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Chris (E. Midlands)

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Tables Tunes
Tables Tunes
Offered by learning through music
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun for our 8 year old, 11 Aug 2013
This review is from: Tables Tunes (Audio CD)
It was really refreshing to find something that goes beyond the normal nursery-rhyme style CD that 8 year olds suddenly don't find cool any more. Our daughter really enjoys this - we find it works best during car journeys. The danger with all these things is you start humming the tunes in your sleep...

A New Kind of Science
A New Kind of Science
by Stephen Wolfram
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £36.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars it's not new. and it's not science., 9 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A New Kind of Science (Hardcover)
He's got great academic credentials. And he's created a powerful, elegant computational tool (Mathematica) that's played a huge role in shaping the way we visualise mathematics, engineering and many physical and other processes.

But there's one really big problem with Wolfram's (big and fairly expensive) book. It doesn't say anything.

As a child I was transfixed by The Game Of Life, played out on graph paper with a pencil. Cellular systems "evolved" from generation to generation, following pretty simple rules. The joy of the game was seeing rich, often unpredictable results from surprisingly basic input conditions.

Either deluded, insecure or greedy, Wolfram decides to stretch this nice little idea across hundreds of repetitive, self aggrandising pages. We all get the idea that simple iterative systems can produce chaotic or unexpectedly pretty patterns, of which he gives us endless examples. But honestly - how is this a new kind of science?

The number of times an author makes references to their own brilliance could well be in inverse proportion to the actual worth of the ideas they're presenting. Just count how often in this laughable book Stephen Wolfram claims the world won't listen to his genius. Then get back to me on the plausibility or practical application of the content...

Double Nickels On The Dime
Double Nickels On The Dime
Price: £16.26

5.0 out of 5 stars just a minute, 9 Aug 2009
Many bands have the audacity to cut a double album. Few have the tunes or ideas to fill it. I'm no fan of US hardcore but this is actually one of my favourite records of all time. Punky, funky, fun, cool, intelligent, provocative: DNOTD is a one-off that I still love listening to 20 years after the event. Oh, and the front cover's ace, too.

On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno
On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno
by David Sheppard
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my life in the book of ghosts, 16 Aug 2008
Another reviewer reckons this biog is over-reverential, but i don't get that sense at all. Sheppard is clearly a big Eno fan, but he doesn't shy away from (relatively) objective documentation of his subject's very human foibles.

I hugely enjoyed this book. It's toughtfully measured in the amount of space devoted to Eno's various ventures. After all, who really wants to read 4,000 words about cheque-book productions for U2 and Coldplay? As a devoted follower of Eno's fertile collaborations with Talking Heads and Bowie I discovered plenty of fascinating insight.

Don't dismiss this as another rock journo hack. It's a fascinating, engaging, very well written and frequently funny homage. Read next to (for example) Soft Machine biog 'Out-bloody-rageous' it's streets ahead.

It's no reflection at all on Sheppard, but the unanswered question is, of course, why Eno's latter projects are so tedious when his earlier work is so transcendent.

But when you've got into the pants of as many women as Eno has, maybe you're past caring.

Morph The Cat [U.S Version]
Morph The Cat [U.S Version]
Price: £7.28

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars God-like genius delivers depressing mediocrity, 31 Oct 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Donald Fagen serves up a wilfully avant garde brew of drum 'n' bass in his most audacious release since... oh, sorry - wrong review.

Fagen's muse seems to have deserted him immediately after the Nightfly. Since then he's been treading water with predictable bluesy progressions and directionless one-chord jams masquerading as 'songs'.

I just can't get excited about this record, aside from the title cut where Fagen's exquisitely rich Fender Rhodes chord voicings hark back to infinitely better times. After that, it's downhill all the way. As others have pointed out, the inexplicable reprise of the title track at the end leaves one baffled at the sheer will-this-do laziness permeating the whole enterprise.

One particular nadir is the toe-curling 'Security Joan'. DF's narrative encroaches on Beavis and Butthead territory as he imagines a flirtatious exchange with an airport guard. Yes Don, in your dreams...

