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The Wolf (uk)
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Let's Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time
Let's Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time
Price: £17.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Out Of Focus, 14 Nov 2014
Luke Wyatt is a Brooklyn-based creator of electronic music which doesn't fit
neatly between any particular genre brackets. It has beats but not the sort that
it would be easy to jiggle along to and it has melodic leanings but not the kind
of tunes that you might catch yourself whistling in the frozen food aisle at Aldi.

The first number in this eight track set, 'I'm Flexible', is among the more approachable
works in the project; it's full of amusing synth bloops and blips and the rhythmic
foundations are both powerful and coherent. Perhaps a few too many ingredients
are thrown into the pot towards the end but all-in-all it's a not unpleasant experience.
'She Happens' saunters along with no particular destination in mind but sports some
nice ringing guitar decorations which put me in mind of Steve Hillage's work with
System 7. 'Acceptance Speech' has a more aggressive ambience; a weighty percussive
piece which eventually breaks open to reveal a warmer Latin heart. 'Under Wolf Rule'
(I approve of the title as well you might imagine!) also has a heavier presence which owes
no small debt to the 80's. The rambling 'Return To The Pec Deck' goes on a bit and herein
lays Mr Wyatt's greatest weakness. He is a musician with interesting ideas who is too often
content to let things rattle along in one groove whilst paying scant regard to dynamic and
thematic variation, which culminates more often than not in an irritating lack of focus .

A tad ho-hum but certainly not a car crash.


Natura Morta
Natura Morta
Price: £17.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Machine Dreams, 12 Nov 2014
This review is from: Natura Morta (Audio CD)
Andrea Belfi is an Italian drummer/percussionist/ producer whose electronic
soundscapes have the kind of moody grandeur which suggest burned and
blasted post-apocalyptic industrial wastelands, where the machines that
have survived continue to go about their ambiguous business without the
need for human intervention and maintenance. It is an unsettling experience.

Although the six inventions in the project show evidence of cogent rhythmic
structure, ‘traditional’ melodic content is almost entirely absent. Mr Balfi is
happy to put down some beats and thread textured layers of electronically
generated sound around and through them. Occasionally these take chromatic
form, as in the gently shuffling ‘Roteano’, whose vibrating chord patterns
bring a little welcome light and air to the proceedings. Numbers such as ‘Forme
Creano Oggetti', however, are all about the drums which in this instance
demonstrate Mr Balfi’s impressive technique in managing sticks and skins and
cymbals. ‘Su Linee Rette’ is in many ways the most interesting piece in the set;
its slow almost stately progress a brooding march in more than 50 shades of grey.

‘Natura Morta’ makes for a serious and sombre but edifying listening experience.


Playmates
Playmates
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Delights From Down Under, 11 Nov 2014
This review is from: Playmates (MP3 Download)
It's virtually impossible to listen to Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders without
thinking of Nick Cave. Mr Ladder's rich, moody baritone voice has much in
common with his moustachioed compatriot. Something in the genes perhaps?
Whatever the passing similarities in their mien, however, there's no doubt at
all that there's one heck of a lot of fun to be had with his new album 'Playmates'.

Listening to these ten compositions is a richly rewarding experience. The tunes
are strong; the arrangements perfectly complementary to Mr Ladder's strangely
involving vocal performances and acerbic lyrics. He's a deliciously droll narrator.

The album kicks off with one of its strongest inventions. 'Come On Back This Way'
is a loping, somewhat surreal tale of obsession and a love gone very bad, with
quaint eighties-leaning synth decorations and truly heavenly backing vocals.
'Model Worlds' is a weightier affair which had me thinking about Simple Minds
here and there; a dark, densely-textured anthem which throbs with carefully
controlled energy. So too 'To Keep & to Be Kept' whose bruised verses melt into
a simply beautiful chorus made even lovelier with the help of Sharon Von Etten
lending vocal support. It is among the project's finest moments. If I had to pick
an outright winner, however, I'd plumb for 'The Miracle' which has more than a
whiff of early Roxy Music about it. It's set up home and living rent free in my head.

One of the best song's I've heard this year and all-in-all one of the most engaging
albums it has been my pleasure to encounter in a year of many worthy sonic delights.

Highly Recommended.


