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Reviews Written by
Ben Basing (Roughly London, United Kingdom)

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Kunst Der Fuge
Kunst Der Fuge
Price: £15.92

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting approach!, 15 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Kunst Der Fuge (Audio CD)
I think I will probably remain more a fan of JS Bach than of Laibach, but this was a worthwhile purchase I will return to (and not just to show friends). The soundworld is so unBachlike it takes a while to adjust, but the tune is there and something of the 'feel'. Maybe if you came from a more Laibach kind of background you might be put off by the pretention, but don't be. You might take to Bach as a result, but I think conversions are more likely to be the other way.

The Moment's Energy
The Moment's Energy
Price: £15.81

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth persisting, 1 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Moment's Energy (Audio CD)
When I first heard Eleventh Hour I 'got it' immediately, this was harder. I try to catch EP gigs whenever I can, but I've only seen the Electro Acoustic Ensemble on stage once and I didn't get that. This CD was much harder to grasp than I expected, I think it was the fourth playing that it finally clicked, it is not the lemon of the batch- don't give up, but this might not be the place to start. I will probably spend many more hours listening to this and comparing it with the others, more demanding but possibly more worthwhile than the acoustic quartets, etc.

Offered by speedia-media
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to drone?, 15 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Spaceshipp (Audio CD)
This is a fifty two minute disc with two pieces 'Inner' and 'Outer', Inner is forty odd minutes of drone with a similar feel to John Cale's Sun Blindness Music and equally mesmerising, the texture shifts more than I remember Cale's pieces doing and the shorter timescale makes this possibly more accessible. There are probably other people who could relate this to LaMonte Young. 'Outer' is obviously related, though less drony and offers some light relief- or maybe an introduction if you played the tracks in the wrong order. It does work, but not for the faint hearted.

Twelve Tone Tales Vol. 1
Twelve Tone Tales Vol. 1
Price: £16.86

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good four stars, 2 Mar. 2009
There are two reasons why I've only given this four stars: I seem to only review things I think highly of, so I have written too many five star reviews, but more to the point, I think volume two is better! This is unaccompanied piano with a clear immediate recorded sound and traces of a jazz idiom. Someone with more knowledge than I have could be specific here, there's a lilt that doesn't sound at all like Gershwin, yet you can hear why the word 'jazz" connects to both. Maybe a complete novice in a blind test would be as likely to call it 'Classical'- if Stockhausen is classical! I suppose that implies academic in some way, and that association can't be denied, but it is living music performed by it's composer (one track on this disc was written by Bernd Alois Zimmerman, Schlippenbach's teacher). You do have to listen, and probably won't get sucked in to sing along- like the Koln concert or more accessible piano, and as the title implies, it is atonal so might sound weird if you were bought up exclusively on Chopin (I don't have that problem).

You can probably guess my level of musical education (I read record sleeves) from the above. I'm struggling to offer the positive review this music deserves without saying something crass or encouraging you to buy something "too difficult". There's difficulty somewhere, but if I can hear through it other people without training can too, surely?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2012 10:33 PM GMT

On Zang Tuum Tumb (3CD)
On Zang Tuum Tumb (3CD)
Price: £24.70

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious cross between Pop and twentieth century 'Classical', 1 Feb. 2009
This review is from: On Zang Tuum Tumb (3CD) (Audio CD)
There is a lot of music here, and chances are if you like some of it you'll like it all. I did feel it was a bit like pop taking itself too seriously, but then I probably don't take pop music seriously enough. I bought it for the Annette Peacock vocal- a bit of a collector's obscurity, the rest of the set is quite fun but I can't see myself playing it that often really. More for the pop person going serious than a Steve Reich fan's holiday!

