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Reviews Written by
Mr. R. K. Jones "www.nothingatall.net" (Rhyl, Denbighshire United Kingdom)
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Hoppípolla
Hoppípolla
Offered by momox co uk
Price: £8.99

12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars signing to a major isnt a good thing, 25 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Hoppípolla (Audio CD)
I feel slightly conned by this one. Three songs, of which all have been heard before and none of it is actually new. In fact the title song and the shorter reprise piece that follows are both avaliable on the last album album, Takk. The only other song on here is the tricky one. Hafsol was originally on Von, albeit in a totally different form. Having been played live in this new incarnation for the past 4/5 years now, I have to be honest and say that somehow its lost its power. As good as it is, and as fun as it is... somehow I cant justify buying this three track single for songs which are not new and are not exatly fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I do really love Hafsol, and it is nice to have it in its new full studio incarnation. But, on this I quite simply feel cheated, EMI have just released this to cash in on a band that they know has an incredibly strong fanbase. And its obviously worked.


Hex (Or Printing In The Infernal Method)
Hex (Or Printing In The Infernal Method)
Price: £9.41

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in black?, 12 Jan. 2006
Appropriately released on Stephen O'Malley's [of Sunn 00)))] Southern Lord label, Hex marks the very welcome return of one of the most intense and immersive bands of the last 15 years or so. Mightily overlooked by the Nirvana kids, even though their beloved Cobain provided vocals to some early demos, Earth's output has been as sparse as this album since then... but what a return this is.
Hex is such a surprising album, the heaviosity of previous releases is almost lost, with the whole album consisting of slow brooding guitar chords. With each slow note played to almost minimal drumming and effects, you quite simply do not realise just how intense this album is, each note hanging in the air waiting for the next to come along... its almost a fragile beast. Each track merges into one and other, with, quite simply, nothing much happening at all.
And then it hits you. One simple chord played with such devestation it demolishes everything, literally everything in its path and there is no looking back. It makes the previous six [yes six] tracks undeniably worth it.
From there the album almost changes, subtely there is something mroe to the music... even a guitar solo. Yup, this is an evolution. Earth have changed once again. if you came looking for the heaviness of before, your in the wrong place thats for sure. Don't get me wrong, this album is heavy... its on Southern Lord...what did you expect? But its not the same as before. And for me, this album has pushed the boundaries of experimental metal with such a success its wonderful. Just for that one defining moment... you will know it when you feel it.


Low - Low In Europe [2004] [DVD]
Low - Low In Europe [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sebastian Schrade

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another one to add to the ever increasing mirage of Low rele, 3 Nov. 2005
Now the one thing i really hate about music DVD's is the fact that in general, most of them tend to be short, sweet and once watched...shoved back on the shelf and left to gather dust for ages. So, in general I am loath to part with my well earned[?] cash on a short DVD. Anyway, I finally spotted the latest one by our friends Low, and I thought....why the hell not...
This is simply a 50 minute documentory from the band's Trust tour of 2002/3 around Europe. Filmed in grainey black and white slow images and some wonderful live moments, this DVD asks some good questions about being in Low and being Low. All the members are interviewed and some wonderfully frank answers come out of it all. Beliefs are shared, ideas and ideals are explained.... and it does show just why Low are one of those bands that have managed to keep going for over ten years. Yet for all this, do we really need this?
The honest answer is no. This is by no means a bad release, but... it is nothing new. Alan explains his beliefs, Zak skips and becomes rock and roll, Mimi shys away. It is nothing new. Yet for all this, this DVD is still immensly intriguing. The live perfdormances of their wonderful songs [taken mainly from the Trust album] show the band at their most powerful. John Prine & I Am The Lamb are so intense you can see why people go to watch Low...and possibly this is one of the things the band may have lost with the subsquent release of The Great Destroyer. But again I have my complaints. Not one of the songs on the DVD is complete. They are all cut off and faded into interviews. And, again this is no bad thing...but it is quite simply annoying.
As a piece of film, I can not fault this. The camera work is supurb, if obviously homemade and fits the band's image well. The Director Sebastian Schrade has almost made a film that verges on the obsessive, yet never quite gets to where it wants to be. Somhow this seems one for the fans only, and if you are a fan, I would recomend buying the box set, as the DVD in that provides a greater source of obsession... if maybe not so up to date.


