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Paul Rayson

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Caseling Hard Case Travel Bag For "Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Portable Wireless Speaker" - And for the "Bose Mini II" - Fits the Wall Charger, Charging Cradle. Fits with the Bose Silicone Soft Cover.
Caseling Hard Case Travel Bag For "Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Portable Wireless Speaker" - And for the "Bose Mini II" - Fits the Wall Charger, Charging Cradle. Fits with the Bose Silicone Soft Cover.
Offered by York Sales.
Price: £11.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The best Bose Soundlink Mini II case available, 12 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The best Bose Soundlink Mini II case - a sturdy, well-made thing and the ideal size - in perfect condition and at a great price. (My housemate has Bose's own case. Looks great, doesn't offer as much protection, can't hold all the parts.) Arrived super fast too. Thanks so much!

Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker II - Pearl
Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker II - Pearl
Price: £149.79

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Meandering Review Of A Little Speaker, 3 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fairly long and meandering anecdotal review that might be of help to those concerned with the sound quality of the Bose Soundlink Mini II particularly in terms of bass, its character and place in the overall sound, and you've already guessed from the star rating it's a love letter to the speaker.

I always thought my ideal setup would be one of those old, Japanese, silver-fronted wooden amplifiers from the late 1970s and a big complementary pair of contemporary speakers, so that's what I bought. The problem was I didn't really have the room to suit it. What I have now, a pair of near-field monitor speakers, is better with the rest of my setup. I use my computer and an audio interface to play, in an average-sized room, lossless files. I decided I'd rather have speakers that erred on the side of a midrange hump over unnatural bass that annoys neighbours, and I love the detail these desktop speakers give.

However, I also want to be able to relax and listen to music in other scenarios, other rooms. I want the freedom that a portable speaker affords. Unreasonably, to contrast with my monitors I also want a rich, weighty sound.

The Bose Soundlink Mini II has clarity, yet tremendous warmth, thanks to bass that seems impossibly weighted given the unit's size. It's an incredible trick. The low-end is honestly more impressive than you'd imagine from such a small speaker.

As you'd expect, the laws of physics tend to contradict big-sound claims that manufacturers of portable speakers make: it follows only a big speaker will do if you want a big sound. The Bose Soundlink Mini II somehow does project a big, rich sound, though. Still, the dimensions help ensure that bass doesn't come across as unwieldy.

A substantial construction - it's the most solid and weighty example relative to its tiny size - must be part of the trick to this incredible projection. I'm not usually a fan of Bose, the image, the design, the artificial sound. The Soundlink Mini II looks better than usual, at least - pleasingly simple, and to the touch it's better than any portable speaker I've handled.

It's the weighty organic sound, though, that's something else. Clarity is a shock; the lack of precision that warmth does bring is largely positive, reminiscent of old analogue setups. Yeah you hear a compression algorithm in action at times but again, the punchy effect makes a fine contrast to my monitors at least, and it does all combine to remind me of vinyl mastering.

The Bose Soundlink Mini II is full-on fun. It handles all kinds of music at least well, but it's more suited to acoustic and electric instrumentation than to digital. It's a luxurious, natural depth, yes evocative of those old wooden hi-fis, ingeniously scaled.

PS Bluetooth isn't much of a selling point to me. Quality jumps markedly when you use the aux port. Even if it were Bluetooth aptX, I'd still use a cable. (I use the Bose Soundlink Mini II mostly with an iPod Classic, playing 320 kbit/s MP3s. I plug the Bose into my desktop computer other times, where I play FLACs, or into my laptop.)

COOLEAD-External USB 3.0 Aluminum Blu-Ray Combo DVD-RW Writer Burner Optical Drive - Silver
COOLEAD-External USB 3.0 Aluminum Blu-Ray Combo DVD-RW Writer Burner Optical Drive - Silver
Offered by COOLEAD
Price: £31.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Value For Money, 12 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I managed to rip two CDs without trouble before it broke completely.

My Bloody Valentine's Loveless
My Bloody Valentine's Loveless

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For The Love Of Loveless, 28 Aug. 2014
I disagree with the reviews that charge the author with first-person egotism. He's comfortable, in fact, portraying himself as an unglamorous music dork. Regardless, he tells a great story of the great music.

Kevin Shields comes across in the interviews as the archetypal artist and all that implies, both positively and negatively. He relates how one intention was for Loveless, within certain parameters, to sound markedly different on different sound systems. That certainly helps explain why I go out of my way, more than any other music, to play it on as many stereos as possible. Talking of stereo, the album is mostly mono. Shields celebrates the exoticism of mono midrange, and never has a record so effectively kicked against approved ideas of taste: Loveless resolutely eschews those conventional ploys of heightened bass, heightened treble and exaggerated stereo separation.

