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Romantique
Romantique
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable beauty, 11 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Romantique (Audio CD)
Personally I always dread recordings with the words 'romance', 'love songs' or any such variance. It always gives an impression of something obviously targeted at a specific market, with one eye firmly on the lowest possible denominator.

'Romantique' by Elina Garanca then is that special utter delight that doesn't get pulled down by it's title.

Engineering, recording, arrangements and playing are all at the top of their game here, but the star of the show is of course Garanca, and she is aural perfection. Without needless comparisons to singers in days gone by, it is not going too far to say that Elina Garanca is certainly a contender for one of the greatest contemporary mezzo-soprano's. For me personally her voice is absolutely perfect, in every way that counts. But what lifts her above other singers who share the same repertoire, is the sheer warmth in her voice, and it is this that comes through in every note.

Talking of the repertoire, here we are treated to some less well-known pieces, but no less beautiful. And for anyone who is still fairly new to this material, or these composers, here is an ideal introduction.

5 out of 5 for me.


Zz Top 6 Pack
Zz Top 6 Pack
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 17.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Not the original albums but 80's effects reconstructions, 11 Sep 2013
This review is from: Zz Top 6 Pack (Audio CD)
It's interesting reading some of the reviews here, in that these aren't as universally hated as they once were. They are though still terrible, and not the choices for the vast majority of people.

Six Pack gives you six ZZ Top albums, some good, some excellent, all boasting some scuzzy blues rock brilliance. But in the wake of their biggest success, these earlier six efforts were deemed not good enough and given a facelift. And in the most slapdash way possible. Real drums? How retro. No, best you digitise them and make everything uniform and robotic. Smokey raw vocals? No, best flatten them and add echo effects. Everything here gets a post-production 'sheen' that offers no benefit to the music on show.

What's truly awful about this treatment is that at least the three best albums ZZ Top ever recorded are here in this set. Their just completely knackered by a heavy-handed digital makeover. Imagine a Stevie Ray Vaughan remaster that decided the guitar wasn't clean enough so some exec decided to rerecord someone else playing the lines. With a synclavier.

More depressingly, for years this was the only was of getting the older ZZ Top albums. Only with the eventual release of the Chrome, Smoke And BBQ box were any fans close to getting the original music they wanted. Thanksfully now Billy Gibbons has personally overseen the remaster of the first 10 albums, and they sound perfect. And the price is incredibly good value.

Do yourself a favour and go there instead: The Complete Studio Albums 1970 1990


Singles
Singles
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another botched New Order best-of..., 9 Sep 2013
This review is from: Singles (Audio CD)
So the music here is top rate. Excellent stuff. Probably the pinnacle of rock meeting dance.

But...New Order are seemingly leading the race for the group to have most the compilations, and musch like all the rest they've released this one drops the ball. Again.

Substance from 1987 collected all the groups 12" singles and B-sides, and was for the time peerless. The mid-90's Best Of New Order dropped several classics and had some naff updated remixes (sped up Blue Monday with added trumpet...). International was a bizarre mess that missed out a lot of prime period New Order, but featured lots of recent output, but did thankfully include the 12" of Touched By The Hand Of God.

So now we have this. Singles. How does this drop the ball this time around?

On the plus side, you do get all the singles, and some of them even the best versions (hello proper version of Blue Monday), and it is the most comprehensive.

On the minus, most are radio edits or 7" mixes (sometimes this is better, sometimes this is worse, mostly the latter.

One hand then gives you comprehensive, but the other gives you the not-best-versions. And as such you have another New Order best of that fails to do the job (although not as spectacularly badly as their Retro box set).

I own Substance, International and Singles and that gives me all the singles I want, but as it stands, trying to get a definitive single collection that does the job, it just isn't ahppening yet. the music though is brilliant, and anyway it's been at least 6 months since the last compilation, so there'll be another one released shortly...


Walkin',Cookin',Relaxin',Workin',Steamin'
Walkin',Cookin',Relaxin',Workin',Steamin'
Price: 15.60

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles Classics for a super cheap price, 19 Oct 2010
As time progresses more and more recordings expire their copyright, and small labels pop-up in order to cash in release them in a budget package.

While this is in theory a good idea for the consumer, in terms of price, the presentation and overall cheapness can sometimes often be something worth avoiding.

