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D. Singh-Hulass "Derek22464" (Brighton)
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Don't Believe The Hyperreal
Don't Believe The Hyperreal
Price: £13.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Another essential purchase!, 5 May 2016
So, again, I'm the first person to review an album featuring the magnificent songwriting talents of Mathias Kom.

Why isn't this man and his band, The Burning Hell, better known? Why aren't they selling out stadiums? Why am I asking so many stupid and obvious questions?

This is a much more low key and personal album, featuring just the twin talents of Ariel and Mathias. But there's no drop in quality, no real change in tone, no detour away from warmth and kindness and humanity. It has all the feel of a classic boy/girl album with lines being traded and harmonies being cooed and a private language being shared.

To be honest, it's not that different to any Burning Hell album - perhaps less animals, Hip Hop and less of a detached observation, it feels a bit more connected to its subject matter this time around.

If you've got any of The Burning Hell albums, then you can confidently add this to the collection as it fits in seamlessly. It's not as big or broad, but that works in its favour as showing another side to Mathias' songwriting and arrangement skills. And come on, you get to record an album with your girlfriend and people pay actual money and buy it!

Great cover art, too. Well done to both of you!


Public Library
Public Library
Price: £12.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've only gone and done it again., 5 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Public Library (Audio CD)
Okay, since no one else has done it, I may as well be the first (but hopefully, not the only) person to write a review.

Andy Sweeney's magnificent review of the "People" album pretty much says everything you need to know about this band, so even though this may appear a counterintuitive move, I'd recommend that you pop over there first before reading my review in full. I know that appears idiotic, but it does make sense really....

Anyhow, yes, The Burning Hell are indeed one of Life's great pleasures and treasures. All their albums are full of warmth and wit and great lines. Yes, the early stuff can be a bit downbeat and Mathias sounds rather morose at times, but something happened with "People" - I don't know if he met Ariel then, but suddenly there was a touch more joy and hope in his lyrics and the music became more positive and upbeat.

There are very few artists currently around whereby you actually, properly, listen to the words and they make you laugh or think. To be honest, this album is just yet another in a long line of superb albums. The only changes over the years seems to be perhaps more ambitious musical arrangements, and definitely improved production.

Like Andy's friend, I've also introduced this band to a friend of mine and she loves them. She thinks they sound similar to Jonathan Richman or The Magnetic Fields - I think they are less wacky than Jonathan and less bitter than Stephin Merritt. I can see the similarities but they are very much their own band.

I'm going to see them this month in a pub with a capacity of 150, and the gig's still not sold out! At a time when utter mediocrity can still sell millions thanks to clever publicity and marketing, it's an absolute travesty of musical justice (I know there's no such thing, but I like the concept) that this marvellous band aren't playing stadiums. But then, that's not how the music business works, is it?

When I was younger, it was very important to me that certain bands were a well kept secret that only those in the know cared about and loved. Now, I think the complete opposite - the more bands like The Burning Hell are championed and talked about and cherished, the better it is for them and us.

I personally think they're the best thing musically to come out of Canada in years; better than Arcade Fire and certainly better than Bieber! Though I suspect that Mathias wouldn't particularly mind being mentioned in the same sentence as either!


The Fight - Move Required (PS3)
The Fight - Move Required (PS3)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £11.74

5.0 out of 5 stars What motion controlling is all about., 19 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If ever a game defined divergent opinions from professional games' reviews and user ratings, it was this one. The pros rated it average at best to terrible at worst, whilst people who actually invested time and energy in it rated it nothing less than good.

I've given it five stars because I really do enjoy it and it deserves more than four stars, maybe 4 1/2 would be more accurate as there are niggles.

Primarily, the calibration isn't always 1:1 and I still don't really know why. It could be the lighting in the room - confusingly, some commentators suggest that you need strong lighting for the head tracking to work properly, but if it's too bright then the PS Eye camera won't pick up the Move controllers well - or it could be that I have my camera mounted on top of my 60" Plasma at around six feet high, and I'm only 5'3"! (it is tilted down)

I find that my left hand punches are currently more accurate than my right, even though I have spent time levelling up my Technique stat. Talking of which, it is definitely worth taking time and doing Training before taking on fights. For a start, you'll be tightening up your punching technique (when I first started, I used to accidentally bash the Move controllers into each other, that's how uncoordinated I was) and you'll be earning valuable experience points which you can spend on raising your abilities.

