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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best this decade., 12 Mar 2006
This review is from: Blemish (Audio CD)
I can see why many long-term Sylvian fans might be somewhat disgusted with this release, but coming at it from a different angle (ie- a love of electronica/improv and avant-songwriters such as Scott Walker and late period Talk Talk) its a totally different story! The thing that is most striking here is the sheer anger and fury in some of these songs, but one which is hidden behind fractured instrumental backdrops and easy crooned vocals. This discrepency creates a genuine sense of emotional complexity, which given the largely bitter subject matter (divorce and long term relationship break-up) makes a lot of sense. Whilst the late Derek Bailey's contributions at first appear ugly and atonal, the way in which Sylvian reponds and actually creates (relatively) cohesive songs around them is an impresive achievement in itself. But the real treasures here are the title track and "The Only Daughter". Whilst the former seethes with electronic rage, the latter is calming glitch-ambient. Lyrically these tracks are certainly Sylvian on top form, the best lyric being "her heart's a foreign place, I visited for a while, and although I tried to please her, she came at night and stole my visa..." Five stars.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark piece., 16 Jun 2003
This review is from: Glass:Akhnaten (Audio CD)
Although some have argued that by this juncture in his career Philip Glass was beginning to repeat himself creatively, this opera still has many points of merit. The use of percussion on some movements lifts the music from standard arpeggiated Glass minimalism, and some of the near falsetto singing in the later movements is often extremely beautiful indeed. However, by the end of the piece the over-familiarity of both the working methods of Glass and the repitition of themes does become a little wearing. But, of course, if you are a Glass afficianado, repitition is almost the very purpose of the thing, and this expansive, ambitious work is rewarding enough.

The Idiot
The Idiot
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Price: 5.00

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb murky arty classic., 26 Nov 2002
This review is from: The Idiot (Audio CD)
Completely different to any album Iggy attempted before or after, "The Idiot" is a testament to two fine rock musicians working together at the top of their of their game. Iggy expands on the darkly debauched crooning style of vocals which had cropped up before with The Stooges ("Dirt", "I Need Somebody") but here the material really suits it. The other Bowie/Pop "Berlin" albums, "Low", "Heroes", and "Lust For Life" are all to some extent influenced by their grim yet inspiring European setting, but none more so than "The Idiot" which reeks of Kraftwerk and Krautrock on the one hand, but also older Germnaic music like the songs of Brecht and Weil and the Weimar republic.
"Sister Midnight" opens the album with messed up funk and tripping guitars chiming in the background as Iggy recounts a Freudian nightmare similar in theme to The Doors' "The End".
"Nightclubbing" is lobotomised Kurt Weil drug pop, blank and vampiric as Iggy and Bowie leer out of the mists of Berlin on a night on the town.
"Funtime" is almost childish, but at the same time driving and desperate, implying that Iggy's having absolutely no fun at all. Creepy in many ways, with echoing syndrum beats and massively reverbed vocals.
"Baby" is more soft and romantic, but dark and continues the European theme of the album very nicely as Pop implores "Baby, please stay young..."
"China Girl" is probably the highpoint of side one, and is vastly superior to Bowie's later remake. Another desperate love song, but this time epic in its scope, featuring synths, massive guitar solos, the full deal. Anthemic and bleak.
"Dum Dum Boys" opens side two, and features a titanic riff, which continues throughout the song's duration, and its autobiographical content makes it an essential bridge between the arty agenda of "The Idiot" and what happened to his former bandmates from The Stooges.
"Tiny Girls" is possibly the weakest track on the album, but it still sits relatively well amongst its superior bedfellows, and is a sentimental though grim tune based around The Ig's paranoia over a girlfriend.
"Mass Production" is the masterpiece of the second side, and is possibly the best "song" on the entire album. Massively long, and the most experimental tune, it also features Iggy's most desolate and hard hitting lyrics: both musically and lyrically the song is about the metaphor between life and industrial mass proiduction. Centring around the line "Though I try to die, you put me back on the line" it focusses on the emptiness in one relationship being replaced with another almost exactly the same "yeah she's almost like you, and I'm almost like him...."
Of all the Bowie/Pop Berlin albums, this and "Low" are the best, and I think all in all this is a grotesquely neglected classic, lyrically, musically, thematically. And a very influential album too, as listening to it certainly reminds of the dark, icy sonics of post punk acts such as Joy Division (and not merely because Joy Division singer Ian Curtis committed suicide whilst this record played).
Unquestionably recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2009 6:30 AM BST

Lust For Life
Lust For Life
Price: 6.92

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iggy's pop album. And its a damn good one., 26 Nov 2002
This review is from: Lust For Life (Audio CD)
There is no overarching theme to this album, and it is not as aggresively driven as Iggy's work with The Stooges, or as murkily arty and compelling as his first solo album, "The Idiot", although like that album the majority of music here is also written by David Bowie. Luckily though, this is Bowie in his greatest period, and perhaps Iggy too, as this album is a classic.
The first five songs are near perfect sleaze driven slightly european sounding rock, all tight funky drums and twisting guitars, and fantastically langerous, crooning, shrieking desperate, sexual vocals from Iggy.
Side two of the album fares less well, as "Success" and "Turn Blue", despite definitely having their moments, are not really up to the quality of the rest of the album. The last two tracks finish the procceedings in a fine style however.
Its like the more upbeat side to the same dark world visited by Iggy and Bowie and friends on "The Idiot", but although there is desperation, drug overdoses, and gloom, the more driving edge of the material is strangely uplifting, and shows Iggy to be a total survivor. A short, concise album which just gets better the more you listen to it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2013 12:47 PM BST