This collection of some of Miles' fifties finest is a good set, coming in a hard box set with individual card sleeves for each disc, and good sound quality. The music is of course excellent, containing Miles' legendary fifties quintet best. On the downside, the booklet inside is terrible and the original artwork is missing. For the price though this can hardly be surprising.

For those looking to check out Miles or investigate further beyond his more famous Columbia works, this is the set to invest in. As a side note though obviously no-one at the label knew anything about the music or group history, as Steamin, Workin, Cookin and Relaxin are all classic quintet sessions, whereas Walkin dates from earlier in the decade with a sextet, when it would have made much more sense to package the set up with the first quintet album recorded. Regardless, this set is well-worth the price.


Trane's Comin'
Trane's Comin'
Offered by specialinterests
Price: 10.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap yet excellent versions of some classics, 19 Oct 2010
This review is from: Trane's Comin' (Audio CD)
"Trane's Comin" is one numerous reissues of classic jazz recordings picked up by labels when the fifty year recording copyright has expired.

These sets are to be usually approached with caution, given the sometimes cheap handling - cheap in every sense of the word. This box set however is one of the very best.

Compiling five classic Coltrane sessions, from before his periods with both Atlantic and Impulse, here we get Soultrane, Traneing In (impeccable quartet playing), Black Pearls (lesser known quintet), Blue Train (his sole Blue Note date) and Dakar (a rare sextet).

The music is top rate, the remastering is among the best, and the box and compact handling is very good. The cardboard cases are perfunctory sturdy, although obviously fans will dispute this, and the booklet is poor. But the price and the presentation for the price is very very good. Quite simply if you like Trane and want to look beyond his more famous material, this is the best collection to get - just don't expect shiny and impressive liner notes.


Casino Royale
Casino Royale
Price: 9.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect soundtrack, 20 April 2007
This review is from: Casino Royale (Audio CD)
David Arnold delivers another superb Bond score, and this time it is his best. Riffing of the melody written for 'You Know My Name' he wrote for Chris Cornell (not included here because of a legal dispute with Cornell's label) Arnold delivers a thrilling and romantic score that is easily the best since John Barry's brilliant 'The Living Daylights'.

Highlights include 'Blunt Instrument' which is the dramatic here-IS-Bond music, the pounding 12-minute 'Miami International' and the ending classic best version I've ever heard of 'The Name's Bond... James Bond'

Okay - it doesn't have the theme song, which is bad, but this is due to a greedy label which has yet again displayed it's incompetence. The score is fantastic and stands up in it's own right. Go buy it now.


James Bond - The Living Daylights
James Bond - The Living Daylights
Price: 9.46

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Barry's top 5, 13 Mar 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whatever your opinion of the Bond films, and whatever your opinion of Timothy Dalton (personally I thought he was good value, and while the film has faults, it remains a favourite) thesoundtracks were always of a high standard. Barry's Connery Bond scores and his one Lazenby score are uniformly excellent, each with a different style. For his Moore Bond scores though, the quality dipped somewhat. Not drastically, they just became les distinctive. For Timothy Daltons inaugural Bond though, Barry was re-fired up and produced what I, along with most others, consider one of his very best.

The score itself is a fine mix of orchestration and synths. Romantic violins and that instantly recognisable Barry brass meld nicely with remarkably undated (and not over-used) synthesizer motifs. There are in particular two motifs that run throughout that could be called Necros Theme and another called Karas Theme. These helped to create in the film one of the most romantic moods for a Bond film and also give the action sequences that extra edge.

This new release of the album though is even better than most other Bond score releases in that everything is here. No missing cues at all. Here we get included the complete and excellent 'gun barrel' sequence music followed straight away by the lead in to Daltons introduction music and an updated Bond action theme. Every incidental theme, no matter how subtle or minor in the film, is here.

As soundtracks go, this is one of the best. But as releases go, this is superb. Excellent and completem every Barry, Bond or just film score fan should own at least one copy.

My personal favourites are 'Exercise At Gibraltar', 'Necros Attacks', 'Hercules Takes Off', 'Inflight Fight' and The Pretenders 'If There Was A Man'


Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 2.96

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film - Great Bond, 18 Feb 2007
Okay, a few things need to be noted here first:

1) this is not the book. It is faithful to the characters of the book, the story and the spirit. Certain things though need to be updated. for a start, a straight film of the book would be an hour long

2) this is is not the indestructable suave kitsch Bond of the lesser Bond films. There are references and likenesses to the other Bonds and Bond films, but Bond here is more like that of the Connery/Dalton era than that of the Moore era. Different people like different things - if you love Moore as Bond, probably not for you.

