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Charles Butt "Charlie B" (London, England)

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Night Walks
Night Walks
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking debut, 19 April 2012
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This review is from: Night Walks (Audio CD)
I believe Hidden Orchestra's Joe Acheson is a rare talent. His production - this album - is a work of great insight and love, and as such falls easily into the listen on repeat category. The CD is more a journey than an album, as the title suggestions, into the realm of the night, possibly out of the city through the rain into the cold, dark wilderness. Nature's elements are beautifully woven throughout this album but in subtle and ingenious ways. Wetland warblers morph into scratch beats. Glockenspiel becomes raindrop. Or does it? Its up to you. Instruments compliment nature beautifully, such as the string crescendo after the beautiful song of the wren on The Windfall for instance, cultivating an image of a beautiful spring morning overlooking a partially sun-lit English garden.

I also love how the cello is given a starring role in various solo appearances, and how unlikely heroes appear throughout; french horns and cornets beguile. The range of instruments and their employment alongside natural samples offers intrigue throughout. I've no idea what a kantele, zither or low whistle look like but it all adds to the interest. New instruments are discovered on repeated listens.

Some of the tracks have so many complex layers of sound its hard to keep track of whats going on, even with a keen ear and a decent stereo but thats not a bad thing. Better to sit back, listen and enjoy than try to over-analyse. One eventually becomes immersed in wonderful, building, flowing soundscapes, perhaps a bit like clouds lifting and re-forming around the dark and beautiful Sound of Mull on the title cover.

Potential listeners may be aware of other great bands out there ending '... Orchestra' and wonder what Hidden Orchestra bring to the fold. I think Hidden Orchestra has a unique style and has found its own worthy ecological niche through the fusion of nature, complex rhythms and rich and involving soundscapes. Highly recommended.

DJ Kicks
DJ Kicks
Price: £9.19

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for the Hot Flush fans, 2 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: DJ Kicks (Audio CD)
DJ-Kicks has an established reputation profiling cutting edge DJs and producers and putting forward high quality mixtapes. Judging by the releases on Scuba's Hot Flush label and some of the mixes hes compiled in the past and what with this being the famous DJ-Kicks series, this album was eagerly anticipated. A stonking 32 tracks in 76mins. But this does mean there is barely a moment to pause for breath.

It is a seamless mix from start to finish. Theres no question it has been very precisely put together with clinical technique, but I feel this has come at the cost of soul. Don't get me wrong it is a very good mix peppered with some belting releases. Highlights include Arkists's 'Rendez-Vous' and this seems to me where the mix really picks up. However the best (I think) is saved for last; Scuba's euphoric 'Adrenalin,' with the volume cranked its capable of sending shivers down the spine! :) Weirdness award goes to Sex Worker's 'Rhythm of the Night'; the vocalist sounds like a demented seal after a good case of mercury poisoning. But at least this gives an opportunity to dwell. Whereas the rest of the mix seems to move so quickly and cleanly between tracks you don't get a chance to appreciate progression or individual talent.

Die hard fans of Hot Flush and other leading labels will not be disappointed. This is a really good mix showcasing some of the hottest talent in bass music at the moment. But in age of ubiquitous free, quality podcasts and online mixes, DJ-Kicks productions and the like have got to stand out from the crowd. For me the mix moves a bit too quickly for any of the talent to shine or to really get into it, which is why its a three rather than a four out of five. That said, and speaking as a big bass music fan, I do really enjoy it and I'm glad I bought it; I'm already on my fifth+ listen.

Price: £7.84

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Next generation beats, 15 Jun. 2009
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This review is from: Drop (Audio CD)
Deep, melodic and soulful aren't adjectives commonly associated with drum n bass but depth, melody and soul are to me what this album is about.

The opening track sets the tone with warm, uplifting synths drawing the listener in, topped off with a killer vocal.

To the seasoned raver the track names suggest a familiar theme, and listening to this album is certainly an uplifting experience.

Theres a few innovative gems too. For instance the use of a windscreen wiper sample (Wipe your tears) to create a really fresh, dubstep sound, I think is not only clever but indicative of an intelligent, boundary-pushing producer. The fusion of guitars and dnb breaks on 'Damage'is done with a sophistication that, in my view, transcends that which has already been done by the likes of Pendulum, and dare I say it, The Prodigy (and thats coming from a long-standing Prodigy fan!)

Be prepared to be surprised, pleasantly surprised by this album. Although many will recognise the majority of the tracks here as drum n bass, I think its both too narrow and too broad a genre to constrain this album. Boundary-pushing seems more appropriate.

Wicked opener, I look forward to more material from this geez...

More Than Alot
More Than Alot
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.98

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A veritable musical feast, 14 Dec. 2008
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This review is from: More Than Alot (Audio CD)
After listening to this album for the umpteenth time, I've come to realise that its more than just a grower, its the musical equivalent of out-of-control japanese knotweed: it keeps on growing.

I wouldn't like to pigeon-hole it in to one particular genre, though clearly the currents of Drum 'n' Bass and Dubstep flow deep, and fans of either will be delighted by what's on offer.

