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dalek78 (Sheffield, S.Yorks United Kingdom)

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Duma Key
Duma Key
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and fascinating read, 20 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Duma Key (Paperback)
Despite having seen many of his works adapted for film & TV, "Duma Key" is actually the first Stephen King book I have read - and it's also one of the best things I have ever read. Gripping, moving and emotive as well as haunting and darkly fascinating, this is one book I could not put down. Familiar King hallmarks are notable throughout the story and the atmosphere is tremendous; uneasy and uncertain. The character development is absolutely superb, and few books have made such an impression on me as this has.


Interplay
Interplay
Price: £7.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 23 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Interplay (Audio CD)
Interplay is the first album from John Foxx and The Maths - a collaborative affair with synthesiser guru, Ben Edwards. After four years of instrumental and collaborative releases or compilations, Interplay sees a welcome return of John Foxx's often overlooked talents as a vocalist and lyricist.

Interplay opens with "Shatterproof", a dark and menacing affair. "Catwalk" boasts a typical Foxxien cinematic lyric. The upbeat "Evergreen", echoes early Depeche Mode, and provides a timely reminder of what a damn fine pop lyricist Foxx can be when he wants. "Watching a Building On Fire" features a duet with Ladytron vocalist Mira Aroy. One of the other many standout tracks is "Summerland", possibly the most addictive track on the album, with Foxx's harmonic vocals soaring out of your speakers during the chorus. "A Falling Star" is another key track and the most moving piece on the album.

Close followers of Foxx's work will find many of the lyrical themes reassuringly familiar, although musically, although Interplay is no nostalgia trip, bearing little resemblance to Foxx's previous work. At just 42 minutes in duration, Interplay is an ideal length and easily accessible. Analogue synths have never sounded so relevant, and this feast for the ears is testament to the longevity of these classic machines.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2011 10:17 PM GMT


Hands
Hands
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning debut, 8 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Hands (Audio CD)
Hands is one of the most refreshing, uplifting and infectious debut albums I've heard in a very long time. Ignore the pointless comparisons to La Roux or Lady Ga Ga - this is no one-off wonder or retro throwback album. Yes, it does have a certain early 80s feel to it in places, thanks to the use of vintage synth sounds, but it offers so much more, totally blowing the aforementioned right out of the water.

Here is genuinely a talented young lady - not only a great vocalist and highly skilled keyboard player, but a fantastic and creative lyricist - evident on tracks such as "No Breaks", the clever "Mathematics" and the superb duet with Phil Oakey, "Symmetry" - clearly the highlight of the album, which also reminds us what a stunning vocalist Oakey still is. Sadly the singles such as "Remedy" and "Earthquake" do give a slightly misleading impression of the album, although as they have proven, they clearly have a commercial and contemporary edge.

Hands is a fantastically produced album. There's a real depth to the music and lots of smooth layers of sound to enjoy, with Victoria Hesketh's sublime vocals remaining centre stage. Only perhaps "Ghosts" and "Tune Into My Heart" lack the instant appeal of the other tracks, but "New In Town", "Click", "Meddle", and "No Breaks" are some of the album's best tracks, which leave you yearning for more. There is also a very sensual feminine quality to all of the music here, as Miss Hesketh's personality shines through. It's an emotional journey, regularly dwelling on love and relationships, but it's also fun, playful and sexy - it's totally seduced me, anyway!

Hands pulls from a wealth of influence, but formulates everything into an incredibly modern, original and addictive album, with some of the best lyrics I've heard in a long time. These (little) boots were clearly made for walking, and I'm certainly looking forward to following her footsteps.


BIG BLUE BALL (COVER OPTION 1)
BIG BLUE BALL (COVER OPTION 1)

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A big blue world of talent and great musicianship, 28 July 2008
Big Blue Ball is not a Peter Gabriel solo album, but a collection of tracks recorded at Gabriel's Real World Studios throughout three recording weeks in 1991, 1992 and 1995. It is the culmination of the work of musicians from all around the world, and it's nice to finally hear the results, albeit well over a decade later, which in Gabriel time is quite a fast turnaround.

