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CMYK EP [12" VINYL]
CMYK EP [12" VINYL]

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly unique talent, 15 Nov. 2010
This review is from: CMYK EP [12" VINYL] (Vinyl)
CMYK is the second EP released in 2010 by James Blake, one of dubstep's most exciting new producers. Building on the twisted R&B of the earlier Bells Sketch release, it sees Blake more fully explore the sound he has built for himself. CMYK works in an area that is recognizably dubstep, clicky 2-step percussion and fierce low-end tremors, but also takes influence from other areas that make Blake stand out as a unique talent. More ethereal tracks such as Footnotes and I'll Stay exist in an odd halfway point between American R&B and Radiohead's Kid A. Ghostly voices cut through a disjointed, but unmistakably funky layer of beats and electronic noises.

The title track itself is his most dancefloor-friendly to date, repeating a sampled and manipulated line from Kelis' track Caught Out There that seems to tell more of a story the more it is repeated. The track rumbles with a tremendous energy but at no point strays into being an obvious 'banger', instead luring the listener into its own world.

Postpone, is the most syncopated of the tracks on this EP, the effect being of a tune that seems to stagger around in a feverish haze. Postpone sweats atmosphere from every pore but is not wary of making the listener work to understand it either.

If you haven't yet become familiar with James Blake, then this is a good a place to start as any. But with two other EPs from this year, an imminent new single, a whole raft of amazing remixes (Destiny's Child's Bills Bills Bills and Outkast's Ms Jackson being standouts) and an LP in 2011, there are many sides to discover of this exceptional producer.


Everything Must Go
Everything Must Go
Price: £2.99

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last great Manics album, 28 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Everything Must Go (Audio CD)
You know how it is. The key member of a band leaves/dies and either the band splits up or they carry on together and completely ruin the bands name. Only that's not how it is with the Manic Street Preachers fourth album, the first since the disappearance of lyricist, visionary and terrible guitarist Richey Edwards. On the contrary, it's quite good. Actually, it's the best thing they've ever done! It could have all gone so wrong but somehow everything slotted into place. Of course, the Cult of Richey will all tell you that the Manics just aren't any good without Edwards or that the only good songs on this album are the ones made from leftover lyrics left over by him. But despite their claims, praise needs to go to James Dean-Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore for creating such an incredible album amongst such sadness with the loss of a friend.

Where the despair of 'The Holy Bible' was tainted with anger and hatred, meaning you only got to appreciate its full beauty occasionally, when at your most strong minded, the despair of 'Everything Must Go' is so pure that it could break the heart of the most stone cold person there is. As James Dean-Bradfield cries out the the title during 'Design For Life' you get such an incredible look at the emptiness and confusion they are feeling that Richey Edwards' hatred and anger seem child-like in comparison.
But 'Design For Life' isn't the only triumph on the album. 'Enola/Alone', 'Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky' and the title track are all amazing tracks. In fact, the title track is this albums equivalent of 'This is Yesterday' from the previous album as a look into exactly how the band are feeling at the time. In this song they address the problem I mentioned earlier, where bands continue after a disaster and either lose their ability, or else the fans turn against them. They address the Cult of Richey who they know will hate them for daring to carry on without the missing guitarist with the beautiful lyrics 'freed from our memory, escape from our history, and I just hope that you can forgive us, but everything must go'. They know that people will see this album as a betrayal of Richey but they also know that its what he would have wanted, so they bite the bullet and make that unpopular decision.
Some might call this album an MOR flop, a shot at commercial success after the financial failures of 'Gold Against the Soul' and 'The Holy Bible'. However, it is so much more than that. Yes, the songs are accessible and most people you met on the street would be perfectly content to listen to this album. But the songs are still breathtakingly good and retain a dignity that MOR bands like Travis and Stereophonics simply don't have. Admittedly the Manics lost this dignity on the following two albums and have since become as dull and dreary as the bands they once shouted hatred upon, but that doesn't take away from this brilliant album that displays the minds of a band coming to terms with tragic loss and overwhelming despair.
Think of other bands that were popular at the time. Would they have survived without their most popular members? Radiohead without Thom Yorke or Jonny Greenwood? Pulp without Jarvis Cocker? Oasis without the Gallagher brothers? Only the Manic Street Preachers could pull it off. Forget Richey, 'The Holy Bible' was great, but this is better.


Effloresce
Effloresce
Price: £11.42

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense, 28 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Effloresce (Audio CD)
How do you describe this band? One moment they sound like Mogwai, then they remind you of Radiohead and then they just pull off a huge guitar riff that shouts out influences of Nirvana. It's a beautiful hybrid of post rock and grunge.
This album kicks off with the beautiful instrumental 'You Are the Morning', which is basically Mogwai with slightly more electronics thrown into the mix. But as the metallic 'tinging' outro of this track ends, we are thrown headfirst straight into the monster riff of 'Catalyst'. But then if you thought that the song was simply going to be one of their 'loud numbers', you were wrong. Suddenly the guitars fall away and singer Mike Vennart is left softly singing over just drums and a lightly plucked but heavily distorted guitar. Then, the monster riffs kick again. And so on and so forth throughout the rest of the album. Time after time the listener is surprised by sudden changes in tempo, dynamics and volume.
Another thing about the music is that it really does live up to the bands name. The sound that emits from your speakers is huge. You get the feeling that if only the band were able to get enough attention; they would sound perfect filling out an entire arena or huge festival. It is also easy to imagine some of the songs being used to soundtrack an epic battle, and even the quieter moments sound like 50's Cold War paranoia expressed with music. The immense soundscapes that Oceansize create are simply dripping with emotion and atmosphere. I have walked through a forest with this album playing on my Walkman and was startled by how fitting the song 'One Day All This Could Be Yours' was to the situation. The unknown surroundings, the vulnerability to attack, its all expressed on this album. All of the songs have their own little situation that they would be perfect for.
You quite simply need to own this album. If you're a fan of post-rock outfits like Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor then you should definitely check this out because Oceansize have brought something exciting and new to the genre. If you're not familiar with the aforementioned bands then buy this album to get introduced to a whole new style of music that will blow you away.


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