OK so most of the album is Drum 'n' Bass. But to say so risks understating the obvious imagination thats gone into each of the tracks. Also the line-up on offer makes this album worth a look in its own right. Kano's rhymes are tight on the uptempo/hip-hop flavoured 'Against all Odds'. Plan B spits venomous lyrics and delivers enticing vocals (presumably the vocals are also his?), on what could be the album's standout track; 'Pieces'.

For fans of Drum 'n' Bass one or two tracks might be overly familiar, having been around a while (you'll know which these are). 'Music Club' is a fairly cheeky number. However having heard 'Music Club' on C&S's BBC Radio1 Essential Mix, (possibly the best EM of 2008), for some reason I thought it was either purely instrumental or incorporated the brooding lyrics of the following track on the Mix by Concept 2, neither of which is the case. Personally 'Music Club' was a bit of a let down (only because I got my wires crossed though!).

The final track leaves you wanting more; an astonishing ripping bassline balanced magically against subtle vocals that laments a failing relationship. I don't want to say too much more about the individual tracks but the bass on 'Smash TV' is earthquake inducing...

Overall, the sound and feel of the album is sharp and crisp and the production is tight throughout.

This album is a banger. Don't take my word for it though check it out for yourself.

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age
Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age
by Matthew Brzezinski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling account of the rapid post WWII arms race, 15 Oct. 2008
Red Moon Rising offers an exciting, cross-genre account of the events that gave birth to the space age.

The unable-to-put-down factor for me is the style the book is written in; it has all the elements of a cold war thriller, its is Le Carre-esque. And as someone with a fervent interest in science and history, this book neatly combines the two in an accessible manner. Its unlikely that the dialogue within each of the protagonists' respective camps in the book was captured by many, if any historians. However the book appears to be well researched, leading to the assumption that this was in fact the way that business was conducted by the two superpowers at this time.

Because of the clever way that fact and fiction is interlaced in this book, it simultaneously fascinates and educates - though be careful not get the two mixed up.

If you have an interest in military history, rocket science, the space race or simply enjoy a good thriller then this book is for you.

This Was Supposed To Be The Future
This Was Supposed To Be The Future
Price: £23.56

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant classic, 19 July 2007
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I rarely write articles for Amazon, ; a) an album is exceptionally bad and i feel cheated out my money, or b) if an album is so exceptionally blinding that I feel compelled to instruct the masses to follow suit and purchase. The latter being the case for this album.

Its a tour de force from the beginning, with Dynamite MC setting the tone with some sharp spitting on 'Blood fire'. I'm not usually a reggae fan but the production on the reggae-sounding tracks is scintillating. 'The Drop' is a really interesting funky summery flavour, backed by the funky horns of Fat Freddy's Drop's finest, a track you'll be itching to groove to. Various sounds are explored in this album keeping the listener interested throughout. Followers of Rae & Christian's 'Grand Central' label will be able to identify some familiar elements to some of the finest work produced on the label in tracks such as 'Did no wrong', but don't get me wrong, this album still sounds fresh! This is an album destined to be listened to over and over again.

This was supposed to be the future is rounded off beautifully with the title track, featuring some absolutely gorgeous vocals. This is set to be the soundtrack of my summer (if you can call it summer!), if not the year.

Very very impressed.

Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins
by P. William Davis
Edition: Textbook Binding
Price: £19.43

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not, and should not be treated as science. This is not a scientific text., 19 Dec. 2006
This is one of the books responsible in the US for trying to usurp the teaching of science (evolution), with the pseudoscience of creationism, (re-branded as Intelligent Design). Religious dogma of the kind being promulgated in this title is not scientific theory and should not be treated as such. Time and time again the fictitious tripe cited in this book has been unable to stand up to the scientific method because it is not science. The teaching of creationism as science, aka ID, is potentially a greater threat to the classroom than chronic underfunding. If you are going to purchase this insidious nonsense then please don't burn it, but do the sensible thing and EXPOSE these frauds, by appreciating the chronic limitations of their 'arguments' for creationism as a science. Ridiculous nonsense. If you are inclined to believe the universe revolves around the earth, the earth is flat, 12,000 years old and created in 7 days then please indulge yourself.

Back To Mine: Liam Prodigy
Back To Mine: Liam Prodigy
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.83

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another belter from Liam Prodigy, 4 Feb. 2006
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As a long-time Prodigy-fan, naturally I was keen to see what tracks Liam (THE Prodigy) has thrown together, for a series which has long been an intriguing delve into each artist's tastes, roots, influences.
This mix is an insight into some of the influences and perhaps inspirations of the man behind The Prodigy. Its a roller-coaster of a compilation, that grabs your attention from the Prodigy’s belting intro and keeps you interested with every track, right to the end. The “mixing” of tracks is lacking, but this is largely irrelevant given the nature of the CD; the focus being on the track selection rather than the mixing itself. And my what a selection! ‘Chase the devil’ is a real surprise for those who haven’t heard it already, and Prodigy’s remix of Method Man’s ‘Release yo ‘Delf’ is quite possibly one of the best remixes i’ve heard, of anything, ever. But don’t buy it for that, buy it because its one of the most interesting and exciting compilations that been released of late. So what are you waiting for? You’re still reading. Go, go on... go buy!
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