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A History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present (The George Eastman House Collection)
A History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present (The George Eastman House Collection)
by Therese Mulligan
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge the book by its publisher, 9 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Provided you've ever been to the art section of any modern bookstore, when you hear "Taschen" you immediately think of beautifully published albums of great paintings or, less commonly, other visual arts.

"A History of Photography" is far from that spirit. It is mainly a textbook dedicated to the history of the medium, where "history" is the key word and art takes the backseat. As demanded by the book size and the amount of text included, the images are often too small to be appreciated properly. A further limitation on the visual content is imposed by the choice of a single source of the images, although some of the milestones in the history of photography are still present.

The book presents the evolution of photography as a medium and as an art rather poorly. It would be hard for any reader to tell by the illustrations alone how photography changed throughout different periods, what trends dominated it in different times. Quite conspicuously, the "present" that is mentioned in the title is almost entirely missing. The book also lacks the power to inspire a learning photographer. Perhaps this could be dismissed as irrelevant in the face of the book's apparent purpose. But when discussing a visual medium, if the pictures aren't good enough, the book isn't good enough.

I thought perhaps I was wrong and judged the book by its cover. But I've shown the book to someone trained in visual arts, hoping they would point my error to me, and all I got was a confirmation of my own complaints; in fact, they were more critical of the book than I am.


The Forever War (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Forever War (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Joe W. Haldeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.16

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece, 10 Jan 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"The Forever War" is, like a true masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind work. Like any serious S.F. book, it's not about "spaceships, aliens, and ray-guns" but about the human condition, or some aspect of it. Drawing from his personal experiences, Joe Haldeman writes about the war and its role in the life of the individual and, to a lesser extent, its influence on the civilization. The reader learns, through the eyes of the protagonist, how alien and socially desolate home seems to a veteran returning from war. How a communication barrier naturally grows between those that never left and those that have just returned.

The narrative is quick-paced and matter-of-fact, but that perhaps makes the emotions and atmosphere even more clear for the reader. Rarely, too, does any dramatic work manage to build up the tension so steadily to the final scene, while never getting larger than life. This steady and never over-the-top pace makes "The Forever War" stand out even more, as the end comes in a natural way, giving the reader closure. It is a showcase of intelligent writing that satiates the need for adventure as much as for intellectual stimulus.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2010 5:58 PM GMT


Koss Porta Pro Stereo Over-Ear Headphones for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Black/Silver
Koss Porta Pro Stereo Over-Ear Headphones for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Black/Silver
Price: 29.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best headphones I had in a very long time - they gave a new life to my CDs, 13 Jun 2006
My first impression was that the PortaPro had very even frequency response, with maybe the lowest end slightly too pronounced. These were the first headphones in a very long time that actually worked well from the bottom to the top. All headphones that I had tried in the recent years, after my Sony MDR-V3 stopped working, had some serious problem; the usual picture was exaggerated bottom, muddy middles, muffled highs. While the PortaPro are not yet the Holy Grail of headphones for me, they seriously improve in most areas.

These headphones work very well across the whole spectrum I can hear. The sound has a slightly acoustic feel to it. Even some remastered CDs that frequently take some bashing for the sound quality (think Tangerine Dream Definitive Edition from Virgin) sound great on the PortaPro.

Generally you can expect these headphones to reproduce nuances well, and to be versatile for all kinds of music - rock, jazz, electronic, classic. Of the CDs that I listened to on PortaPro, the only that sounded less than good was the remastered "Somewhere in Time" by Iron Maiden.As for wearing comfort, PortaPro are OK after you take some time to position them precisely. The earbud pressure switch is a big plus, it really makes a difference, allowing you to avoid the effect of "suffocating ears". As with most headphones with a headband, they don't work too well for listening in bed.


