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The Wolf (uk)
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Pop Collection
Pop Collection
Price: 14.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Confused...., 27 Mar 2014
This review is from: Pop Collection (Audio CD)
Here's a little mystery and I like a little mystery! Kadebostany may
or may not be the alt-moniker of a somewhat secretive Swiss DJ;
a "Small European Republic", of which he purports to be president;
a tidy electropop ensemble from goodness knows where; or quite
possibly one of trickster Sacha Baron Cohen's latest inventions.

Any-which-way 'Pop Collection' is a whole lot of fun; a curious
juxtaposition of smart tunes and snappy beats, enhanced here and
there by what seems to be a Romanian (or thereabouts) instrumental
ensemble. If that all sound a bit bonkers that's because it is but with
songs and arrangements as good as this it really doesn't matter a jot!

I wish I knew the female singer's name (I'll let you know if further
research bears fruit); she's got a cracking voice; a curiously hollow-
sounding thing which suits the strangeness of the music perfectly well.
Jump straight to 'Invisible Man' for a taste of her idiosyncratic charms.
It's a four-beats-to-the-bar floor-filler, if ever I've heard one, with a
catchy rap-terlude and a full-on big band finale. (Mrs Wolf was hurling
herself around the cave performing remarkably high-kicks to it earlier!)

Inhabiting somewhat different territory 'Castle In The Snow' is a really
lovely melodic invention with a wonderfully slippery, somewhat jazzy vocal
performance and still further out towards the horizon we encounter rhythmic
mayhem in the shape of 'Hey!', which very probably sounds at its best after
imbibing the greater part of a bottle of strong vodka. I haven't tried this yet!)

Final number 'Goodbye' is a melancholy acoustic confection with a sting in its tail.

Goodness me but this is a strange affair! Do give it a listen. I was left pleasantly confused....


Night Time My Time (Ltd)
Night Time My Time (Ltd)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.06

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Than Meets The Eye...., 23 Mar 2014
It is blatantly apparent in the "artwork" for her debut album 'Night Time,
My Time' that Sky Ferreira is not in any way backward in coming forwards.
I wasn't too sure what to expect but truth-be-told the results are not
half bad in a sixties-girl-band-meets-post-grunge-Courtney-Love-kind
-of-way. We cannot pretend that Ms Ferreira has the finest of voices
but she does possess a certain raw louche energy which keeps things
moving along nicely and enough good stuff to keep our attention engaged.

From the grinding opening number 'Boys' with its dense Phil Spector-ish
ambience; through the nasty but nice Madonna-esque flourishes of 'I Blame
Myself' (quite a good tune actually!), to the breathless rock-chick antics
of 'Omanko' and curiously pretty machinations of 'Love In Stereo', I found
myself unaccountably falling just a little bit in love with her efforts.

It would appear that there's just a bit more to Ms Ferreira than meets the eye.

Brava!

Recommended.


Awake
Awake
Price: 8.73

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Un-Nice, 23 Mar 2014
This review is from: Awake (Audio CD)
Scott Hansen (by his terrestrial name) delivers a tidy instrumental set on
his new album 'Awake' which will doubtless appeal to those of us who, on
occasion, like to drift away into the wide blue yonder with a glass or three
of decent Burgundy for company. His inventions sit on the busier side of
"ambient"; bubbllng along nicely in a haze of mercurial guitar motifs
supported by luminous synth washes and solid but unemphatic beats.
Mr Hansen seems perfectly content to keep variation and dynamic
development at bay but this results in some rather directionless rambles.
However, if you have a little down-time there would be nothing too-much
lost in making the journey with him.

'Apogee' comes closest to building up a head of steam but the rhythmic
D&B references present in its opening sequence evaporate rather too
quickly into the album's somewhat bland default mode of pretty noodling.

I don't want to be unkind as Mr Hansen has doubtless put his heart and soul into
this project but after the first thirty minutes or so I really did feel the need
for more substantial sonic sustenance. There is nothing here to offend however.

Not un-nice but a tad ho-hum.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2014 10:00 AM BST


Trauma: Chansons De La Serie Tele Saison # 4 / O.S
Trauma: Chansons De La Serie Tele Saison # 4 / O.S
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 9.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digging Deep, 23 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Music, just like time, sometimes slips by unnoticed. I am able to tell you
nothing about the Canadian TV series 'Trauma' as I have never seen it
but Martha Wainwright's collection of songs which accompanies the fourth
series stands up on its own as one of the finest set of performances in her
career so far. Ms Wainwright gets in touch with something very special here.