Gabriel does take lead vocals on a couple of tracks, the first of these is opening number "Whole Thing" (as featured throughout Ewan McGregor's Long Way Down series), which is a wonderful song with one of the finest Gabriel vocals in a long time. The Gabriel and Karl Wallinger partnership really shines throughout this collection of songs, but most prominently on this track and the original version of "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" - the third version of this particular song, which differs from both the 2003 single release and the heavily synthesised version on Gabriel's Hit compilation.

The highlight for me though, is the Joseph Arthur/Gabriel duet, "Exit Through You", featuring a typical Gabriel groove, distorted drums and a wonderful performance from Peter. I was however, left craving for an all-Gabriel version, as this could have easily been a classic.

Nowadays, music making seems to be the last thing on Gabriel's list of priorities, and although as a visionary and ideas man, he's untouchable, there are still some of us who are craving for some new music from him, so for now, this is as good as it gets. Gabriel doesn't dominate the album though, only featuring heavily on the above three tracks, leaving a wealth of talent from across the globe, shine throughout the rest.

Other highlights for me include Natasha Atlas' wonderful performance during "Habibe", with her silky-smooth vocals working perfectly alongside an Egyptian string band flowing with eastern atmosphere. Sinaed O'Connor takes the lead on "Everything Comes from You", Papa Wemba gives a rather distinctive performance with Juan Cañzares on the summery "Shadow". Joseph Arthur appears again with members of Deep Forest and Iarla O' Lionáird (who sung on Gabriel's Ovo album) on the rather lovely "Altus Silva", and there's more skilled musicianship and great melodies on tracks such as "Forest" and "Rivers", with only the rap of "Jijy" sounding out of place. The album closes with Karl Wallinger's title track.

Overall Big Blue Ball is an upbeat, eclectic mix of musical styles, languages, instruments and atmospheres, and a perfect model of what Peter Gabriel set out to achieve with his Real World Studios.


Music Of The Spheres
Music Of The Spheres
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic journey of emotion and adventure, 20 Mar. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Music Of The Spheres (Audio CD)
Why Mike Oldfield doesn't have several successful film scores under his belt is a question yet to be answered, especially when you experience the cinematic and emotive quality of Music of the Spheres.

Many cynics will enjoy labelling this album as "Tubular Bells 4" - but that couldn't be further from the truth. Although there is a similarity to Tubular Bells during the introduction to "Harbinger", and that's surely something that will divide opinion between fans, over Music of the Spheres. However, I personally heard far more similarities to Ommadawn, beyond the opening notes on Music of the Spheres. Given that this IS his first classical album, perhaps Mike felt the need to test the water, with a bit of familiarity here and there, with several "Which album is that bit from?" type moments, which just adds to the album's charm for me.

After reading Oldfield's very moving and deeply personal autobiography, Changeling, a return to his classical roots was inevitable, and if anything, long overdue. There has been a classical side to his music dying to get out - and he's finally unleashed it with Music of the Spheres, and rather beautiful it is too.

Music of the Spheres really feels like a celebration of Mike's musical achievements over the last three decades, and while he has never fully ventured into classical territory before, this album is much more "Oldfield" than I was expecting. Although he isn't playing all the instruments here(!) his personality is clearly evident, and he just couldn't resist the use of tubular bells in the epic finalé of "Musica Universalis".

Returning to an album of two halves, each made up of flowing pieces, is a joy to behold, and I feel that this album may be the first of many more classical pieces from Mike, as he matures into the very style that originally influenced him.

Mike Oldfield started making music as a place to escape, mentally, though that soundscape has gradually evolved over the years - and if Music of the Spheres is any indication of Mike's current state of mind, then it's surely a calm and tranquil place to be. Encore!


Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie
Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie
by Dave Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spaceboy has landed!, 20 Feb. 2008
I admit to having only owned this book for a few days, and not read it cover to cover, but what a joy it is to behold. Much larger and thicker than I was expecting, and full of great and rare photographs, both in black and white and a glorious colour section.

However, as a big fan of David Bowie's work in the 90s and beyond, this book is a real must for me. I might disagree with the author's bias in places, but on the whole, this is a long overdue positive retrospective of Bowie's interesting career of recent years.

Writing a book on any aspect of David Bowie is a mammoth task, and Dave Thompson has pulled it off wonderfully - putting together a wide variety of interview snippets and slabs of previously printed information and interviews, into one coherent slab of exciting reading. It is worth noting though, that there are plenty of spelling mistakes in this book, such as "The Blue Jean" (where did the "The" come from?!), the mis-spelling of 1.Outside's character names and the odd other one here and there, which any hardcore Bowie fan will spot straight away.

