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M. J. Farnworth "beetroot" (preston)
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Chris Martin Music Canvas Art Print Poster
Chris Martin Music Canvas Art Print Poster
Offered by Dash Inc Ltd
Price: £39.99

1.0 out of 5 stars bonkers!, 16 Mar. 2012
who the 'eck would want this?? i can barely understand people liking the music. what other non iconic successful rock stars could be worse in canvas print. yes! i've thought of one- phil collins. i've given up now.


The Ribble Way: A Northern England Trail (British Long-distance Trails)
The Ribble Way: A Northern England Trail (British Long-distance Trails)
by Dennis Kelsall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful guide, 6 Mar. 2012
The Ribble Way is a well marked path as it is. However this book is useful because in certain places the detailed directions do provide that extra assurance as a guide. A common occurrence in particular is knowing which direction to cross fields or moors.

I feel the 3 star review elsewhere was rather critical but I can see how the small size of the text can be an issue. Though the book is a neat pocket size as it should be. I found it easy to follow and the historical and geographical aspects of the walk described between the text on directions provides an appreciable context to the walk. Personally I have limited interest in the local history but I think most walkers would want to know something and put some definition of the areas passed through.

The book provides succinct info related to planning the walk (divided into 7 sections). I suspect the book could do with revising at some point hopefully by the time of the new bridge over the River Douglas gets built which would add a further section to the walk.


The Art Of The 12 Inch Volume 2
The Art Of The 12 Inch Volume 2
Price: £11.59

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound follow up, 3 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This follow up is of similar quality to Vol 1. Music that sounds like it cost a million pounds to make. Monumental, experimental,conceptual and hi gloss pop could describe many of ZTT's greatest hits.

And so Frankie, Art of Noise and Propaganda return. Intriguigingly 2 previously unreleased mixes of AON by 808 State effectively demonstrate a a continuity of textural and sonic sounds of ZTT from the 80s into the 90s. Relative obscurites Anne Pigalle and Instinct make welcome reappearances- acts that would've been hits in a righteous/alternative universe. Vol. 2 has it's fair share of rarites just as Vol 1. This is an excellent compilation yet perhaps not boding well for a further volume if the familiarity of some of the material is anything to go by.

The gargantuan 15 minute Two Tribes (Keep The Peace) mix is excellent but feels like the final word on all its remixes . A holy grail incorporating previous remixes into one elongated track. Likewise does any need a "special instrumental" remix of Dr Mabuse? Is there anymore more Dr Mabuse mixes in the vaults. It's the masterpiece sounding exactly as described but a slightly superfluous addition to the ZTT Catalogue.

There's rare remixes involving ZTT associates involvement of artists not on the label.On paper OMD and Paul McCartney seem incongruous in these surroundings yet fit pretty well into the bigger picture.-strange but enticing remodellings of pretty conventional songs that wouldn't fit in on a vast number of boring, predictable 80s compilations. The inclusion of Scritti Politti Absolute (Version) is itself a moot point. A devastating HI NRG influenced white funk classic, sure, but has previously appeared on numerous compilations.

Despite some slight reservations -this is up there with the first volume. More than deserving of being revived/restored to CD quality. Sumptuous/pretentious quality pop rarely equalled.


Vulnerabilia
Vulnerabilia
Offered by usnap
Price: £3.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Schizophrenia, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Vulnerabilia (Audio CD)
. The themes on Vulnerabilia (the title suggests a concept) relate to simple everyday mundanity and towards drug addiction and much in between. But this is not an indulgently bleak album. Comparing well with the classic work of New Order or Happy Mondays before them this is a very literal body of work- lyrics that don't echo -rather ram down the throat the despondency of a life with no outlook somewhere in Manchester and musically the feel of the stamp of locality and its roots.

On it's own terms it's an audacious record and despite the duo's origins doesn't sound much like the aforementioned bands or for that matter anything like Stone Roses who's producer John Leckie is involved here. And whereas Manchester bands tended to fuse sounds most notably deft beats to melancholic hooks this dramatically veers from styles from opposite ends of the spectrum to the other in a schizophrenic fashion. Perhaps most obviously on Magic Bus -one moment a quality techno stomp gives way to evocative classical piano then to 50's sci- fi theremin sounds in it's dramatic conclusion. Preposterous - it shouldn't work but it seems, almost organic.

The guy who worked at Action Records wanted to listen to this but unfortunately for him I bought the last of what was likely few copies, - it (the record) deserved a better fate. Yet significant sales success, seemed ludicrous given the gloomy demeanour and lo- fi production- Unpolished, even rustic the joins in this album are laid bare. In short one of the astonishing/underrated albums of the last ten years.


A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
Price: £8.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful., 17 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This record still sounds ahead of it's time. ABC and Scritti around 84/85- Astute use Fairlights and endless tinkering in the studio where technological advancements aroused creative possibilities and music that will date well. Cupid and Zillionaire have more than made their mark.

Secret Wish is another matter. It's conception of creative divisions and gestation are remarkable and make's a good short read in the linear notes but perhaps it's best not too analyse too much.

But in one way it's great that this was the only real Propaganda album (1234 being part of the bigger picture) as the sequenced build up, from the edgy calmness of "A Dream Within A Dream" to rising tension throughout and towards the Masterpiece Dr. Mabuse feels complete- a (No 27 in 1984)- A hit for those days and all the more remarkably, a distinct in synth pop terms (81-84) the greatest hit that doesn't have a chorus, and along with "Duel" are contenders as the most dynamic in terms of voluptuous and exciting remodellings of the 80s'.(remixes seems an unsatifactory term in this context). Disc 2 retains the quality- each remodel feels like a necessary addition to the oeuvre.