I've found the best and quickest way to earn points is Endurance Sparring. It only costs $10, each round is only 30 seconds long and if you keep an eye on the bottom left of your screen, you'll see a meter registering points for every hit you make, get that up to 15,000 and then quit out of that section. You earn 50 ability points for no more than five minutes of work and can then level up your fighter.

It is all very addictive and has that classic, "just one more go" feel that hooks in gamers. One word of warning, though: if you feel that your arms are starting to ache STOP PLAYING!! Trust me on this, if you carry on your ams will feel so sore and so weak that you'll be struggling to raise them to brush your teeth the next day!

Just one other thing - this is a six year old game and, unfortunately, one of the best-sounding features is no longer available. There was something called a Fitness Mini Pack that cost around £3 (I think) that you could download, I've seen footage on YouTube and it looked great. Sadly, Sony (or whoever) have shut down that part of the servers and you can't purchase it anymore.

Despite this, this game represents a real bargain at around £4 currently on Marketplace. It gets you off the sofa, really gets you sweating, works on your strength and stamina and is just hugely enjoyable. No, there's no story to speak of and you will probably finish it in a week if you ignore my advice and just carry on playing for hours every day. But it's a fabulous fitness tool and one you can return to, I think.

You know, this could end up becoming a bit of a lost classic and Danny is simply brilliant! One of the best Move games out there and definitely worth picking up if you have two Move controllers and the Eye camera.


New 72 Piece Wheel Spoke Reflectors Mount Clip Light Tube Strips
New 72 Piece Wheel Spoke Reflectors Mount Clip Light Tube Strips
Offered by cervusbike
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, low cost and maintenance-free product that works., 25 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all, let me point out that this item is available from another Seller on Amazon for £7.99 for 36 pieces and delivery is extra. I bought exactly the same item from this Seller for £8.99 for 72 pieces with free delivery! If you're going to try it, then buy from here! They also came in two boxes of 36, identical to the ones pictured in the other listing.

With this being 72 pieces, there was enough for both wheels plus 8 left over as spares. They're very easy to fit. My method was to wipe down each spoke first (about 10 minutes), then line up each reflector on its spoke and pull it towards me until it clicked, then rotate 180 degrees so the join was on the inside (about another 10 minutes).

I also put each reflector at the end of each spoke towards the outside of the wheel; my reasoning was the centrifugal force of spinning tends to push things outwards (like in a washing machine) and they would all end up there anyway, though it's a tight fit and there's no rattling.

So, 20 minutes all in being very methodical: less time than it takes to watch a stupid soap!

I did a quick spin test at home with a torch and can verify that they do indeed create a continuous, Tron-like effect of a "solid" wheel. They're not as bright as a wheel light, but then they're also maintenance-free and require no batteries so there's no ongoing cost. And having owned and still use a rucksack that contains a similar Scotchlite exterior coating, I can confirm that it's an amazing material for bouncing light back to vehicles.

At this price they're an absolute steal and well worth trying. Obviously, they only really work once light is directed at them, but thankfully most vehicles do actually use their lights to get about at night. They add no extra weight to each wheel nor affect their balance, and are much more subtle than screaming wheel lights.

Five stars all the way and unreservedly recommended.


Electricity [DVD]
Electricity [DVD]
Dvd ~ OMD with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic OMD!, 20 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Electricity [DVD] (DVD)
Just a quick heads up to anyone thinking of buying this - it's readily available here, is new and sealed and is the cheapest price by far:

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/onlineshop/omd-concert-merchandise/omd-electricity-dvd.aspx

I ordered mine last week and it arrived within three days. The picture and sound are surprisingly good for DVD, and Paul and Andy clearly look like they are really enjoying themselves.

I understand some of the criticisms regarding over-enthusiastic audience participation and the gig does feel very different at the start compared to the end. But Andy has always been keen for people to express themselves physically and emotionally at their gigs and I don't think it was the boys' intention that the audience would just sit there silently, I think they're always looking for some sort of reaction.

To me, classical music and electronica have clear similarities - grand sweeping gestures on the one hand, a forbidding coldness on the other. The most memorable and enduring synthpop bands have always had a strong human element, with outstanding vocalists like Alison Moyet, Neil Tennant and Billie Ray Martin. Andy is both the voice and the face of OMD and it's his warmth and passion that provides their longevity, as well as their classic tunes.