Black Canyon Men's Winter Down Jacket black Size:XXL
Black Canyon Men's Winter Down Jacket black Size:XXL
Price: £73.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Will Tell, 10 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At fifty five quid (currently) this jacket would appear to be a good deal.
I gave it a test drive today on what seemed to me to be the chilliest day
of the Autumn so-far and it was very warm and cosy. The shell and lining
are made from Polyamide and it's filled with 80/20 duck down. It fastens
to a high neck with a single zip and there are two zip pockets at the waist.

It's manufactured in China.

On the down side there are no internal pockets which I would have welcomed.

It remains to be seen how well the seams will contain the down and I'll reserve
final judgement on a fourth star for a couple of months to see how it holds up.

Size-wise I ordered XXL and was glad I did. Normally I'd fit XL with a jacket of
this type, so bear it in mind if you're tempted. All-in-all I'm happy with the product.


Alone For The First Time
Alone For The First Time
Price: £5.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Good Company, 9 Nov 2014
There may be only seven tracks on Ryan Hemsworth's mini-album
'Alone For The First Time' but for sheer quality of songwriting it
punches way above its weight. This Nova Scotia native certainly
knows how to craft a good tune and is able to employ the electronics
of his trade in a subtle and sympathetic way so that it embraces rather
than intrudes upon the singularly humane nature of his compositions.

If I had to pick one number to take with me to my desert island then
it would almost certainly be the opening song 'Hurt Me' which has, to
my hairy ears, a curiously Christmasy ambience about it (something
to do with the lush romantic synth chords of the introduction and the
chiming bell-like decorations); a fanciful notion perhaps but listen
without prejudice and you may get a bit of what I'm driving at in my
usual clumsy and fanciful way. Having said this (and to continue the
Wintery theme) 'Snow In Newark', featuring Dawn Golden (the talented
Mr Dexter Tororiello, adding I'm not quite sure what to the mix), is a
perfectly lovely little invention (the odd F-word can be easily forgiven!)
which you could probably jiggle about to if you were you so inclined.
For good measure, I'm rather taken with 'Blemish', which at only two and
a half minutes is a rather charming throw-it-all-in-the-blender instrumental.

The album's strength is its unwillingness to settle for a predicable formula.
I'm fond of surprises and Mr Hemsworth kept me guessing from top to tail.

Recommended.


Rhythm
Rhythm
Price: £10.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small but Perfectly Formed, 9 Nov 2014
This review is from: Rhythm (Audio CD)
Voice and percussion. That's what you get with 'Rhythm'. Wildbirds
and Peacedrums are Swedish duo Mariam Wallentin and Andreas
Werlin and they're married in more ways than one. It takes guts to
stick to a simple format like this and make it work and work it does.

These nine tracks are about as stripped-down as music can get.
Mr Welin sets up a beat and Ms Wallentin shoots from the hip with
a rich, seductive voice, which one moment lulls us into a woozy
state of meditative bliss and at others rattles the floorboards with
full-bodied soulful power. It is an extraordinary sonic experience.

With such limited resources they still manage to create a wide range
of patterns and textures. The bluesy rattle and roll of 'Gold Digger';
the surreal squawking and quick-fire staccato vocal line of 'Mind Blues;
the calculated mayhem of 'Everything All The Time' and the softer
Latin flavours of 'Ghosts & Pains' all make for an exotic and varied mix.

One imagines that as far as gigs go they travel light but doubtless
still make a very big noise for such an economically equipped outfit.

I like it a lot.

Recommended.


Songs
Songs
Price: £7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Songs From A Gentle Man, 9 Nov 2014
This review is from: Songs (Audio CD)
In a week which has already witnessed the birth of South London
band Dem's marvellous album 'Muscle Memory', here's yet another
fine example of humane well-crafted electronica. Daniel Woolhouse,
who would wish us to know him as Deptford Goth, has delivered
some very fine fayre with his new economically titled album 'Songs'.

I sense that Mr Woolhouse is a gentle man. These eleven compositions
have an air of intimacy about them which is more than welcome in a
World become increasingly manic. His voice, too, especially his lovely
falsetto, would act as a healing balm to any troubled and tangled soul.

Jump straight to 'Do Exist' for a taste of what I'm trying to articulate here.
It's a gorgeous thing with its calm rhythms and sublime vocal harmonies.
So too 'The Loop', a simple but touching melody unfolding against a
background of crisp beats and a rolling keyboard pattern. Perhaps best
of the bunch, however, is the beautiful invention 'Near To A River'; a song
whose quiet interiorised magic will steal your heart without your hardly noticing.