Bowie's creativity flourished in the mid 90s, just as it did in the late 70s, perhaps even moreso, once again pushing musical boundries and making the kind of unique albums only David can make. I'm really pleased that this book covers this particular career pinnacle.


Red Carpet Massacre (CD/DVD)
Red Carpet Massacre (CD/DVD)
Offered by westworld-
Price: £11.35

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything but a massacre, 23 Nov. 2007
Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre sees the band heading off in a completely new direction after 2004's Astronaut.

The names Timbaland and Timberlake instantly turned me completely off when I first heard about their collaboration. However, those names only apply to 2 or 3 songs, and after hearing a few snippets, I thought I would give it a try, and I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre is above all, a modern pop album. Contemporary, funky, sexy and cool, thanks to their new glitzy collaborators and a decent set of songs. Stylistically the lyrics and arrangements aren't a million miles away from 2004's Astronaut, but it's the production style which really gives this album an edge - evident on the funky "Nite Runner", "The Valley" and lead single "Falling Down", which sounds like Duran Duran at their best. Only "Skin Divers" saw me heading straight for the skip button with that awful R&B business that completely ruins the track.

A refreshing progression, and full marks to Duran Duran for their staying power. It may not be their greatest album but it's certainly not one of the worst.


And Now We Dream
And Now We Dream

4.0 out of 5 stars Let the dreaming begin..., 7 Nov. 2007
This review is from: And Now We Dream (Audio CD)
Instrumental music doesn't always get the credibility it deserves in today's difficult music scene, so I'll alwas support the musicians who have the passion and confidence to create it.

And Now We Dream is the first AjantaMusic album from brothers Paul and Robin Simon. If you know their names from Ultravox, Magazine or John Foxx, you'll be familiar with their skills as musicians. However, "And Now We Dream" takes you on a very different musical journey, made up from a wealth of ethnic influences.

Hispanic, eastern and creole are just some of the musical styles that make up worldly soundscape and chilled beats of AjantaMusic. If you're farmiliar with the music of Mike Oldfield or Bjørn Lynne then you will positively love AjantaMusic.

"And Now We Dream" takes the listener on a mystical, musical voyage, through cultures and ages gone by.

Standout tracks for me include: "Can Fly Sunday", "Kumari", "Disco Mafia" and "K2"


The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Arthur C. Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To the stars and back, 31 Aug. 2007
Quite simply - this is the best science-fiction novel I have ever read. It is more visual and imaginative than any film I have ever watched, with ideas and visions way ahead of its time. The story is told in such an intense and gripping way that you won't be able to put it down.

I first read it 7 years ago and it blew me away - and I have just finished re-reading it, and it was even better than I remembered. It is poetically written, and unlike some of Clarke's later novels, written in a way that is pretty straightforward. The City and the Stars is an epic adventure - you will not be disappointed.


Light and Shade
Light and Shade

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New music, night and day, 21 July 2007
This review is from: Light and Shade (Audio CD)
"Light + Shade" follows the chilled-out style Mike established with 2002's "Tres Lunas", combined with the dance/electronic influence of "Tubular Bells III" and the result is an interesting double album.

The first disc, "Light", is made up of melodic and floaty guitar/piano-led tracks. Whilst it's a pleasant and uplifting listen, I personally found it became boring, and lacked the adventure I was hoping to find. However. "Angelique", "First Steps" and "Our Father" really stand out as the best tracks on this disc..

However, the second disc, "Shade", is much more interesting. Since "Tubular Bells III", there has been a darker, heavier, more electronic side to Mike's music trying to get out, and he has finally unleashed it here. "Quicksilver", "Resolution" and "Slipstream" are all fantastic, driving tracks. Towards the end of the disc there's the beautiful hammond organ-led "Ringscape", a truly epic track, and the haunting closing number "Nightshade", which for me is the album's best song.

"Light + Shade" was made almost entirely with music software, most significantly vocal software packages, Cantor and Vocaloid. "Surfing" and "Tears of An Angel" are two of the tracks which use the synthesised vocals, which is effective in places, and irritating in others.

Overall "Light + Shade" is an uplifting and atmospheric album, and I would recommend buying it for the "Shade" disc alone.


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