Why only four stars? Well, the mix is in 5.1 and sounds pretty good on a decent system. But there were visual elements that you see on screen that you don't hear in the sound mix, like the beautiful but delicate sound of the harp being played. I think lossless on Blu Ray would sound better and more detailed. Also, there's no accompanying CD and that would probably have provided a different sound mix again with the orchestra much louder than the audience.

Despite this, it's a fabulous gig and their music holds up well to being transposed to classical instruments. "Messages", in particular, is absolutely spine-tingling. This is not an electronic gig with soaring synth lines and thumping bass, it's more of a classical performance with its own tones and textures and you have to make a readjustment in your head before it begins to make sense. But once you do it is hugely enjoyable, gloriously musical and is highly recommended.


Cuban Fury [Blu-ray] [2014]
Cuban Fury [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Nick Frost
Price: £6.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmingly average., 11 Jun. 2015
I've just been watching the Salsa Training and Video Blog clips on YouTube, and these make you realise just how much hard work went into making this film succeed in only one area - the dancing.

Nick Frost trained five days a week, six hours a day for SEVEN months so that he could learn the moves and successfully pull them off at the film's finale - yes, that really is him on the dance floor and he does a grand and convincing job of it. This sequence, plus the "dance off" with Chris O'Dowd's character and any scenes featuring the wonderful Olivia Coleman are worth the two star rating alone.

However, the basics of screenwriting: script, pacing and even any funny lines for a comedy (which is surely a prerequisite) are entirely absent. Considering the breathtaking athleticism of the dance sequences, the rest of the film moves at a snail's pace, the dialogue is entirely unmemorable and it says something about the leads that the most interesting and funny characters are the supports (Olivia Coleman, Ian McShane and Kayvan Novak - all underused).

And it pains me to write this because I think Nick Frost is a talented and funny guy, but he patently does not carry the film at all. He completely lacks screen presence, though I suggest anyone would struggle to make such a poor script come to life. It says something that Simon Pegg actually outshines him, and he's only on screen for about two seconds and has no dialogue!

Take the dancing out of this film and it is utterly forgettable. The cast is fine, the lighting, editing and set pieces work okay, but this is a huge wasted opportunity thanks to the lumpen, unmemorable script. If you want charm, laughs, convincing on-screen chemistry and fabulous dancing, then look no further than "Strictly Ballroom".

I caught this on Film 4 and am very glad I didn't buy it. My advice? Rent first.


So 80's Presents
So 80's Presents
Price: £7.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Well done Blank & Jones!, 18 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: So 80's Presents (Audio CD)
This is a neat and concise collection of 12" remixes that were previously only available on Vinyl and, therefore, quite hard to get hold of in pristine condition.

As has already been mentioned, the sound quality is really excellent and it seems care and attention has been paid throughout this project in terms of track sequencing and choices. Personally, I've always regarded OMD as a quintessential 80's band (though I know they have reformed and are writing and playing current material) so, to my ears, "Call My Name", "Sailing On The Seven Seas" and especially "Brides Of Frankenstein" are below standard and can easily be skipped without a second thought.

Looking at my 12" of "Talking Loud And Clear", it's listed as the Extended Version, but I always regarded it as two separate mixes: one absolutely gorgeous short instrumental mix and a longer vocal version. Blank & Jones could easily have just put the longer vocal version on and most people would be none the wiser, so I'm very pleased that they've included the short instrumental mix which happens to be my favourite OMD remix, even though it's less than three minutes in length!

The only downside is they've included the wrong mix of "Tesla Girls" - the original UK 12" is vastly superior to this US version, though you can get it on CD via the "Junk Culture" Deluxe Edition reissue, thankfully.

All in all, well worth getting and the music/mixes still stand up well over 30 years' later.


Moon
Moon
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The remix CD is absolutely marvellous!, 13 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Moon (Audio CD)
It's the Cocteau Twins reborn!

Personally speaking, I always thought that they were a bit of an acquired taste. I mean, what they did was unique and distinctive, but it also either resonated with you or went completely over your head. All the critics foaming at the mouth and consulting their thesauruses didn't help either - it made you feel like a bit of a philistine if you didn't agree.

I didn't like their early work at all, but thought they got better, particularly from "Heaven Or Las Vegas" onwards. I mention all this as, to my undevoted ears, this album very much sounds like a continuation of their later work if they'd carried on. But it's merely okay, probably not as spangly or ethereal as CT and maybe a bit lumpen and plodding in places. "All Wishes Are Ghosts" instantly stands out by a mile in the way it builds and takes off.