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars really 4 1/2 stars, 3 Nov 2002
This review is from: ( ) (Audio CD)
If there was a problem with Sigur Ros' 2nd album, Agaetis Buyjun, then it would probably have been the over-disneyfied strings which became a little sickening after a while, especially on tracks like Olsen Olsen. This album remedies this failing to a certain extent, although tracks 1, 3, and 4 are still a little sugary for my tastes certainly. The second half is fantastic though, with track 8, "pop song" easily the best thing they have done, with the standard sigur ros failings (dirge tempo to little effect, obvious chord progressions) erased and a totally energised, apocalyptic and frequently extremely beautiful vision put in their place. All in all, although this album makes less of an immediate impression than the previous album, it is in fact much better, with bleaker, more intense landscapes.
All looks rosy for the future, so long as the now traditional "post-rock rot" doesn't set in (see the latest Godspeed album, and the last Mogwai as well) where once invigorating and near perfect bands seem to foget to update their sounds leading to incredibly dull albums.
Perhaps the promise of more electronic influences, and the fact that many of their best songs remain unreleased (in fact the first song of theirs i heard 3 yrs ago is still yet to find its way into their recorded output) means that Sigur Ros may live to outstrip their peers.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film for your ears., 8 July 2002
This review is from: Aleamapper (Audio CD)
Instead of merely sounding like music from a film, this sound effect-track sounds effectively like a really good science fiction/action/horror film, but without any visuals, just great 3D sounding noise, interspersed once in a while with some clanky drum pieces. At first sounds horrible, but does strangely grow on you.

Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Offered by ukdiscs
Price: 6.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top notch, 23 May 2002
quit the griping.
this album is a classic the like of which has never been seen before or since.
J Spaceman's lyrics are masterful, a cross between cynical wordplay and bittersweet eflection, the music sonically lush and involving, the breadth of influences astounding, and the ebb and flow of the album a work of art.
without a doubt one of the best albums i have ever heard, but a warning:
Although most of the tracks are quite melodic it takes a *long* time to get fully involved with this album. Unfortunately for a long time i thought this album was three good tracks and a load of rubbish, but eventually it all made sense. Everyone who properly perseveres agrees- this album is hard work, but once you're there, one of the most unbelievable listens yopu will ever hear.

Cellular Memory
Cellular Memory

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Very Intriguing, 21 May 2002
This review is from: Cellular Memory (Audio CD)
Very interesting stuff from a new British metal four piece with ideas far, far, above the station of most boring as hell metal bands.
Given time and money i think they might become like a 21st century King Crimson , (no honestly)- with a mix of electronics, metal, and anything else they can lay their hands on.
Plenty of bands (see Pitchshifter, fear factory) have tried the electronica + metal formula, and got it utterly wrong and sound cringeworthily bad.
As a fan of both (intelligent) metal and the weirder elements of bands like DJ Shadow, Massive Attack, and the Warp electonica acts, I can safely say that the music on this EP gets the blend just right (if perhaps a little too experimental than some of their older fans might like).
Can't wait for their next release, if it sounds as good as this but with more song-oriented material...

The Private Press
The Private Press
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.87

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably more like 4 1/2 but never mind eh?, 15 May 2002
This review is from: The Private Press (Audio CD)
Another excellent album from Josh Davis over all, however a few weaknesses:
Its true that "mashin' on the motorway" and "monosylabik" aren't really the best of DJ Shadow, being overly goofy and too slight to warrant a place as anything more than B-sides.
That said, the rest of the album is brilliant, with "you can't go home again" and "blood on the motorway" ending the album in fantastic style with a mix of strangely 80s derived sounds and pure anthemicism.
All in all lets quit the whinging, the best tracks on this album are much better than those on Endtroducing. The weaker tracks, (of which there are only really two or three) are slightly weaker, but taken as a whole this album is richer and more diverse, with FAR more samples being used per song, and less tracks which just rely on one looped piano all the way through like on Endtroducing.
Basically if you already like DJ Shadow, this album isn't going to change your life, but it conclusively proves his artistry and ability to craft convincing songs from the smallest samples, and is packed with tunes you won't be able to get out of your head for weeks.
Also, there seems to be a slightly more pronounced dance/old skool hip hop feel to various tracks on this album, which only furthers the sense of diversity. Throughout the album the feel is less chilled out and jazzy than its predecessor and with faster tempos, especially towards the end, which is an improvement in my view as it prevents Shadow from being lumped in with idiots like Moby.

Fight Club - Two Disc Set (1999) [DVD]
Fight Club - Two Disc Set (1999) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: 4.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The defining late 90s film? Definitely., 21 Mar 2002
From the acting to the editing to the script to the music, this film is a tightly produced masterwork from a director who I had previously rated rather poorly (being quite unimpressed with "Se7en" and having yet to see "The Game"), but it is important not to underestimate the source material. Chuck Palahniuk's novel can be clearly seen to give Fincher the narrative and characters that his style of direction always needed, and all in all this film has an impact like few others. True, it could be criticised for being overly masculinist, perhaps even boardering on the mysoginistic, but that is almost required by the setting and narrative drive. The only annoying thing about this film is trying to convince those who have not seen it to do so, many thinking it to be some pointless macho fighting flick. To reply with the truth (ie- that the film is a deconstruction of insanity, masculinity, neiztchean will, and terrorism) is to reveal to much of the films best characteristics before they've seen it. Famously the first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club, but to be honest, given half the chance, I could talk all day on the topic. See the film, judge for yourself. Oh, and anyone else nearly in tears when the Pixies "where is my mind" kicks in as the credits roll?

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