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Reviews Written by
David Johnson "El Burrito" (Buenos Aires)

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The Gone-Away World
The Gone-Away World
by Nick Harkaway
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from this at all costs, 8 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Gone-Away World (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is one of the most inane pieces of tripe I've ever had the misfortune to lay my hands on.
It's a classic example of hype afforded to someone who has been identified as the right face - an acknowledgment of effort over execution.
The first person narrator doesn't captivate you at all. Instead you're led down blind of alleys of drivel, stodgy prose that goes nowhere. We wait until three quarters of the book for a real dilemma. None of the flimsy philosophical ideas are fully developed around the cast of enigmatic characters. And there's no depth to any of them. Like many readers I found myself getting lost inside a page because everything in the convoluted plot has to be caked in surreal nonsense. Some supposed bright sparks will hail this as genius. I, like the majority of reviewers on this page, was left thoroughly bored.

Youth Novels
Youth Novels
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another enigma from Scandinavia, 1 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Youth Novels (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's one track on this that stands head and shoulders above the other and it comes right at the beginning. "Dance, Dance,Dance," sounds like The Velvet Underground in the pomp; soft fuzzy guitar, angelic voice with that telling lyric that really bites "Words can never make up for what you do." Great crecesendo of horns and female vocal chorus at the end. Love it. Can't stop playing it. "I'm good, I'm gone," is a fine slice of modern Scandinavian electric-stomp, reminiscent of electronic outfits like The Knife. It's cool. Lykke Li has one of those voices that make a man fancy her without seeing what she look likes. Tracks to note are the gentle, My love," and the single,"Little Bit." Youth Novels is a very apt title for the album. These songs sound like the inner musings of a child in their fragile, delicate execution.
Downsides? It's too long. Things tail off with the naff proto-punk of "Breaking it up" and the puzzling interlude "Complaint department."
That said, Lykke Li has a voice that despite it's lack of technical proficiency enthralls you. With a bit more savvy this could have been a very good album indeed. Worth dabbling on.

Do You Overstand?
Do You Overstand?
Offered by encorerecords
Price: £16.55

5.0 out of 5 stars It's house by not as we know it, 19 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Do You Overstand? (Audio CD)
As labels go Sonar Kollectiv have established a reputation for almost unwavering quality and innovation. I thought I couldn't be surprised but this record has to go down as one of the most interesting releases of the year so far.
Multi-textual from the wondrously dark, enigmatic "Chevy estate fe" into the bouncing yet ethereal rhythm of "Ghana Wada" - this takes you up and down avenues you don't expect to go. It sounds German in its technique - the beats are as clean as a whistle but never dull - I like the way the gentle "Velveteens" skips and the middle and comes back into the beat. There's a splash of post-modern Jazz "touch form the" and the dark menace of "Cargo."
Standout tracks fro me are the beautiful loop of "Sun children" and the indescructible pound of "wisdom and un."
This is a dark, expansive album thoroughly worthy of your attention.
On the inlay to this you're thanked for buying an orignal copy. Make sure you do - it's worth every penny.

Price: £13.09

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you'll ever need, 19 May 2008
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This review is from: SILENT MOVIE (Audio CD)
All so very occasionally you listen to something that really measures up to the hype that is afforded it. Silent Village's debut Silent Movie does just that.
This is an imperious mix of smokey cinema seascapes - check out the calm, languid opener Victoria's secret and addictive, funky bounce of Pacific rhythm. The opener burns into the intrepid bass of Circus of Horror's - it's the soundtrack to a cop series with a soul. "Free Rider" is again so calm, poised, every beat in the right place.
"Broken Promises" has you gently swaying from side to side, lost in a dream. So many ideas, so many possibilities - the record branches into psych rock with "Pillow Talk" and "Gold Rush." And it all works - the breathing sounds on "Singing Sand," the delicate, twisting string sounds on "Utopia."
Three years plus in it's execution - this has all the hallmarks of a real masterwork, the kind of record that burns, maturing slightly with every listen, never past its peak. Indispensable for anyone who claims to like music.

Bright Shiny Morning
Bright Shiny Morning
by James Frey
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The city of dreams, 16 May 2008
This review is from: Bright Shiny Morning (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
James Frey has this fantastic ability to write fiction that creeps under you're skin, his words worm their way inside you until you feel like you're actually in a place.
He pulls it off again with his grandiose Bright Shiny Morning - a tale of the daily trials and tribulations in one of the world's most hectic urban conurbations - Los Angeles.
The narrative is told through four characters. There's Amberton - super-rich actor, married to a glamourous wife, closet homosexual. Esperanza, a hard-up cleaner of Mexican extract. Joe - an alcoholic tramp who tries to take the role of guardian angel for a beaten up teen. Finally we have Dylan and Maddy: drop-outs trying to make a life for themselves in a brutal city.
This novel is very bold in its scope and it really succeeds in giving you a sense of the jungle that is Los Angeles. The disgustingly sleazy character of Amberton strays somewhat from the sense of reality that Frey is trying to evoke. It's intentional: that's the life that only a tiny few of LA's residents live.
My one criticism would be that Frey drives so much of the dramatic tension through the story of Maddie and Dylan that I actually became a little disinterested in what was happening to the otherrs towards the end.
That said, Frey should be applauded for how successfully he portrays the life of his characters - he's a truly original voice.