What is slightly alarming is how much Stephanie sounds like Liz Fraser. I have Stephanie's two solo albums prior to this release and her voice is much more personal and singular to her; here she mostly sings in the upper register and sounds uncannily like Liz. I don't know whether it was her decision or Simon's to do this. Maybe anyone who works with Simon automatically goes through some sort of voice wizardry and instantly sounds like Liz Fraser. Shame he didn't work with Barry White!

Anyhow, I'm giving four stars mostly for the second remix disc. I suspect that many will only ever listen to it once and never play it again, but it really is an absolute treat. It mainly consists of heavy dub excursions or beatless ambient soundscapes with snatches or fragments of vocals looped and endlessly repeated, which is right up my musical street. If you can imagine Cocteau Twins remixed by The Orb, then that would give you some idea of what to expect.

RX Gibbs, whoever that is, has done a glorious job on previously rather unmemorable tunes such as "Porcelain" and "Heart Of The Woods" taking you into the outer reaches of the musical Universe. Crucially, he/she/they also don't ruin "All Wishes Are Ghosts" and make it even more soaring and uplifting.

It's an interesting artistic decision to make to hand over your album to be reimagined in this way, because it does expose your original work's flaws and weaknesses. I actually much prefer the remix disc and would recommend getting this album purely for this, especially as it's not available on its own, just as part of the 2-disc package.


Night Light (The Remixes)
Night Light (The Remixes)
Price: £7.28

4.0 out of 5 stars A vast improvement on this band's music., 11 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you like music that is thin and lifeless with vocals that are disinterested and barely there, then this isn't the album for you.

If you look at any of the reviews on Amazon of remix compilations, they always seem to fall into one of two camps:

1. "This is terrible - just a thudding beat with hardly any semblance of the original melody and minimal vocals. I hated it!"
2. "An interesting collection of creative reinventions that expand on the original musical palette and improves them overall. Worth having!"

There's no middle ground it seems. Personally, I love remixes and reinterpretations - I'd always choose a glorious failure over mediocre success any day. And, to me, this is a glorious success so it's win-win!

Remix compilations, by their nature, tend to be very eclectic in style, mood, tempo and texture. They are very rarely consistent or one-note. They also tend to reflect the remixer far more than the artist, usually because just elements of the original music are used and they tend to be used creatively and imaginatively, though not always successfully (to some ears).

Personally, I find Au Revoir Simone utterly dispensable, unmemorable, unoriginal and inessential. But this compilation is completely riveting, enjoyable, engaging and really rather funky! There's a variety of styles to suit all tastes, some of the productions are simply outstanding with great use of mood and dynamics and the blank vocals are kept to a minimum or buried in the mix, which is definitely a good thing.

As stated before, I think this particular album is aimed at a specific audience as it is not truly representative of the band's work. In fact, it's better than that and is probably the only album of theirs you'll ever need. Plus, if you're a fan of the glorious Jen Lekman, here's yet another example of his magical musical touch via one of his rare remixes on here - worth buying for that alone!


Have Yourself a Very Kt Christmas
Have Yourself a Very Kt Christmas

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem!, 23 Jun. 2014
Okay, so this probably seems like a strange time to be listening to and reviewing a Christmas album/EP/whatever, but I like listening to Winter music in Summer and Summer music in Winter. I enjoy the contrast, doesn't everybody do that?

I hated that "cherry tree" song, still do, and I think it has clouded my judgement and appreciation of KT's work. There's always more to an artist than just one song anyway, especially if they're happy to experiment, expand, grow and develop.

This is a lovely, strangely-unheralded collection of covers ranging from the respectfully faithful ("2000 Miles", "Fairytale Of New York"), to the funnily jaunty ("Mele Kalikimaka", "Sleigh Ride") to the deeply heartbreaking ("Lonely This Christmas"), all beautifully sung and very well played, mostly by the woman herself.

I only have two complaints:

1. It's too short - 21 minutes and out.
2. Why is this only available on import, why no UK release and hence lower cost?

Apart from these, there's nothing else to grumble about here. She has slipped somewhat under the radar of late, but she's one of our best talents and seems happy to follow her own musical path now. If you're a fan and don't have this, then snap it up as it's a sheer joy from start to finish.


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