Lookaftering
Lookaftering
Price: £9.69

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 years in the making..., 22 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Lookaftering (Audio CD)
Well, its been a long time comming, but Vashti Bunyan's second album in 35 years is finally avaliable. And what a wonderful record this is. I wont write about the makings and the story behind the lady, if you want to find out more about the history behind this have a look here, but its fair to say the story is somehow perfect for the outcome.
Now, having not heard Just Another Diamond Day, I quite honestly did not know what to expect from this album. Having heard the fantastic collaboration with Animal Collective, I knew her voice was stunning, but this record blows that all away. The fragile and almost whispered vocals flow throught the album in an almost innocent fashion, whilst the brilliantly produced harp, recorder and piano (amongst other instruments) ebb along innofensivly below the vocals, not taking any front line yet totally complimenting the vocals. And this is the whole album.. its wonderfully relaxing.
From the very start, the music speaks for itself and flutters along its own strange yet satisfying path. Tracks like Turning Backs and Lately are the two stand-out songs for me. Simple piano and soft finger picked guitar, with some wonderful lyrics to match. Its refreshing to have something so beautiful put out on a label possibly more well known for its experimental edge. Not to say this album is mainstream... its far from it. But music like this deserves to be heard and loved by all. And I can see no reason for anyone disliking this.
One thing to note is the amount of guest's on this album. Adem, Joanna Newsom and Devandra Banheart to name but a few, all feature on this recording in one way or another, and produced by Max Richter.. somehow you get the idea that this is more than just a piece of solo work. It all adds up perfectly, although I will admit that I did have my doubts with all these stars lining up...would they take away something from this? Thankfully I was wrong. How could anyone overpower the wonderful voice on this? You can hardly tell there are any extras...Job well done I say.
So, this is again another album from FatCat that I can not fault. As with the previous 5 or so releases, they have changed their boundaries and built up new ones, with a wonderful new album to their roster. Perfect in every way...


GRASS
GRASS
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Trippy precurser to the highly anticipated new album, 13 Oct. 2005
This review is from: GRASS (Audio CD)
And here we are again with one of the most anticipated and critically acclaimed releases of the year...well the precursing single to that, but still, Animal Collective really have a hell of a lot of hype surrounding them, and damn its well deserved. Grass is the band's first release as a four piece since 2003's Here Comes The Indian album, and their floating membership has been quite differeing over the past few years.
The three tracks all show another side to Animal Collective that ahs been absent from the last few releases and almost starks back to very early material off Danse Manatee. Grass itself is a fantastic piece of head-bobby freakout power pop. It has everything, catchy hooks jangly guitars and a beat to kill for. Like with a lot of their songs, somehow no matter how incoherant and odd the song sounds, somehow it juct falls together, there is no chorus as such here, just screams and oooooos. As this features on the album it is certinly a damn fine signal that the new album will be spectacular!
The 2 bsides are both unique to this release The first one, Must Be Treeman is a trippy piece that starts off with a delayed loop which gradually gets overtaken by an almost dream like wash of sounds and the odd guitar plucking. The Collective have always been good at their wacked out instrumental pieces, and this is no exception... though the beginning of the song is kinda annoying, i cant hold that against the track though.
Finally comes Fickle Cycle, a song in the conventional sense, well, in the Animal Collective style anyway. Avey Tare's vocals almost as droney as the guitar noise sound in the background without pausing for breath. And it sits by the record's title track perfectly, so many changes that shouldnt work yet still do. Animal Collective seem to have done it again. This single, although short is making the new album look very exciting!


