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Endless Falls
Endless Falls

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Loscil album, 27 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Endless Falls (Audio CD)
It would be impossible to express how captivating this album is to me.
Only to say that from the cover, to the rain introducing the album, and ending it, it is a blessing that takes me on a journey I have now travelled many times.
I adore this album. It is so well considered and judged so perfectly. This for me is the best Loscil album so far, and now absolutely indispensable. I was lucky enough to grab it on vinyl at the time, and it appears to be scarce in this format now, which is a shame as it lends itself to vinyl very much. I have a friend desperately trying to find a vinyl copy since I played this to him last week.
The stars must have been aligned when this one was created.

Sea Island
Sea Island
Price: £14.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less Ambient, faster paced, 27 Nov 2014
This review is from: Sea Island (Audio CD)
Less Drone than most others, we have a musical performance with acoustic instruments - vibraphone, piano, etc, which demands more attention from the listener, rather than just getting it anyway. There is a hurrying pace generally too, which is not something we normally expect from Loscil. It's almost as if the brief for this album was different from previous works, where images were allowed to develop on their own over time, without assistance. With Sea Island, I feel as if I'm not being allowed to go at my own speed quite so much and draw what I want when I want it.
This album is lovely and has images that we have seen previously - Plume for instance has a similar landscape in places, and it widens out the horizons that Loscil can reach.
My favourite will remain Endless Falls, but I doubt that anything will approach those heights, for me, for a very long time, by anyone. It's almost stupid to compare anything to that, but this album fits very well and is highly recommended for anyone that likes Ambient with a little more going on and a little more drive, with lots more going on. It's almost being taken on a tour by a tour guide that is in a hurry. Although I have to say that I am biased as this is not usually my way. It'll probably have a wider appeal.
I'm finding that some of the piano recording is over-saturated, but that may just be my gear.
It's a lovely album and highly recommended, and has won interest from some that I have played it to already, one buying it on vinyl.
I would have liked the vinyl cover to have been a full gatefold, but no worries.

The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins Mysteries Book 7)
The Smile of a Ghost (Merrily Watkins Mysteries Book 7)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Really loved it, again, 25 Nov 2014
This was the first book of the series I read, which led me to start at the beginning and read them all in sequence. Having got to this one, no.7, again, I couldn't resist reading it again. Maybe that is unnecessary, or maybe it is if I'm a bit OCD (which I don't think I am - I don't keep the bezel on my diver's watch set at midday, for instance), but either way, I'm glad that I did.
These are all strong books, but this one especially is beautifully written with such empathy for the characters (well, maybe not all of them), with damaged souls treated with respect and understanding, which is, I suppose, the strength of Merrily.
A wonderful book that stands alone as well as it stands within a series, and a real triumph. This will probably remain my favourite of the series, but I've still got a few to go yet, and I ain't stopping now.
I'd love to know who Bell was inspired by. Sonja Kristina? Maybe....sorry...Mabbe not dark enough.
Lots of parallel issues, some red herrings, some nasty characters, lots of things going on...a bit like real life really.
Great book. Really loved it, again.

The Prayer of the Night Shepherd (Merrily Watkins Mysteries)
The Prayer of the Night Shepherd (Merrily Watkins Mysteries)
by Phil Rickman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I do really find Merrily needs a good shake sometimes, 13 Oct 2014
I've been reading my way through the Merrily Watkins series over a few years now, every time coming back to the next with anticipation and excitement after reading all the other books I have stacked up.

I do really find Merrily needs a good shake sometimes, and Lol is such a drip. I wish he would just man-up a bit and stop being so damaged and limp. Jane is a complete pain and so arrogant. I love them all.

Good though the series is, I'd have to say that The Prayer Of The Night Shepherd is a stand-out book and wallows in an atmosphere and ambience that is luxurious in an autumn read. I doubt it would be as powerful if I was reading this on a summer beach somewhere as it is set among foreboding skies and the erie silence of snow laden rural isolation, and the grip of a story in this cold season is irresistible.

There is a lot of love in this book and the juxtaposition of those that truly care for each other played against the other bunch that really don't, is nicely illustrated, and heightens the contrast. Merrily of course just sits, impotent, as she always does, limply in the middle, undecided on what to do until she is forced to act, as is always the case, with an outcome that she is never going to be wholly satisfied with. Her daughter will always be several steps ahead and independent, as she has to be without a mother, and I expect this will always be the case. The flawed and realistic characters are the strength of the book and series. Merrily will always be a mother to anyone but Jane, which of course is the opposite of what she actually wants, and is probably the root of her doubts of being in her professional role. That'll never change, I'm sure, except that Jane is almost grown and gone already, and a big hole in Merrily's life is looming. I'm sure I'll get to that one soon enough.

Reviews of a book in a series is a bit daft, especially this far on, but I've enjoyed this book so immensely that I just had to say so. I have found that Phil Rickman with this book has found a particular atmosphere that has played really well throughout, and the landscape and ambience is more felt here than I have found before.