Tyger
Tyger
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 15.95

4.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broken, don't fix it, 19 Mar 2004
This review is from: Tyger (Audio CD)
If you happen to own the original Jive-Electro CD edition, the first thing you will notice is the new cover design. Check the back side of the package and you'll notice a bonus track in the track list.
While I don't understand why the old cover art - the silver TD logo - has been replaced with a new one (not bad in itself), I don't care that much about it. What I do care about though is that the title track has been completely reworked. It looks like the new mix was made from the same multitrack recording but it hardly resembles the original. I'm not sure what the band's intention was - maybe to reflect Ms. Smith's vocal style better - but the song lost all its character. The strong, almost pompous synth sequence is now gone far to background. The vocals drown in reverbs and somehow sound much gentler. And the initial spoken lines disappeared.
Then something's wrong with the rhythm in "Alchemy of the Heart" - or so it seems. In fact, the initial fade-in was removed. The track is now shorter by 10 seconds.
Then there is "Vigour", a 1992 addition by Jerome froese. While far from band's best achievements, it's not a bad track in itself. It just doesn't fit in the album's style - I'd rather expect it on one of the Melrose period albums.
Surprisingly, the liner notes still refer to the original 1987 mix of the title track, not the new one from 1992. There is no mention of "Vigour" either.
On the good side, "21st Century Common Man" parts I and II have been finally divided into separate tracks.
As the bottom line, the revamped album is nonetheless good enough to be a TD work. This version seems to be the only currently available on the market. If you haven't added "Tyger" to your CD collection yet, get it and you'll be satisfied with it. If you happen to own the old mix and think of replacing it with the all-new, elegant cardboard edition, try the new one before selling the original. I'm glad I did - I decided to keep both. The differences justified that.


No Title Available
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: 40.94

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freezing evening's hot event, 17 Mar 2004
Aside from the military Warsaw Pact, there seemed to be another - that of rock bands that chose Poland as the place to perform for the audience behind the Iron Curtain. Three years after performing in East Berlin, TD jumped the wall again, this time straight into the freezing Ice Stadium in Warsaw. Adverse weather conditions and communist block's trademark power failures reminded Froese and friends what it meant to be a struggling artist.
But put your headphones on and you will hardly find any clue to what TD had to counter. It's hard to believe that anyone would be able to improvise THAT with freezing hands and being interrupted by equipment going dead. And yet they did - 76 minutes of it!
The album is divided into four tracks that originally were just four sides of the double-LP album. A few silent breaks suggest that further division of the lengthy tracks was possible, but the editor apparently didn't think the listeners deserved it.
The music material is varied in style and climate. There is rhythm and there are more ambient-like parts. There are lightweight passages, and heavier, darker stuff, even suspense towards the end of "Horizon". The whole album builds on earlier compositions, but there is no such obvious connection as for example between "Pergamon" and "Tangram". Surprisingly for the style of this album, there is no guitar solo, but Froese makes it up with guitar-like solo on distorted synth.
Typical of TD's live performances, improvisations develop rather slowly, but not to the point of boring the listener. This is already happening in the 80's, the pace of the civilized life (and art) gets more impatient, and the band seem to be aware of that. Still, the musical concepts don't get squeezed into quick five-minute bursts.
Other than lack of better track division I find it hard to do any nitpicking relative to "Poland". When listened to in favorable conditions, this album really blows your mind with its powerful, emotional sound.
On the last note, this concert is said to have been televised in Poland at the time, but I don't know anybody who would have seen it. I wonder if we'll ever see it on video/DVD, taking this adventure further...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2011 6:58 AM BST


Underwater Sunlight
Underwater Sunlight
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 21.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New lineup, same great quality, 17 Mar 2004
This review is from: Underwater Sunlight (Audio CD)
A debut for another TD lineup, this album belongs among the more rock-style albums of the group, together with works such as "Force Majeure". Strong rhythm, strong sythesizer riffs, and lots of reverb put "Underwater Sunlight" close to other music works of the mid-80's, perhaps with a bottom end stronger than usual of the epoch, more suitable for today's listeners.
In terms of sound, arrival of new synthesizers to the group's studio is apparent, but technology hasn't killed the spirit as it often does. The album is also a great come-back of Froese's fat guitar solos, with very well balanced duration this time. There would be no TD without piano either, here played by Haslinger instead of Schmoelling, although you might need something better than a cheap bookshelf hi-fi to fully appreciate Haslinger's intro to the "Song of the Whale, Part Two".
The whole album is very consistent, without weak tracks that you'd want to skip. I often play it as background music and I'm usually surprised when the album ends. If you do happen to jump around the tracks though, you'll notice that track marker for "Scuba Scuba" is set about one second too late. This hasn't been ammended since the 1996 re-issue.
The cover seems to be a close reproduction of the original vinyl LP cover, with track listing still divided into side one and side two. You also get a booklet with some notes on the band's history at the time, plus a few blurred photos of the band.
Overall this is one of the best TD's albums. It is also relatively easy listening without drop in artistic level. If you haven't got it yet, I suggest you consider this one.