The book emphasises the literal poverty at the time that My Bloody Valentine recorded the album, which gives a compelling reason for all those studios, all those delays. Kevin and Colm Ó Cíosóig (the drummer, who later partnered with Hope Sandoval for the Warm Inventions) were homeless. Creation Records refused to help Colm with a deposit for a bedsit. Alan McGee had to pay studio time, though, and even those cheap studios gave them somewhere to go and some food at least. But surely the answer was simple. The best way to help lift the band out of poverty was just to finish the album. Yet Kevin was adamant that Loveless above all had to have as organic a sound as possible, and the only way to achieve that was to let it happen as organically as possible. The author seems to tell the story of the album, and to view the album itself, ultimately in spiritual terms. He's a true believer and, as long as you read the book on its own terms, you'll only love Loveless all the more.

Wivenhoe Park
Wivenhoe Park
Price: £5.35

5.0 out of 5 stars The true protagonist of Wivenhoe Park is the music scene, 25 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Wivenhoe Park (Kindle Edition)
I read Wivenhoe Park quickly - it's that kind of addictive read - and instantly missed it. The autobiographical novel deals with an American who decides to study in England in order to witness what turns out to be the heyday of the indie music scene.

The book celebrates that scene from the chapter headings, right down to its soul. It's an affirmative and faithful story of sex, drugs and rock & roll. It's honest, human and funny, an exploration of love and trust. The prose is clean and the author has a good ear for English speech. It's endearing and captures the endless cool of the music perfectly.

Wivenhoe Park features such highlights as:
* Early encounters with Primal Scream, Madchester and more.
* The best description of throwing up out of a car you'll read.
* The most accurate description of townie nightclub fertility rituals you'll read.

It's a celebration of Psychocandy and all else great about the scene, with details from Sister Ray Records to Spacemen 3. It has style notes that reveal the time and the people, from the cheesy GQ fashions of 1980s mainstream Italians to the tired spiky-haired punk costumes of a disenfranchised English subculture. Wivenhoe Park is the most loving kind of novel about growing up, and in the best setting: a revolution of musical experimentation against 1980s drabness. I dislike reductive terms such as "coming-of-age novel", in fact. It's more than that. It's about friendship and betrayal, and dreams, and more.


"I think the key is to stay connected to something creative."

"Life is full of moments that you want to hold on to forever."

Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars About as good/bad as the covers albums but in an electronic pop way, 18 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Sun (Audio CD)
I always dismissed Cat Power, from the bits I'd heard, as too slight, twee, until I'd heard "The Greatest" enough. It was a good listen. It prompted me to give the albums a proper go, and it turned out I enjoyed most of them. The covers records were the exceptions, which did sound too slight, twee, and this attempt to incorporate an electronic sound falls on the same score. That's just, like, my opinion of course. If you liked the covers albums then there's a good chance you'll like this.

Ticket Crystals
Ticket Crystals

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Just Fall For The Usual Line, 3 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Ticket Crystals (Audio CD)
People tend to say two things in particular about Bardo Pond: they make great music to play round a campfire, and the vocals are too loud on this album. Well, the first sounds entirely plausible at least. OK, it's true that the vocal volume is unusual for a Bardo Pond album. You'll have to go elsewhere if you want to hear their more typical levels. I even agree that other records, with submerged voice, sound better. This album is still great though (all of them are great, in fact), and it's a good thing it sounds different. Moreover, and contrary to the usual line, Isobel's voice surely suits the music beautifully to all but the most stuffy ears.

OK, it's just my opinion. Perhaps you'll disagree. Don't just feel the need to fall for the usual lines, that's all.

Old Ideas
Old Ideas
Price: £5.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Proper Leonard Cohen Album At Last?, 7 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Old Ideas (Audio CD)
This review will address the big question: is Old Ideas a proper Leonard Cohen album like The Future, his last (20 years ago) great effort? The only thing on the two studio albums subsequent to The Future that matched any of his highs was "In My Secret Life", deceptive opener to 2001's Ten New Songs. That track had rinky-dink instrumentation and eternal truth in just the right combination, the kind that floored listeners of the album I'm Your Man.

It's of course silly to complain that Laughing Len sings about death too much. Death is one of the life forces of poetry, Leonard's other great line of work. Death is an understandable preoccupation of almost all art, and just about every kind of music apart from the fluffiest pop consciously drenches itself in it. So, that Cohen studies the process and ideas of death is unremarkable in itself.