The Red House
The Red House
Price: £4.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Initially I was annoyed at the style, 5 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Red House (Kindle Edition)
Initially I was annoyed at the style, putting conversations in italics instead of proper conversations, but I got used to it. Then I was annoyed about the flitting around between characters so that you didn't know who was talking or thinking at any given moment, but I eventually got used to that too. I guess I'm old-skool. When I had got over being annoyed I settled into what turned out to be a remarkably good book, even though in my early annoyance I did in fact put it down. I'm glad I picked it up again.

I thought of it as a play in many ways, except that it would never work as a play because most of it happens inside the character's heads, but it played out like that, and I loved that the characters were all coming to terms with their own flaws when in fact they initially set out to come to terms with each others. It was an extremely sensitive telling of coming together whilst falling apart, and brilliantly handled.

The reality of life is that we come into this world alone, and we leave it alone, and sometimes we need to be reminded that in fact, in our own private thoughts, we live it alone too. What was also illustrated was the effect of childhood memories being totally inaccurate, almost as if we play a game of Chinese Whispers with our own memory throughout the years and end up with a completely different version of events. It is maybe a book about the loneliness of the individual without that being immediately obvious from the outset. It isn't apparent from the style or subject, but this is proper literature with a real depth.

I was going to give it 4 stars, but I've just talked myself into giving it 5.

I'm still irritated by the style, but I guess rules are meant to be broken.

Entry Island
Entry Island
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I haven't read it yet, but..., 31 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
When I first realised that there was a new Peter May book out, I was so excited that I did little bit of wee. This was unfortunate as the poster for Entry Island was on the platform of Brighton station.
It's now on my Kindle, and for a day or two the rest of the world can b***er off.
I'm supposed to be at a wedding tomorrow. Hmm...

Ghost Stories
Ghost Stories
Price: £5.00

17 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, just awful, 21 May 2014
This review is from: Ghost Stories (Audio CD)
'The breakup album'. Oh God no. The cover is a broken heart, yeah, but like, ghosts?
Not much to say about the rest of the band as they don't seem to figure much now - it's Chris Martin, a piano and sawing bloody violins.
Remember the bad old days? It's like bloody Phil Collins all over again.
You'll need a bucket with you.
I've got better things to do thanks.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2014 1:22 PM BST

Colfax [VINYL]
Colfax [VINYL]
Price: £20.54

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is too early to decide on Album Of The Year?, 2 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Colfax [VINYL] (Vinyl)
It's been a long time.
Willy Vlautin has had other things on his mind and maybe putting together an album just hasn't been on the list for a while, but here it is finally, with a new band, with Sean from Richmond Fontaine (We love you Sean!) and it's like coming home again.
I've wanted this album for so long, and now it's here I'm lost for words that can do it justice. It's my kind of heaven. Willy Vlautin band album with pedal steel - that's all you need to know.
Amy is stunning, the looseness of the band, the ease and the feel, it put a lump in my throat from 30 seconds in, and it just works like you wouldn't believe.
I'm overwhelmed by it.

It's a Big World Out There [VINYL]
It's a Big World Out There [VINYL]
Price: £17.82

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The companion to Pretty Daze, 7 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It may not be obvious from the outside, but this is really an EP mostly about Feel My Pain.
I wondered at the outset why Feel My Pain wasn't on Wakin On A Pretty Daze, but it is so good that it actually does deserve it's own disc, and when I play it, which is loads, I tend to play it over and over.

I don't know what happens from here, but to me it seems that Kurt Vile is putting out better and better records all the time and if there is more stuff like this yet to come, then I am in heaven. I'm not sure how it can get much better, though.

Feel My Pain is extraordinarily beautiful in it's classic KV awkwardness and fragility, that actually is extremely accomplished and crafted with an honesty and passion that just drips off the record. This needs to be bought on vinyl to really ensure that it is played with the reverence that it deserves, and to play it flippantly otherwise is to entirely miss the point.

Kurt Vile is one of the greatest true artists we have at the moment, and this album, together with Walkin On A Pretty Daze, are essential. Catch him live too if you can.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2014 12:26 PM GMT

I Bet On Sky
I Bet On Sky
Price: £11.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drug, 7 Mar 2014
This review is from: I Bet On Sky (Audio CD)
Like Bassman, this reminds me very much of Bug, which is a very good thing.
What J manages to do is transport me to a sun blasted youthful past, that I never had, on the back streets of some American suburb kicking up dust in baseball boots. It is so powerful in it's vibe and imagery and it is so beautiful.
I bought this immediately when it came out and hurried home with it like a little kid again. I haven't done that with anything for decades.

For me, Dinosaur Jr. sums it all up. When you are listening to Dinosaur Jr., they are the most important band that ever happened, and this album is right there, and when I listen to one album I can't help but play them all.

Even though I'm older than J, if I ever met him, I'd probably cry.

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