Caverna Magica (...Under the Tree - In The Cave)
Caverna Magica (...Under the Tree - In The Cave)
Offered by ALL-MY-MUSIC-GERMANY
Price: 13.96

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One sound is worth a thousand images, 12 May 2003
One image is worth a thousand words... I mean, one sound is worth a thousand images.
Andreas Vollenweider takes us for a walk through a magic cave where everything that happens is music. Not just the glassy sound of the harp, but the steps, falling waterdrops - and singing whales. Although Vollenweider considers "Caverna Magica" as a continuation of the experiment - his previous album - this is no "experimental" music at all. It is a harmonious, melodious, rhythmic symphony of strings, reeds, voices, and anything else that can sound like music.
The first thing that makes this album special is the spacious, rich, and very natural reverberation, indistinguishable from a real cave. In fact, the use of the then-new digital reverb system was important enough to be mentioned in the liner notes. And the bass comes from the harp, perfect to just fill the sound, not smash it.
But that would be nothing without Vollenweider's imagination. He puts together elements as distant as Chinese, Indian, and Latin sounds, all revolving around his harp - the lead and rhythm instrument at the same time. And everything is in place, all instruments and sounds fit together so naturally as if they came from one place, one epoch, one maker even. Is it New Age? Is it World Music? No, it's magic!
The whole album is more like one song, sometimes I couldn't tell when one ends and another begins if not for the CD display. The mood is set right from the beginning to the end - a mystery at first, then adventure, then a farewell song. It is a triumph of subtlety and joyfulness. It is a timeless achievement.


Beat
Beat
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 19.89

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressive meets pop, 2 Nov 2000
This review is from: Beat (Audio CD)
This album is a more thoughtful follow-up to "Discipline", starting exactly where the latter left. I doesn't have the power and freshness of "Discipline", but still it yielded great music, and even a chart-hit. This album is as close to "normal" music as King Crimson ever got. It starts with "Neal and Jack and Me", the only Crim song with a few words from Robert Fripp. If you ever thought the ostinato chords in the chorus are synth, you're wrong - it's Chapman Stick's melody side, played by Tony Levin. The most important song on the album is "Heartbeat", which actually is Adrian Belew's solo song. It's simplicity is mind-striking. After buying the album I listened to it endlessly. And it even won a status of a (relative) hit on the charts. Fripp's backward solos in "Heartbeat" are the best backward-recorded guitar solos ever published. It's one of those songs that get better, more emotional every time you listen to it. "Sartori in Tangiers" and "Waiting Man" are a showcase of Stick-played accompaniment - virtuosity in simplicity, once again. "Neurotica" sounds like a companion to "Elephant Talk" and "Indiscipline" from the previous album, populating the streets with animals and your mind with never-ending stream of words. "Two Hands" will sound good listened to just after "Heartbeat" - both musically and textually. "Howler" and "Requiem" end the album with "frippery" - odd meter first, then somewhat abstract monotonous guitar solo. If you don't know King Crimson and want some easy listening from them - get the album. If you know King Crimson and want some lighter side to it - get the album. If you are a crimhead and don't have it yet - get the album. And, finally, if you happen to write a master thesis on Robert Fripp's solo work - get the album and analyze "Requiem" :)


Somewhere In Time
Somewhere In Time
Price: 8.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the album I would suggest to a non-Maiden fan., 2 Nov 2000
This review is from: Somewhere In Time (Audio CD)
This was the first heavy metal album I ever listened to, coming from electronic music. And it was convincing. After 13 years, I still like it the same. The sound and style are as consistent through all songs as always with this band (maybe except for "Deja-vu", which is closer to earlier albums), and there is more emphasis on overall effect than on headbanging. There is a great feeling of space you won't get with earlier Maiden's albums, and bigger than that with following ones. Together with lyrics, it speaks irresistibly to your imagination. This album also is a milestone in guitar-synth era - introducing the so-hated-before instrument to heavy metal. But do not get fooled by the presence of the synths - the music is as heavy, as it had always been with Iron Maiden.


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