My last encounter with her was at her gig in London's Union Chapel
in August 2013; the most memorable musical event of the year for me.
This album, stripped down as it to voice, guitar and a relatively small ensemble,
reveals the full power of her emotional acuity and craft in all its raw magical glory.

There are thirteen (lucky for us!) numbers in the set; three of her own, sung in
French translations and the remaining ten well-chosen interpretations of other
writers' compositions (including a touching rendition of The McGarrigles' 'Dans Le
Silence' from their 2003 album 'Le Vache Qui Pleure'). There's nothing not to love here
but the rearrangement of her song 'J'Interioriserai' ('I Will Internalise'), in a sublime
setting for acoustic guitar, subdued organ and strings, which opens the recording, is so
intensely sustained and focused in its quiet intensity that it seems to make the air
stand still around it. 'Cette Vie' ('This Life'), too, gets a marvelous new lease of life,
Ms Wainwright digs deep and delivers a performance to make our hair stand on end!

For the rest, Daniel Belanger's 'Tu Peux Partir' and 'Mon Corps' by Ariane Moffatt
fully demonstrate Ms Wainwright's consummate skills as a canny musical dramatist.

A Truly Wonderful Album.

Highly Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2014 8:49 AM GMT


Piano Ombre
Piano Ombre
Price: 7.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monsieur Marry's Finest Work, 22 Mar 2014
This review is from: Piano Ombre (Audio CD)
I found much to admire in Francois Marry's 2012 album 'E Volo Love'. He has
returned to his homeland to record his new project 'Piano Ombre', a collection
of ten compositions which, with support from producer Ash Workman, prove
that he is continuing to mature into an artist of considerable musical stature.

His style is unashamedly romantic; his voice a tremulous instrument, fragile
but affecting. The greater part of the set is sung in French but this need not
deter us; the melodies are strong and the arrangements richly varied.

Opening track 'Bois' is a standout number, building from a hypnotic, pulsing
opening sequence into a powerfully dense anthem with an emphatic bass line and
brooding brass. 'La Verite' is a more upbeat affair whose bouncing beats, chattering
keys and bright and breezy backing vocals put me in mind of Tom Tom Club.
'La Fille Aux Cheveux De Soie' is a lovely piano-led ballad, a tad melancholy and
old fashioned in the nicest possible way. Likewise the title track 'Piano Ombre' with its
haunting harmonies, a beautiful invention and perhaps Monsieur Marry's finest moment.

A delectable offering which becomes curiously addictive with repeated encounters.

Highly Recommended.


Mirrors the Sky
Mirrors the Sky
Price: 7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bright Future Beckons, 18 Mar 2014
This review is from: Mirrors the Sky (Audio CD)
Lyla Foy has already come a long way since (recording as WALL) her 2013 EP
'Shoestring', a charmingly ramshackle, done-on-the-cheap, five track affair,

'Mirrors The Sky', her debut-proper, represents a huge leap forward in both
musical vision and maturity. This new ten song set really is the bees knees!

Ms Foy has a lovely voice; a tad fragile but nevertheless utterly captivating.
She also knows how to construct a good tune. It's hard to pin down who her
role models and influences might be but Tori Amos almost definitely figures in
there somewhere. This is beautifully quirky stuff but not so far away from the
spirit of pop that we find ourselves alienated. Heck these songs are hummable!

With a good deal more moolah available for the production her sound has expanded;
the sonic textures are more complex, especially in her deft use of vocal harmonies.

Truth-be-told I have fallen just a little in love with all these songs but if I had to pick
just three to take with me to my desert island then opening number 'Honeymoon'
would sit very close to the top of the pile; a gloriously melancholy composition with
a haunting vocal performance framed in a somewhat folksy arrangement full of nicely
grungy guitar and gently plodding percussion. 'Rumour' chugs along a bit like an
old Wild West ghost town lament but sports a wonderfully luminous chorus at its heart.
Perhaps best of all, however, is the stunning final song 'Warning' which seems to have
been touched just a little by the spirit of Martha Wainwright; another kindred spirit methinks.

Ms Foy is definitely an artist to keep in our sights. Her future looks very bright indeed!