Price: £10.38

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recognisably the London Improv scene, 1 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Amassed (Audio CD)
I don't really get Drum & Bass, I've tried and I suppose I see the point, but it does tend to give me a headache! SHJ have moved on since those days, but I buy the records in the wrong order and fifteen years late. This has more music and less ambient effect (do people call that beat 'dance'?), solos from players I know (Evan Parker, John Edwards, Kenny Wheeler) or people I half recognise- the late Paul Rutherford, Han Bennink and Matthew Shipp as well as Messrs Coxon and Wales themselves. It doesn't sound at all like the chaotic mess I would expect with so many free/improv players together, betraying the fact that it has actually been put together with some preparation and worked out structure. Nothing too long, but long enough to be absorbing. If you know one or two names this is a good way to discover the others.

Songs and Themes
Songs and Themes
Price: £13.35

5.0 out of 5 stars This is actually good!, 4 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Songs and Themes (Audio CD)
I bought this cheap thinking, well almost thinking, that I ought to. I'm not really in to Pop & Rock, but I do like the Treader series of Improv stuff. I was put off by the list of separate tracks with different personel- but never judge a CD by its cover! The whole disc hangs together as a whole really well, more than a sum of disparate parts, you'll just wonder why that instrumental works so well .. oh it's him, that explains it! Clara was a particular high point, Schumann on a trumpet with samples. no forget your preconceptions.

Continental Philosophy: An Anthology (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies)
Continental Philosophy: An Anthology (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies)
by William McNeill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £32.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks like a good starter, 22 Nov. 2008
I am a student, and this book was recommended by my tutor, so I'd bow to his superior knowledge! The book contains a broad ranging selection of reasonably demanding texts by thinkers from the continental tradition. To approach this publication with no philosophy at all would probably be a mistake, but if (like me) you have studied the sort of names covered by Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy this is a way forward you might not have encountered. Critical Theory, Feminism, Post Modernism, (etc.) probably omitted (or worse) from an Anglophone degree, but here allowed to speak for themselves.

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op.93
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op.93
Price: £8.48

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was there!, 22 Nov. 2008
I turned on (BBC) Radio three last weekend and heard this recording. I recognised not only the piece (which is often an achievement for me!) but the performance at the Prom on 28 August 1986. Twenty two years on I clearly remember the reason for the wild applause just caught on the end of the CD. Why the recording has been sitting in the vaults so long I cannot imagine- unless there was hesitation about releasing an analogue mastered (ADD) CD into a market full of digital Shostakovich symphonies. Yes, OK, you can hear the hiss sometimes, and there is unobtrusive evidence of an audience, but I really don't believe an orchestra can play like this in the sterility of a studio. If you want the Karajan recording there is one in the Oxfam shop!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2010 1:39 PM BST

Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £19.95

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Start here, 12 May 2008
This review is from: Works (Audio CD)
When Division Bell came out at least one reviewer commented how hard it was to review the album without seeing it as another Pink Floyd album, to judge it in it's own right rather than as an attempt to recreate Darkside of the Moon or 'be different'

If you had never heard Pink Floyd before this isn't such a daft place to start- One of These Days is quite an opener, and pretty representative of mid period Floyd- without the length some people find hard to take, one from Syd, Fearless was my favourite Floyd song thirty years ago, because it doesn't sound like someone cut it out of a concept album.

Several Species .... would only get on a greatest hits album for the title, but at least it has a sense of humour and if you know your Pierre Henry.

To answer the youngster's question about Quadraphonic sound. In quad hi fi the home listener had two speakers in the front, roughly where yours probably are now, and two at the back forming a square with the listener in the middle. (Pink Floyd performed using the far better one in front, one behind with left and right beside the audience - but I digress). Listen to 'Us and Them', the vocals Up, up, up up and down, down, down, down (in the end it's only round and round and round and round) originally rotated round the room (if you had a quad hi fi) If you listen in stereo the voice goes "up, up" on the left "up up' on the right and so on, because going round in a circle there are two left then two right speakers. Once quad was well and truly dead, and CDs had been out for years, someone undid all that clever maths to stop the quad having "a hole in the middle' and made it sound sensible over to channels, alternating left and right. Atom Heart Mother, Darkside and Wish You Were Here are all quad masters, if you listen for it you can tell!

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