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Mr. R. K. Jones "www.nothingatall.net" (Rhyl, Denbighshire United Kingdom)
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Trouble at Jinx Hotel
Trouble at Jinx Hotel
Price: 13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars tragic yet hopeful, 4 Jan 2005
This review is from: Trouble at Jinx Hotel (Audio CD)
somtimes intimacy is a wonderfuly strange thing. just the idea of having one person singing slowly and softly in a way really scares me. but then in a way, the idea of a band with 16 or so floating members slowly drifting songs straight at you does the same thing. its intimacy, but in another way.and its what molasses do best...
this is the collective's 4th release and again in comprises of slow burn harmonies, found sounds, church drones and hopeful singalongs. and, to put it bluntly, its fantastic. the story goes that during the sessions at the infamous hotel2tango, the band were struck with a sequence of odd occurences that almost totally destroyed the recordings. so, these are the lucky 13 that made it to the end.
i wont go into detail about each and every track, just a few choice cuts as i really do think that molasses are a band that cant really be well described by words. the album opener 'sirens song' is a great way to open the album, and is simply an intro to the first song proper. 'la la la amerika' sees vocalist, and long standing member jennifer ménard's vocals brought up to the front as a beautiful accompanyment to scott chernoff's peaceful drone. and its beautiful...and we're frightened and sickened and poverty-stricken and waiting for you to send word when darkness calls the sky falls...sounds depressing, but its not. somehow its uplifting and joyful. yet the band still sounds tiny and not saturated with layer upon layer of sound. yet it is..its hard to explain, but then does it really matter? its great great music.
sign of judgement is another uplifting drone. violins/saws/guitars wail away in the background, slowly building with jennifer and scott singing over the top, gradually building into a beautiful piece.
and what more can i say, this is an album of beauty and hope and despair and joy. yet thats still nowhere near it. fans of lo-fi/post rock/folk music should lap this up. all the usual cast from montréal are there and its still not pretentious. and if you want another reason to buy it, the artwork+packaging is beautiful, and like all molasses releases...fancy...


Iriver 20GB MP3 Player With Tuner And Direct Recording
Iriver 20GB MP3 Player With Tuner And Direct Recording

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 4 Jan 2005
this really is far superior to the all-conquring ipod! some people say the menu+file system is a bit difficult to navigate...no worrries. if you visit the iriver website you can download new firmware which fixes a number of pointed out things [such as the tiny gap between songs], but als you can download a new database+menu system...its much much better+faster...


S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.
S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.
Price: 12.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hip hop breaks and electronic punk that really shouldnt work, 13 Dec 2004
This review is from: S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. (Audio CD)
so im one of those people who doesnt do hip hop/rap and all thhe other stuff combined into that genre. yet, this is something else totally...apparently this is a few members from !!! and a bunch of other people, so with that youcan, or at least should be able to imagine that this is immensly dancable... and hell it is! this is my first listen, and reading the garb on the back of the pomo, i honestly wasnt expecting this.
opening with the intense 'story of the whole thing' it sounds relativly cool and chilled out. which in a way i guess it is, but instantly the next track grabs you by the throat with its pounding techno breakbeat that just explodes and breaksdown almost at random throught the length of the track. its stunning and so funky, something you wouldnt nececerrily associate with kranky.
throught the album there is snippets of violin and piano, which i found sometimes slightly annoying, but then its totally different to what i would have expected, so lets go with the flow. and now the noise has just broken out...and gone again...there is so much going on throught this album it feels slightly hard to keep up with. its not your ordinary punk rock album thats for sure.
to be honest though, as im listening to this im getting a little bored...some tracks seem to merge into each other...doesnt feel like an album to sit and listen to, mayeb it isnt, or maybe its just me. for djing and car driving maybe...but i cant honestly say i want to carry on listening to each of the six songs on the album. hip as it this is...its not me for sure. its good, but not that good. and to be honest, i think im getting a little confused with all these samples and sounds....