The fact is this album hasn't dated and Secret Wish given the financial expense of its production and creative/artistic mutation is something that sadly seems unlikely to be repeated seldom or soon.

Did Propaganda implode too soon? ABC and Frankie as Trevor Horn produced artists, strived forward, with variable results, Propaganda made their statement and (effectively) that was that -almost too perfect.


Factory Records: Communications 1978-92 (Standard)
Factory Records: Communications 1978-92 (Standard)
Price: £26.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job., 15 Mar. 2011
This is an excellent compilation which reeks and an alternative universe of different hits happened some time ago. There's a satisfaction in digging through substantial, and frequently subversive works of also rans. The turnover of bands unsigned (he he) by Factory is suggested here although i'm sure that aficionados or (ahem) snobs will have preferred some other obscure tracks/artists to appear.

This is a justifiable view. And perhaps to state the obvious this compilation would have truly fulfilled its purpose if it had leaned a little less on too many classic but familiar tracks by the Factory big three and only once or twice there's relief, when listened in sequence to get to a more "commercially appealing" tune.

Meanwhile and curiously, James and OMD, often forgotten in their association in retrospect fit quite neatly into the Factory canon if only for the endearing minimalistic production values.

The physical size, and style of the boxset,itself is to be commended as more condensed, wieldly and sturdy than the Heart And Soul or Retro boxsets, for two. Such issues often ignored or underrated with boxsets(!),

Overall, for reasons already given- near perfection.


Stridulum II
Stridulum II

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid!, 3 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stridulum II (Audio CD)
Siouxsie, Nico, doom laden and teutonic hooks Depeche Mode would be proud of. Who is Zola Jesus? I don't care much and what the exact influences are.

Tantilising, striking, neo-goth vocal dramatics and waves of heavy textures this is masterful and just right at 9 tracks short. Don't the best records make their point more quickly? I hope that it will be bettered in a follow up only because it doesn't quite feel like the masterpiece that the above artists have achieved. A slight notch up in the tune and hook quality and not masking them with too many ethereal noises is the key. Maybe i'm being picky.

Either way this SOUNDS (expletive) great. A revolt against money churning and insipid pop/soul divas. Zola Jesus could yet be one of the most acclaimed artists of this decade. Already being in the know I don't give one!


Tomorrow, In A Yea
Tomorrow, In A Yea
Offered by Side Two
Price: £13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars "Challenging", 1 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tomorrow, In A Yea (Audio CD)
This album doesn't take many times to appreciate it (like another review states here). Highly crafted, and original juxtapositions,( for want of a better word)) of bleak electronic minimal soundscapes, recalling 90's WARP techno, and the embryonic bleakness of 70's Cabaret Voltaire, but when combined with high octane operatic vocals a compelling yet disorientating effect occurs. Tomorrow In a A Day is sometimes stark and astonishing.

The Knife, to say the least, are evidently not a band inclined to repeat themselves. In this collaborative effort a need to strive for originality feels definite. But over the course, while the momentum, ebbs, flows, build's it's a bit too long and eventually the compelling queasy anticipation that the music strives for is diluted by elongation. Next time bring the reigns in a bit or do a follow up to Silent Shout.


Eurocentric
Eurocentric

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the posthumous releases., 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Eurocentric (Audio CD)
Eurocentric has a more coherent feel than predecessor, Beyond The Sun. That album felt like a fine postscript drawing from all musical projects of the label less Mackenzie's mid 90s period. This album draws prominently on the spirit of the early eighties Associates heyday on Hornophobic, -skyscraper guitars over a frenetic techno/jungle beats and oblique lyrics. 14th Century Nightlife is demented and hectic. The louche, Liberty Lounge reimagines some lost Roxy Music classic.

Steve Aungle may well have been his most "in tune" collaborator since Alan Rankine. Somehow though in the distant future Eurocentric will sound more dated than Sulk due to it's 90s inflected production. Perhaps a more voluptuous sound (a la Boris Blank would've have raised Eurocentric a couple of notches even further). A moot point but, for me one reason why this is not "5 stars"

The latter, ballad tracks, are if not more high octane, as stately but less intimate or sparse than those on Beyond The Sun. And is the version of Wild Is The Wind is the equal of Bowies's? Investigate for yourself!

Either way, a close run thing with The Glamour Chase for the best post Sulk release.


Dave Gahan: Depeche Mode & The Second Coming
Dave Gahan: Depeche Mode & The Second Coming
by Trevor Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unofficial biog, 25 Nov. 2010
The premise of this book is a little shaky especially given that the blurb focuses on Gahan as an enigmatic figure and who arguably overshadows the rest of the band- something he only really did on a personal basis in the "junkie" years. While Gahans role in the band is untenable and can't be underestimated- his story as a performer is largely inseparable from the band itself. The claim of Gahan as an enigma is not played out significantly and a questionable proposition on this evidence- a slightly cynical attempt at differentiation in the title from what could easily have been titled as a Depeche biog. Steve Malin's Stripped biog about the band is a better read and covers much of what's contained although Baker is more extensive in his research to a commendable level- albeit with a fairly simplistic and clunky writing style. Just about a decent read but a slightly misleading title.


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