The old ham has been closing down, ageing and dying with particular vigour for nearly quarter of a century, though. It's a paradoxically sincere shtick, and it began in earnest with "I Can't Forget" and "Tower Of Song".

Death is closer than ever. Leonard Cohen has had to come out of retirement for Old Ideas and these poetic last throes are, in line with the natural order of things, more real than ever.

How well put are the goodbyes on Old Ideas, though, given that Leonard Cohen said them all a few times a long time ago, eased himself into retirement, artistically said hello to death, all that? Do "Going Home" and what follows make for a curious encore?

Leonard Cohen is markedly paradoxical. His lavish humility tells you he's long sustained a tremendous ego. If he leaks self-aggrandisement in the studio, he does so most in his penchant for anthems. A couple turn up on Old Ideas. The problem with "Show Me The Place" and "Come Healing" is if anything musical rather than lyrical. It's OK, understandable. Anthems and hymns involve a precarious bit of magic to work fully. Think of the rinky-dink form, in terms of the accompaniment and the word, of "Hallelujah", one of last century's great hymns.

Old Ideas is overwhelmingly easy to accept all in all. The accompaniment is natural. More important, Leonard Cohen does what you're supposed to do, takes the old to make it new. Most important, the ideas that he manages to make new are several of the wisest, as well as the oldest, that we have.

This review is too long already. I'd rather you find the magic in "Amen", "Darkness", "Crazy To Love You" and all the others yourself anyway. I just wanted to help point you in the right direction: Old Ideas is as good as any great Leonard Cohen album. You have nothing to fear if that's what you want, you have exactly that to love. I trust you know how much a great Leonard Cohen album means, how dearly to hold something like that.

Now I Got Worry
Now I Got Worry
Price: £13.82

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commercial Backslide, 28 July 2010
This review is from: Now I Got Worry (Audio CD)
Orange, from 1994, had been The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's biggest seller. What they followed it up with two years later, though, almost guaranteed a commercial backslide. It still had the distorted funk of the previous album, but they'd turned up the chaos.

The extra tracks on this reissue make a kind of alternate Now I Got Worry. The more sedate grooves represent the direction that market forces would've expected after Orange. They're made up of B-sides and other songs from the Worry sessions, together with four hilarious radio adverts for the album ("let the Blues Explosion give you two kinds of love").

Money Mark had turned up here and there on Now I Got Worry as a kind of Nicky Hopkins to the Blues Explosion's Rolling Stones, especially on "Can't Stop". He's on half of the extra songs, though, and his contribution to the alternate vision of Now I Got Worry is in line with his previous work. He'd already worked with The Dust Brothers as well as the Beastie Boys, and he'd released his own album, the easy listening lo-fi funk Money's Keyboard Repair.

The liner notes describe how the Blues Explosion became close to the keyboardist when they supported a Beastie Boys arena tour, and another collaborator in fact is Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, who scratches cool samples over "Cool Vee". The previously unreleased "Roosevelt Hotel Blues", meanwhile, features both Money Mark and Beck on keyboards. It all helps make a seriously great bonus album. Now I Got Worry proper is the best, though. It's like the radio advert says, "shake it baby, shake it mama, shake it, shake it."

"But baby don't break it."

Controversial Negro
Controversial Negro

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial Caucasians, 5 July 2010
This review is from: Controversial Negro (Audio CD)
The official Controversial Negro used to be available only in Japan. It was out in 1997 and recorded the year before in Tuscan, Arizona, although the nine songs at the end of this reissue are from 1994. Promo versions had a cool Mick Jagger cover, but they had to replace that when Mick Jagger said so. They replaced him with an ape. The cover of the reissue, which preserves the Japan design, is still pretty cool.

A record of the Blues Explosion in concert is vital. The outtakes and alternate versions of songs, say, on Mo' Width or the Now I Got Worry reissue testify that the band are in an ongoing conversation with rock & roll. A conventional studio album catches only part of the conversation. Collaborations such as those with R.L. Burnside get another side of it, of course. A live version of a song, though, expands more on what they're talking about, and sometimes it's dirtier.

The "hits" are in the set ("Afro", "Bellbottoms", "Flavor"). The show-stopper "Blues X Man" is in the set. The liner notes, as with those for the Dirty Shirt Rock 'N' Roll compilation and Now I Got Worry reissue, are filled with insight and diverse detail (hardware info: they used vintage Music Mann and Sunn amplifiers!). The theremin is in full effect. Enjoy the show.

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