Songs Of Green Pheasant
Songs Of Green Pheasant
Price: £11.21

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning dark folksy debut!, 29 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Songs Of Green Pheasant (Audio CD)
FatCat Records are on of those constantly surprising labels. Starting off with a primarily electronic output they have come a long way the past few years with sopme stunning releases to their belt. And this new one is no different at all.
This release is possibly one of the most mellow yet uneasy to listen to so far. Recorded back in 2002/03 and sent in as a demo, Songs Of Green Pheasant (aka Duncan Sumpner) is a murkey dark yet somehow beautiful ppiece of work. As the artwork depicts, the music feels like a primative and middle aged form of folk... though the hints of electronic guitar and the odd noise freakout gives this album a unique feel.
The 10 songs all feature beautiful multi-harmony slow burn melodies which are almost like The Beach Boys or Belle & Sebastian in places. Nightfall is one of the stand out songs, slow guitar plucks layered with feedback towards the end all the time awash with mumble vocals... its wonderful!
Each song is almost a story, The Burning Man evokes Paegan travellers... maybe not so much the lyrics but the whole feel of each song is so so relaxed and intimate yet dark at the same time... I really can not fault this and the latest string of releases from FatCat. Eacho one has been stunning, totally unique and entertaining at the same time.
My only worry is that if there is ever another Songs Of Green Pheasant album it may loose some of the charm which has made this release so good. The album feels perfect in its almost unfinished and handmade state. Adding some well known producer or simply recordiding it a full studio with a swanky mixing desk may well ruin it. And that would be a major shame. Lets just hope in another 3 or so years we get to hear another album of this calibre.


Broken Ear Record
Broken Ear Record
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: £9.11

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more mayhem from those messed up noise kids, 19 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Broken Ear Record (Audio CD)
Black Dice are still one of the most unique and unusual bands i have ever heard. Maybe thats a bold statement, but I honestly do believe that the boundaries the band has destroyed and violated in the past 2 years since their UK debut are immense. With each release Black Dice have managed to evolve and mutate in an often backwards manner, yet always in an inventive and sometimes even shocking way. Now, along with Sigur Rós, Black Dice have defected from the fantastic FatCat Records, and this will be the band's first release on EMI/DFA. How well this will work out I dont know. Wheather the EMI link will cause some kind of implosion or defect in their genius remains to be seen. Certinly Broken Ear Record is a funny one.
With Creature Comforts, the band stuck to almost minimal beats and masses of sounds. Here the trend is reversed, beats make a huge comeback, but not totally in the usual sence, you have to remeber this is Black Dice. The openeing song, Snarley Yow, is a prime example of this. The beats are almost made up of guitar loops and sounds. Yes there is a drum machine, but its subdued. Its very clever and instantly grabs the listener. Which is great. The sheer range of sounds and layers is immense. The opening track alone seems to be able to layer on guitar riffs, bleeps and noisey computer bass and at the same time have places of almost retrospective Creature Comforts style sounds.
The forthcomming single, Smiling Off is certinly one of the highlights along the way. Featuring vocal [though not singinging...] and almost trance-like synth warblings, its almost pop music[!] Though the hughlight of the song has to be the drumming along the way. And this is probably the reson why this album ultimatly is a mixed bag.
Places on the album really do make your head bob. Smiling off and Motorcycle have some of coolest drumming in for a long time. But somehow the album has lost something in its almost glam pop rock disco weirdness. After a while all the tracks sort of merge into each other, and none truely stand out. Thats not to say any of the songs are bad, just... it feels like a broken record...
And you know..its just hit me writing this... Broken Ear Record....The clever lot!!!!


Nostalgia / Pain
Nostalgia / Pain
Price: £10.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars utterly beautiful..., 16 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Nostalgia / Pain (Audio CD)
and here is elizabeth anka vajagic with her second release. and, just like the first, this is impressive stuff.. 3 tracks, 2 of them clocking in well over 10 mins. her voice is still just as beautiful, possibly even more shocking...and it works. the demo sound the debut had seems to have been lost too... even though the 2 main songs were recorded during the same sessions.
still, i am certinly not complaining... and check out the packaging too, its the old style foil printed and its fantastic!