Err, crisp production though.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2014 10:18 PM BST

In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country
In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful place to be, 20 Sep 2007
Sometimes overlooked in the BoC canon alongside their flagship full-length albums, this EP is a corker. After the sublime 'Music Has The Right...' it took me a little while to give it serious headspace, but it's really just as good.

One reviewer dismisses closing cut 'Zoetrope' as a throwaway, but I'd say it's the apex of this lovely, lovely little record.

Another BoC high water mark before things slid into predictability with later releases.

Price: £5.78

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life membership to the Gaucho Club, 12 Jun 2007
This review is from: Gaucho (Audio CD)
A couple of other reviewers have hinted that this is easily the equal of 'Aja', and rightly so. It may even better it.

As soon as you start describing 'Gaucho' (and indeed 'Aja' and 'The Royal Scam') as jazz-influenced albums there's a big risk of losing your audience. It's excrutiatingly well produced, for sure. The arrangements are exquisite. But it's all about the songs, dude. 'Gaucho' imagines an unfeasibly exotic American dystopia and sets it to music. Kind of like 'Hotel California' but with better chord changes and more expensive session players. The coolest of the cool. And then some.

Mister Heartbreak
Mister Heartbreak
Price: £7.32

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartbreakingly excellent, 4 Jun 2007
This review is from: Mister Heartbreak (Audio CD)
She's made a lot of boring records. She's a performance artist. And she's Lou Reed's other half. But those cardinal sins aside, 'Mister Heartbreak' is blindingly brilliant.

Avant garde musicians forget the basic rule that it helps to have great tunes. But Anderson delivers in spades on 'MH', spicing hummable melodies with audacious arrangements and endlessly adventurous instrumentation.

'Mister Heartbreak' effortlessly transcends the confines of 80's production values to create something quirkily enduring and totally loveable. Why can't other 'serious' artists write good tunes?

Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith (2 Disc Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith (2 Disc Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £3.94

9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars star bores, 4 Jun 2007
I haven't been close to the Star Wars industry since I hugely enjoyed Episode IV and then rapidly lost patience with V and VI before giving up for next three decades.

So I'm not 'on side' - but I do expect to be entertained, stimulated, amused or at least taken somewhere new when I watch a film that has cost squillions to make.

'Revenge of the Sith' comes over like George Lucas has been watching daytime TV and straight-to-video sci-fi flicks (if only...) since 1977. Hackneyed CGI despite near-limitless computing power at his fingertips. Boring, sub-Fifth Element graphic design... god knows what his 'creative' team have been doing for the last decade or so to warrant the title. Non-existent acting performances, thanks largely to *awful* dialogue - only you can't hear it. SW franchise apologists will snootily dismiss this analysis... but they're wrong and to be absolutely honest I'm right.

Unforgiveable on so many levels. And without ranting unduly, it's tediously symptomatic of everything that's wrong with the 'entertainment' industry today.

If you want to cry, laugh, get scared, get inspired and get blown away - why not watch Kubrick's 2001? Oh, of course... you'd find it 'boring'. Snap. But hey, it takes all sorts.

Music Has The Right To Children [New Version]
Music Has The Right To Children [New Version]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.39

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm still in tears after all these years, 25 April 2007
I really don't enjoy most electronica. It's been done infinitely better by other people like Kraftwerk a quarter of a century ago. Faced with a limitless digital palette, why do most acts produce such boring, derivative, soulless twaddle? Brian Eno has a good answer to that one, but there lies another story.

There's one track on 'MHTRTC', however, that makes me cry on every listen - a decade or so after its original release.

Buried deep within this extraordinary album, ROYGBIV is a two minute interlude that almost stopped the earth spinning when I heard it on a compilation CD given away with NME or some other music mag.

Describing ROYGBIV is as frustrating as talking about wine or sex. But a cursory flick through other opinions about this gorgeous album quickly reveals something interesting. I always thought ROYGBIV was 'my' track... but many other people are equally transported by this funereal yet ecstatically uplifting melody.

BOC have created something of extraordinary beauty with this track - and indeed the rest of the accompanying album. Later efforts like The Campfire Headphase suggest that monkeys with typewriters may have been at work. But when the chimps are writing such heavenly tunes, who cares?

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