Highly Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2014 7:46 AM GMT


Space Mirror
Space Mirror
Price: 10.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Touch With My Inner Hippie, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Space Mirror (Audio CD)
Ken Camden hails from Chicago and may or may not be a hippie at heart.
His 2013 album 'Space Mirror' is a collection of six inventions for guitar;
layered, stretched and manipulated into shape-shifting sonic landscapes.

There is a danger in such music that the results can veer dangerously in
the direction of navel-gazing but Mr Camden is a canny soul with a good
grasp of dynamic and textural variation and is able to sustain our interest.

I especially enjoyed 'Eta Carinae' which builds from a simple drone to a
rich, pulsing, almost orchestral conclusion and the delightful 'Moon',
whose quaint extraterrestrial bleeps evolve into something approaching
the quasi-organic form of an Indian raga for sitar; a haunting piece.

Floor cushions and a kaftan are not essential requirements to enjoy this album.

Recommended.


Human
Human
Price: 11.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Human Heart In The Machine, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Human (Audio CD)
Max Cooper knows his way around all the trickery that the modern recording
studio can bring to the table in the creation of intelligent electronic music.
His new album 'Human', despite its mechanical nature, is blessed with a human touch.

Mr Cooper is not content just to drive us unthinkingly onto the dancefloor with these
eleven sonic inventions; his vision is more expansive and shows considerable
evidence of innate musical ability. The opening track 'Woven Ancestry' is a prime
example; a delightful jangling tapestry of sound without the need of big beats to pin
it to the floor. If, however, it's big beats you want then he's not scared of those either!

'Automaton' is a beast of a number! Juddering and spluttering way like a thing possessed
but lightened by the inclusion of some nicely ethereal snipped and trimmed harmonic
vocal decorations. No-less-so 'Impacts' which bumps and grinds away like a demonic
industrial machine built to hammer and fuse great plates of steel indivisibly together.

In other moments, as with the positively jolly 'Supine', our host allows himself to get in
touch with his inner funk-monkey and is clearly designed to make us writhe and wriggle!
A more gentle lyrical spirit is evident in tracks such as 'Empyrean'; a magical confection
and final track 'Awakening' leads us to the edge of the World just to admire the view.

An album of many colours and textures which deserves our attention and applause.

Recommended.


No 2
No 2
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 10.82

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty Of Small Things, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: No 2 (Audio CD)
A small recording with a big impact. Lasting not a great deal longer than
half an hour Christina Vantzou's new album 'No.2' is brimful of enchantments.
It may well turn out to be one of the finest things (chocolate and Smurfs
notwithstanding!) to have emerged from Belgium in the last hundred years.

These eleven pieces, scored for a compact instrumental ensemble with
the addition of occasional vocal parts, punch way above their weight.
They are cinematic in character; their terse titles hinting at ambiguous
subject matter which tantalizingly refuses to give up the whole story.

The sublime composition 'Vancouver Island Quartet', scored for strings
and a disembodied spectral voice is by far the most affecting and
haunting number in the set but the extraordinary 'Going Backwards To
Discover That Which Was Left Behind', a slow-moving lament whose
brooding introduction for piano and cello blooms eventually into an
incandescent central climax where strings, brass and woodwind unite
in a sweeping tutti of wonderfully luminous chords before slipping away
once again into the dark shadows we experienced in the opening bars,
comes a very close second. The delightful miniature 'Arc' comes into land
in less that two minutes and shimmers like early morning sunlight on the
surface of a mountain lake. The spirit of Corelli seems close at hand.

Ms Vantzou's gentle visions, in their own small way, make the World a better place.

Highly Recommended.


Scream 2
Scream 2
Price: 11.19

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dancing 'Til We Drop, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: Scream 2 (Audio CD)
Sometimes Mrs Wolf and I like to dance. I know! Imagine that....

This second 'Scream' set from German-born DJ/producer Markus Schulz
has certainly given us a solid opportunity to twirl and tangle our paws.

If you like big trancey anthems then you will find much to appreciate here
too. We have especially enjoyed 'Revolution', a huge, pounding slab of sound
featuring a Mr Venom One on vocals (grins); 'Blown Away', another four to
the floor thumper with Liz Primo delivering a spirited performance and
'Make You Fall' which, with the assistance of C C Peniston, really rattles along!

Truth-be told this kind of stuff is beginning to sound more than a tad dated but
with a skin sufficiently full of decent red wine it really doesn't matter at all!

Warn the neighbours. Don your best disco togs. Play loud. Jump up and down!

Good Times!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2014 8:56 AM BST


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