Mr Woolhouse has no need for pomp and razzle dazzle to make his mark.

'Songs', in its own sweet way, is perfect just as it is.


In The Seams
In The Seams
Price: £14.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure and Simple, 9 Nov 2014
This review is from: In The Seams (Audio CD)
Becky Jones possesses a truly lovely voice, shown off to fine effect and
with a full palette of emotional light and shade on her delightful new album
'In The Seams'. It's a collection of twelve songs suffused with a sense of
quiet pathos and the fruits of self-reflection about love and loss and renewal.

Ms Jones' compositions never show-off at all. The subdued and often very
beautiful arrangements frame her performances with economy and restraint.
'Intravenous', for example, is built on a delightful rolling harp ostinato which
enhances the folksy charm of one of the project's finest melodies and whose
vocal harmonies have a magical Autumnal quality. 'Craster', too, seems to
have the angels on its side; time and place and memory and soft Northern
vowels come together in a melancholy invention which succeeds in tugging
at our heartstrings. Perhaps the most affecting number, however, is the
haunting and somewhat troubling 'James'; the song's dreamlike reconstruction
of its fragile subject's life story generates an honestly-felt sense of deep sadness.

Ms Jones deserves our attention and applause for this understated gem.

Highly Recommended.


Muscle Memory
Muscle Memory
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine Musical Alchemy, 8 Nov 2014
This review is from: Muscle Memory (MP3 Download)
Sometimes, despite the enormous wealth of new music we are exposed to
week-on-week in The Listening World, something can still take us off guard and
crash into consciousness like a comet. These are moments we should treasure.

‘Muscle Memory’, the debut album by South London ensemble Dem, is among
the finest things I have heard this year (it may well, with growing familiarity,
become the very best of all). How does inspiration and imagination of this
calibre come into being? Skill - for sure; Vision - intangible but welcome;
Luck - maybe just a little. That there is a remarkable kind of chemistry going
on between these three talented gentlemen is self-evident from the very first
bars of the beautiful opening piece ‘Sinking In The Sorry’ with its glowing piano
chords and delightfully slippery melody but that’s just the beginning of this
extraordinary journey. The luminous choral extravagance of ‘Sense Of An
Ending’ is a hymn for godless times; the skittering beats, gamelan-like accents
and melismatic vocal harmonies of ‘Wake’ and ‘Made For Myself’, a soulful
confection with acres of light and shade and atmospheric brass decorations,
are all exquisite inventions, so vivid they seem to inhabit three dimensions.

I really want to find the words which might fully communicate this album’s true
worth but I’m struggling. Once this music begins to worm its way into your heart
it really does shake things up, generating a wide range of emotional responses.
The nuts and bolts of how these sounds have been made is only a small part
of the story. Voices, guitar, drums, machines. The rest is all about alchemy.

An encounter with songs as sublime as the title track ‘Muscle Memory’ and
‘Desire’ leaves no room at all to doubt the worth of this truly magical project.
I’m not too proud to beg. Do listen. This music makes the World a better place.

Essential.


Endgame
Endgame
Price: £24.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre Shadows, 6 Nov 2014
This review is from: Endgame (Audio CD)
That part of me which is, on occasion, drawn to the darker corners of The Listening World
was ready to enjoy Daniel Martin-McCormick's new album under his Ital pseudonym but
having now become acquainted with this recording over the past few days I must profess
myself disappointed. Perhaps it's me. I'm all for a bit of moody minimal techno but find it
hard to discern the artist's intention with 'Endgame'. It's not a "dance" collection by any
means but nor is it the kind of album whose fundamental musical ideas are substantial enough to
find a clear form and shape in our imaginations. It's a bit of a dull hodge-podge truth-be-told.

Nothing very much happens in these ten sonic inventions to stir the spirit. The structures
are relatively simple - there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that but the lack of dynamic
development in numbers such as the tedious title track 'Endgame' and 'Black Dust' quickly
become redundant; whilst the fragmented vocal clippings on 'Beacon' are just plain
irritating. The big beats of 'Concussion' with its grunts and gasps and skittering synth
decorations and 'White II' whose industrial machinations might do just enough to keep the
crowd moving at Berlin's Berghain in the hours before dawn are about as good as it gets.

At the end of the day I can find little to recommend about this lacklustre set.


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