3) don't bother yourself with timelines. This is a 'reboot'. it's restating the franchise as if Bond is starting NOW. If there was timeline, Connery would have been 35 in Dr No and Brosnan would have been 75 in Die Another Day...

This is a great film for Bond fans. Why? Because it isn't the Bond we know and love. Not totally. Elements are there. But he's not yet 'Bond'. This film brilliantly shows us how he gets to be that way - ruthlesss, deadly and cunning, and yet cover it with a suave and sophisticated exterior (for fans of the book, this is essentially what is also shown in Flemings writing - for at the end he dedicates his time to finding SMERSH for everything involving Vesper and for denting his ego).

The screenplay is well-written (possibly 10 minutes too long), the direction is electric, the action is cracking, all the actors without exception as perfect, the dialogue crackles and is cheeky without resorting to cheap double entendre, and David Arnold delivers a brilliant score.

This film is brilliant and the 3 Bonds that Daniel Craig will make will form a great 'trilogy' that shows how Bond is who he is.


Welcome To Poppy's
Welcome To Poppy's
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: 10.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect album - No skippage, 1 Sep 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Welcome To Poppy's (Audio CD)
Welcome To Poppy's was the Fun Lovin' Criminals first album after their greatest hits compilation and also their first away from major label EMI. In addition to this, the Crim's last album Loco, although garnering some of their best reviews, fell flat with many of the fans.
Big things were needed from this album - and big things they delivered.
For me, WTP's is THE Fun Lovin' Criminals album that should be used to introduce people to first. It contains everything from rock to soul to heart-filled balladry to funk to hip-hop, and most importantly the albums flows perfectly - there isn't a single duff track among the fifteen here and at no point will you want to skip any of the songs. And at least seven of the songs here could be potential singles.
The gangster pose is still here, as is the excellent Huey sense of humour, but also now the boys have taken to occasionally lightening the mood with some slower bluesier numbers - sometimes remeniscent of the lighter jazzier tones from their earlier 100% Colombian album. These work beautifully with the album as a whole and help to ensure that the pace is well-maintained throughout.
While probably not as credible as the boys earlier efforts, which were more hip-hop orientated, this album for me is The One. It is perfect to just put the Cd in the player, sit back, press play and listen. And how many albums can you genuinely say that about?


Livin' In The City
Livin' In The City
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 7.70

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but not great, 31 Aug 2005
This review is from: Livin' In The City (Audio CD)
I was really looking forward to this release, I already had tickets to go and see the Criminals at the Bristol Academy on the 20th of September too. I've loved each of their previous four albums and have frequently forced them onto other people in an effort to get them into the infectious groove that is The Fun Lovin' Criminals. Their last album Welcome To Poppys was fantastic and a hugely catchy album that I could just play from start to finish. It also included perhaps their greatest love song and one of Huey's best and most subtle of performances - Beautiful.
In contrast, this album sounds at times, either right on the money, or occasionally woefully underproduced. Mi Corazon is an excellent lead off single with a nicely laid back latin tinge, I Love Livin' In The City is fantastic with a hugely sing-a-long-able drunken chorus line, and Gave Up On God is a marked shift away from their usual style with some unusually cutting political lyrics. Other standouts include Girl With the Scar, a yearning beautiful song, and How It Be, which brilliantly wrongfoots the listener by changing pace halfway through.
Unfortunately, at least three of the remaining tracks on this album are either absolute stinkers or they're just plain bland.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad album: Huey is still very cool, his vocals are incredibly well-suited to both the raps and the singing, and he still plays guitar like a legend and is surely hugely under-rated as a guitar player. Fast is still the most consumate musician that you will ever hear or see, playing bass, trumpet and keyboards whilst producing and laying down any samples. And Frank is a hugely funky drummer, who lays down a very cool groove.
The problem here for once, is just the songs. Live, they are one of the greatest acts you will ever see - serious. Maybe, the new songs live will gain new energy and life...but overall the album appears to be missing something.
3 1/2 stars - I don't regret buying this album at all. I love half of them songs here, but as a whole, it just doesn't live up to their previous four albums which I still listen to today.


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