Par Noussss Touss Les Trous De Vos Cranes
Par Noussss Touss Les Trous De Vos Cranes
Price: £14.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pounding, almost dancy drone rock, 11 Sept. 2005
The 2002 debut for Et Sans was almost a comedy hit on the Godspeed You! Black Emperor kids... a single 70 minute drone track... lets just say a lot of people I spoke to were not impressed. But then why should Roger Tellier-Craig have to stick to his Fly Pan Am/GY!BE roots? I for one thought the album [if you can call it that] was quite good, but the backlash about it on some forums was totally inappropriate...
So i guess this fantastic release is destined to be either ignored by the masses, or somehow taken in and loved by all. I would love the latter to be the response, but somehow i doubt it. This release is not the Et Sans of 2002. This is the new improved Et Sans! Now expanded to a full band featuring various members of the usual Montreal scene [fly pan am, godspeed, mt zion, molasses...] Yet as different as things may be now, the band still sounds the same as it did, but in a different way. The drone is still there, it still sounds improvised, and in places it is still noisy. But somehow, Et Sans have become 'punk rock'.
The album is made up of four interlinked extended tracks... each one blurring into the next and with little noticeable difference at first. Starting off quietly, the album launches into an almost expected electrical static noise, but then above that there is an organ pounding out a continuous and almost cheesy jaunt! And all this whilst the drums pound away kineticly. Its exceptionally well played... somehow like a bastardised version of Fly Pan Am. When the vocals kick in the link to FPA becomes even more clear, totally unrecognisable sound based repetative vocals. Yet it works, and it is different to FPA, almost a step forward from them. The 70s Kraut Rock style is also very visable... its minimal but dense at the same time, with the industrial undertones lurking just below the dirty bass lines and white noise.
This really is one of those albums you will either love or hate, it reminds me of so so many genres and bands, yet somehow is nowhere near any of them. And a special mention must be made about the packagaing which is [as usual for Alien8] fantasticly made and presented. Try it, you might like it...


Takk
Takk
Offered by nagiry
Price: £6.72

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hmm, 8 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Takk (Audio CD)
Now, I love Sigur Rós, and I genuinely want to see them succeed and get their amazing music out to the masses. The previous 3 albums, remix project and random soundtracks and eps have all been some of the most interesting pop records of recent times. Yet If Takk, the band's fourth record, turned out to be completely crap...I would not hesitate to stomp on it in my size 10 doc martins... I don't want to see the band get lazy and churn out more of the same old same old. And believe me, I have been getting ready to perform this act of blasphemy after hearing the Glossóli download single...
The album starts off with the aforementioned song, after a brief intro, and...well... I will be honest and say it is increasingly growing on me. And I guess for this album, which will probably end up being their biggest selling and most widely known record, its a fine opener. It is impressive, but its nothing new. As the album progresses, its tinkly pianos and pounding drums and Jonsi's usual voice. And... its all very nice. If a bit bland. Live favorite Milano never really gripped me live and on record it isn't too great either. Saeglopur is certainly one of the stand out songs, along with Gong. Each one nothing entirely new, but it feels like a revert back to better times.
Sigur Rós of late seem to be getting very generic and formulaic. Many of the songs on Takk consist of piano tinklings and the smurf-like vocals used on Vaka. And, well..it is nice and it is pretty and it is different, but it is still the same as what they have done before. Something feels missing from the album. Agaetis Byrjún had such am amazing feel to it, a feel that was lost slightly with ( ) and demolished with Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do.
Two of the tracks also have two parts, both of which feel totally unecessary. Maybe if they had replaced these two with the live version of Hafssol the album would have been a different animal altogether.
I don't know, maybe Takk is just too proggy. Something seems to have gone amiss in the Sigur Rós camp, I don't want to hear the same old music, and Takk is a step away from ( ) but its not necessarily a step forward. This is not a bad album by any means, its just...maybe something more was expected from the band.
Still, I don't think I will be stomping on the cd... not just yet anyway.


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