bit of competition in the moody breaks field now with Meat Katie and Adam Freeland both sticking out stonking Fabric mixes, plus Evil Nine's own artist album.
UNKLE fanatics will love to snap this up although its not as initially impressive as the Do Androids Dream set when that came out. If you've not got Do Androids Dream, thats the place to head immediately for the class 3CD tour de force that Lavelle spells out over downtempo, breaks and house.

Axel F
Axel F
Offered by SAS MUSIC & DVDS
Price: £2.00

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT PASS 'GO', 30 May 2005
This review is from: Axel F (Audio CD)
If you're buying this, you're in essence saying that 'Hey Jamster! I think its GREAT that your adverts pop up twice in each ad break and that you're using 1% flair ideas for ringtones...'. A bit of cheese is alright but honestly ... I feel sorry for the kids getting ripped off for £3 a week by signing up to this thing.
If you REALLY want an mp3 ringtone, stick something from your own collection on your phone and not this turgid guff. Hell, download the original which it is based round. Just don't give people the excuse to churn out more dance based rubbish ... its one genre that could do without any more bandwagon jumping.
This makes Eiffel 64's Blue look like a piece of timeless genius.

Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
Price: £11.91

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, 22 May 2005
Well what can I say! This is absolutely ace! I'm a bit of a sucker for electronica when it goes all orchestral ... could be the upbringing, and this is one of the best examples of that class of styles from opposite ends of the musical spectrum.
This pushes the same buttons as when I first heard Plaid's Rest Proof Clockwork merging of all things electronic and classical. Where Plaid take electro/hip hop for their assault on the classical world, Venetian Snares hit straight into firing splintered drum and bass breaks. Trust me, you've never heard the classic Amen breakbeat worked as hard as on this album!
The key to this albums genius is the juxtaposition of smooth flowing orchestral samples set against raw angry breakbeats. The two work so well next to each other, the angular fierce breaks sound wonderfully palletteable next to the soothing string sections.
Yep, this is absolutely fantastic, can't sum up in words how impressed I am by this album.

The Other Side
The Other Side
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £4.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice laid back house vibes, 21 May 2005
This review is from: The Other Side (Audio CD)
I've always had a soft spot for Nick Holder's stuff. Alot of people will know him for the Inside Your Soul track which Lexicon Avenue turned into a humungous progressive monster, but once you get down to the actual Nick Holder, you find that his sound is entirely different.
Alot of the album features his trademark deep, hypnotic housey beats which managed to perfectly straddle between chilled and yet have that danceable tribal edge to them. Little jazzy grooves filter over the beats keeping that hazy summery vibe going. You can pick Magic Carpet Ride, Bad Girl, The Dream Lives On out straight away as perfect examples of this. Nothing boundary pushing, but by keeping it simple our Nick shines above many others. Now don't worry, this isn't an album of just filtered house. The first track Player 1 is a sparky little track with chipper beats and lots of coin-op arcade game samples scattered around it. Back Again follows this, a lovely chilled laid back track with watery keys and a nice subtle simple vocal. Personally I'd love to hear stuff like this float out of the radio than what we usually get, I'm sure if anything this track could find a few friends in the mainstream. No More Dating DJs features a scathing spoken word rap from Jemini, think the style of Ursula Rucker here. Typical moody DJ types with vinyl virgin girlfriends should beware.
There is enough here on this album to keep you happy and enough variety between tracks to keep you from switching off before the end. Label owners NRK are veterans of the house scene and know how to serve up the best deep house and tech house, so trust in them with this. If you REALLY trust them, then head right to the remix package of the Holder tracks too ... definitely one to hunt down on vinyl.

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