Ver Tanzt?
Ver Tanzt?
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 7.43

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars punk rock?, 25 Nov 2004
This review is from: Ver Tanzt? (Audio CD)
this i guess is quite a departure for constellation...its not noisy. its not punk as such. its not electronic. its just brilliant music...
first off, some of the songs are quite upbeat and, maybe this sounds silly but, almost head bobbing. fishelakh in vaser and ver tanzt? are simply brilliant tracks that conjour up images of russian kosak dancing with crowds of people standing round clapping along. and its brilliant..in a medievil kind of way. the songs are mostly very traditional, yet with new arrangements..i think, i have never heard the orignals. but all the way through, there is still the punk/pop sensibility that seems to run through most constellation releases..no matter how hidden it is. its there. and thats great.
the liner notes are possibly the most important part of this release [after the music anyway]. now i am no good at politics/beliefs/history, but the notes point to the forever ongoing clash between palestine and israel. there's no peace, no truth, all oaths are broken reads the poem. and the passion with which the songs are sung seem to point even more to the political side of things. but whats wrong with that? there needs to be some voice, otherwise where would it all end? gah..i know what i mean, just sometimes somethings are so hard to describe. what little there is in the notes though does a perfectly fine job of pointing the way. oh, and of course the packaging is again fantastic. i dont think i even need to go into details there though..this is, after all, a constellation release.
i dont think i can fault this album apart from that i dont think its for everyone...its not 1-speed bike thats for sure. and thats what makes this such an interesting record. the album is totally different to anything i have heard. its not challenging and its certinally not boring...its beautiful, and sad, and mournful, and hopeful. in its own way. and maybe even, one of the best releases on the label.


Lost Riots, The [Limited Edition]
Lost Riots, The [Limited Edition]
Price: 15.86

0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hmmm.....nothing original, 6 Nov 2004
maybe the idea that hope of the states are/were a non pretentious post rock/rock/punk/indie band was too much to ask for. this album is icredibly pretentious...ah well. what did i expect? still, its good. and opening the nice limited edition packaging is a little exciting. though now i cant close it due to the stupid idea of having to rip off the cardboard to get in..grrr. blah, it kicks the jewel case version though...
anyway, the problem...
its the most unoriginal album i have heard i think. everything has been stolen off bands which just do this sort of thing better. godspeed/mono/mogwai/sigur rós etc...
and that annoys me. it really does, not as good as it could have been


Terraform
Terraform
Offered by barcode bargains
Price: 11.94

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mr albini is a genius., 17 Sep 2004
This review is from: Terraform (Audio CD)
i think the only reason i got into shellac was because steve albini. i havent heard any big black or anything else he has sang/played in. just become obsessed with some of the records he has worked on. he is a genius. simple as that. from low to godspeed to nirvana to pj harvey to pixies. he is a genius. so i bought at acion park. its damn good. buy it. this is my second shellac cd. its not mastered directly to metal or pressed into 165 gramms of virgin dye-blackened vinyl. there isnt anything special about the manufacture of this disk. but its genius.
ok so i took that from record 4. this is record 7[?]. but it still applies. there isnt anything special about the packaging or pressing of the record. the packaging is nice. its not a jewel case. its a bit flimsy and not that pretty. but its nice. nothing special. but the music is special. its angry and its harsh. but not in any way that is conventional amongst the modern rock format of pop punk muppets and same old same old teenage angst culitivated boredom. this is special.
the first track is 12 minutes 15 seconds of pain in an incredibly muted droneing and thunderous way. plod plod plod. it goes on and on. but its genius. the sparse guitar simply adds to the journey. this is possibly the best shellac song i have ever heard. there is almost no vocals. just the one line [the song title] in a few places. and it broods, setting the pace and feel for the whole album. its haunting stuff.
so when the more conventional[?] songs launch in. its quite a difference. back to the angry sideshows of action park. albini's lyrics are hard to decipher. often thy are screamed or mumbled. spoken or spat. it is great stuff. his voice is just perfect for this music. its not pretty. its a mess. and thats whats great. it is great.
the music itself is excellent. sometimes there seems like there is only so much you can do with the bass/guitar/drums line up. but that is definatley false. the inventiveness of some of the songs is brilliant. albini's guitar provides scathingingly loud cutty and jumpy sounds. constantly re-inventing/mixing previous riffs and solos. whilst weston's pounding bass and trainer's kinetic drumming carry the songs along like an unstopable rocket. like there is nothing to stop them. nothing.
the album is only 36 minutes 22 seconds long. but it feels much longer. which i guess is shellac's problem. it can be hard to distionguish between songs. there is that sence of similarity and droneing which some might hate. i quite like the droneing. but the similarity of some of the songs is a bit offputting. but this isn't normally my sort of music. so i cant really say. and i think i will grow to like this record even more than i do right now. albini is a genius. somehow i hope he doesnt decide to start producing coldplay.
oh, if your interested the cd and 180 gram virgin vinyl lp are the same price...