Junkyard Gods
Junkyard Gods
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £24.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More sublime invention, 12 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Junkyard Gods (Audio CD)
2B04 return after something of a hiatus with this delicious collection of post-modern Jazz and Soul.
The fat, clangy beats and the euphoric vocal of the title track doesn't really work for me. The more electro tinged tunes come in between delicious slices of jazz.
"Queen of Crows" is a classic example of what 2BO4 are capable of. The way the track opens up into the chorus is just incredible. A sprightly vocal performance from Valerie Etienne. "Shadowlands," with its ever so infectious piano roll and "Dead Afternoons," are other stunning tracks. "Go," the Wayne Shorter composition is given the electro treatment and this time it works.
My only complaint about this album is that it peters out into a very low-key ending. Through the bold experimentation of tracks like "Flags and Words," a lot of cohesion is lost. It doesn't really add up to a complete listening experience.
That said, there is more than enough on this album to justify its purchase - the tracks that do hit the spot are simply unforgettable.

Walking Backwards
Walking Backwards
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So who is Clutchy Hopkins?, 9 May 2008
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This review is from: Walking Backwards (Audio CD)
I'm not going to tell you. What you do need to know is that Ubiquity hit the mark yet again with this fascinating album of dark and somehow funky downbeat.
Raised from a set of reels found at a yard sale in 1992 - Walking Backwards centres around a collection of eerie, atmospheric tracks. "The sound of the ghost," sets the quirky tone of the album. "Love of a woman," is an excellent, bluesy lament cast in the Tom Waits mould.
"3rd Element," sums everything up for me - dark, pounding intro, the slightest hint of melody in the form of a piano chord laced over the top. "Rocktober," and "Good Omen" are equally seductive, slowly working into your mind.
Don't expect to be shaking around to this - it's a dark, brooding, monotone piece of work but it somehow captivated me. Clutchy Hopkins is out there, somewhere.

New Territories
New Territories
Price: £12.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More magic from Ubiquity, 8 May 2008
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This review is from: New Territories (Audio CD)
Usually this isn't my cup of tea but Eric Lau and his bunch of untried starlets have really pulled something off here. It's hardly surprising - Ubiquity are all about artists with fresh ideas, new approaches.
I didn't take to this on the first listen, it takes a while to really get into the little nuances of the beats on each track.
Lau has produced a snappy - dare I say it - "Neo Soul," album - clean beasts, spirited, unpretentious lyrics.
I particularly like "Time will tell," - the pure, sensitive voice of Sarina Leah. "Don't let them," errs on the side of cheesy but doesn't quite go there - it ends up as a triumph.
Basically this is really well made - punchy, full of youthful promise.
This is a versatile record. I actually found I got more of it turing it down low - the songs seep in better.
Lau has, up to now been something of a well kept secret - expect that to change after this.

1974-1979 Nigeria Disco Funk-V
1974-1979 Nigeria Disco Funk-V
Offered by japazon
Price: £77.48

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!, 2 May 2008
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Soundway records have come up trumps with this barnstorming selection of funk and boogie from the Lagos nightclub in the mid70's
The Sahara's Allstars "Take Yo" sets the tone of the record - funky guitar riff, a couple of searing trumpet solos, indestructible groove held tight by some solid bass.
"Will of the people," carries on in much the same vein - but it gets better - a skipping disco beat is added.
"Greetings" funk flute loop, burst of trumpets, soulful chorus, disco in its feel. I really like this track - it gives the compilation real depth. "Some More" is another quirky feet tapper. It leads nicely into the incessant guitar riff of Mota Giny. And it goes on. Oh, go on. Just buy it . It's sensational.

Weapons Of Jazz Destruction
Weapons Of Jazz Destruction
Price: £13.23

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All aobut the music, 27 April 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
News lights on a rejuvenated British Jazz scene, Nostalgia 77 come through with perhaps their strongest effort yet with Weapons of Jazz Destruction. Excellent musicianship combined with versatility combine to make a hugely enjoyable listen. I love the cool, seductive "Stars." The pace switches quickly to the rattling stomp of "Journey Home." The onus is on swinging grooves that have you tapping your feet, the music tight in its structure. Musical Silt goes elsewhere for its rhythm, African bongos make the track dart along.
"If at first," really stands out for me, a beautiful aching crescendo, the track effortlessly spinning out of the middle section. There's real maturity there.
Highly recommened.

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