CREATURE COMFORTS
CREATURE COMFORTS
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more walls broken down to the sounds of purring kittens, 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: CREATURE COMFORTS (Audio CD)
well, maybe not kittens, but this is again another total breakdown of all that black dice has done before. gone are the brutal screams and layers of noise. gone are the psycadelic noodlings and tin cans. and in come the bleeps and blips of the local deformed feline population
in other words, its totally different to beaches and canyons. this time there seems to be a more relaxed and chilled approach. the band are as loose as can be, yet the structure is still there. The stunning track on here is creature. during the eight miutes, this track goes from basic electronica topounding tribal drums to purring animals and the rustling of branches. its like the soudtrack to a jungle treck, yet its not at the same time. and like all black dice releases, its so so organic. somehow its not right, but somehow its totally perfect. with each release black dice seem to be hurtling closer and closer towards the sky...not looking where they are going, always arriving in the wrong place and direction, yet somehow quite satisfied with the music that has emerged along the way.
and i think thats really clever...


Beaches & Canyons [VINYL]
Beaches & Canyons [VINYL]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very odd but ultimatley satisfying organic noise...maybe[?], 29 July 2004
This review is from: Beaches & Canyons [VINYL] (Vinyl)
i bought this just on impulse [its on fat cat and it has a nice cover...bit psychedelic :) ] so i was damn surprised when i listened to this through.
black dice are a four piece from brooklyn who started off as a hardcore punk band. but now they could be called both punk rock and hardcore, but not at the same time. there is punk guitars and hardcore screams. punk noise and hardcore scratching. but that doesnt even begin to describe this aural attack. maybe organic is a better word to describe this...hmmm
beaches & canyons is five tracks each marking up the ten minute mark and each sounding totally different but always working perfectly well. for example, the first two tracks are pretty ambient and not exactly noisy, but then go on to track five and you are treated to quater of an hour of static noise guitar drones and inhumane screamings /cut for a seconds silence/ and back to more static and noise. it sounds horrible. maybe it is. its definatly not for everyone. but it is so densely layered and so well played and thought out, it works.
so what more can i write..i really dont know. but this album is a gem. there are faults, maybe some of the tracks/sections are a little overlong and maybe there could be more variation..but isnt that the point?


Grey
Grey
Price: 10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thunderous brooding messed up rock, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Grey (Audio CD)
the joy division reference there is true.this album is deeply disturbing and compared to some jd tracks its incredibly harsh.[thats not saying jd were soft kittens - they were geniuses] anyway this being constellation's second release, and as it was released at about the same time as ok computer i thought that maybe a review of this would be fun.lets see.packaged in a lovely cardstock sleeve like all constellation releases this album is harsh.11 tracks of dark brooding songs.in constellation's cataloge it says 'like big black and slint meeting at a joy division tribute night' and that is exactly sofa.they have all the sounds of those bands, but its their own sound.the opening track alone on/off is incredible,with peter hook style bass and some incredible drumming. but its not all harsh noise, a few tracks like medicine hat and current are a lot more mellow.sparse guitars and slow drumming.but there is still that underlying tense presence waiting to appear.problems? well i guess sometimes it gets a bit repetative.but isnt that the point? its not easy listening and its not for everyone.but its a fantasticly well kept secret.and without it,constellation wouldnt exist.


The Science of Breath
The Science of Breath
Price: 14.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars throbbing non-format anti-techno, 18 July 2004
This review is from: The Science of Breath (Audio CD)
okay, so the 8 tracks are a lot 'dancier' than any of those on the constellation release, which is by no means a bad thing. its just something almost unexpected. i was expecting more of the slide guitar and chill-out beats. this does contain that, but in a much different form. this time its dance beats and electronic shuffling. the second track 'oarca' is definatly in the realm of dance music..it thumps along in some kind of eeriy way. and its greatly addictive
in fact the 4 most addictive songs are those released originally by sandro on his audi-sensa imprint. each one is a throbbing and brooding dance track of absolute genius. the guitars slide about whilst electrics buzz away. more and more layers are added until its a totally addictive puzzle of beats, pulses and sounds. not once on this record does it get boring either.
as a dance album..this is not your average club superstar dj release..this is something much much better and a million miles away from that. this is evolution in a deep and intense way.


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