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Reviews Written by
Mr. N. Connolly "nc1980" (London)

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Thieves in the Night
Thieves in the Night
by Arthur Koestler
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, 21 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Thieves in the Night (Hardcover)
Unusually, I have decided to write this review before I have even finished the book. In days like these, where 'the Israelies' are apparently behaving like mad men and 'the Muslims' are accused of reeking havoc across the globe, this book has a clear and definable relevance.

Koestler covers, within the first 200 pages, exactly why the middle eastern dilemma will not be solved on our life times and illustrates exactly the role our great and proud 'developed' nations played in developing this global, cross-tribal, 'blood feud'. Additionally, so far, the yarn's pretty good too.

I'm not sure what happens at the end of the story and I don't much care. It has provided a perpective that one only recieves from discussing he issues with those who live it and that, for most interested people, is a long way from being possible. As someone lucky enough to have discussed these issues with people that are living it I can honestly say this is the only book that has got close to dealing with it correctly. Shamefully it was published more than 50 yrs ago and there is no reprint.

Permission To Land
Permission To Land
Offered by Rikdev Media
Price: £2.69

3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bandwagon Jumpers Alert!!!, 10 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Permission To Land (Audio CD)
I bought this album on the strength of the single, some reviews, and general enthusiasm for new things rock.
I took it back to the shop the next day.
This is the only CD I have ever retured.
At best formulaic spoof glam rock at worst a bad joke: if you like cheese, and music is just something that you jump around to when enebriated, you may enjoy this. If music is important to you and you have a soul please steer clear of this novelty act and buy some proper music.
The Coral, for example.

A Special Album
A Special Album
Offered by stevecaptainkirk
Price: £5.90

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Downtempo Allstars, 17 Jun. 2003
This review is from: A Special Album (Audio CD)
A delight for the sonically tuned.
Beyond their nationality, any comparisons with Royksopp are, at best, shallow. True, they're both chilled out but then so is much of DJ Shadow or LTJ Bukem but you wouldn't compare them with Royksopp. No, this 'special album' is anything but a collection of flimsy down tempo dance tunes (a.k.a. soft focus electro pop) for the wannabe chemical generation.
It's truly got genre busting depth that's chilled enough to fall asleep to but upbeat enough bounce around to. In tone it certainly bears comparison with Dzihan & Kamien's Gran Riserva (Bouncy down tempo electronica with a samba flair) album.
Essentially - its ideal for poncing around you're garden on a sunny day, having a J, entertaining your parents, or the hordes after the pub, or even chilling out before hell breaks loose on a Friday night.
A few tunes, especially the bonus track, are proper party tunes (in the happy clappy sunny rather dirty dark and banging way) but they all fit nicely into the milieu.
Is this new?
Well no, it clearly isn't. However it does threaten Theivery Corporation ascendancy over all things quality, bouncy and chilled. I think the tunes are a bit better but that is down to taste. The difference, for me, is the sparkle and reverberations of real instruments. There is loads and loads of pretty good down tempo dance music be it lounge, house, D&B, ... whatever. Some of it even uses instruments. Very little of it manages to amalgamate all of the above genres, with good tunes, and with a band that can really play.
The man - Ralph Myerz - can.

Music for the Mature B-Boy
Music for the Mature B-Boy

4.0 out of 5 stars Summer 2003, 7 April 2003
To highlight my ignorance - I'd never heard of DJ Format but the impressive list of luminaries that grace this record with their lyrical skill meant it could not be ignored.
Where RJD2 is a more tuneful, soulful, DJ Shadow - Format uses similar skill, and apparent ability, to go the other way.
Straight up hip hop beats, old school rapping (rather than new school whinging), and an ear for a good tune; make this a perfect summer album.
OK, it isn't particularly cutting edge. The tune with Charli 2na does sound like J5 but that isn't, necessarily, such a bad thing.
Format will hopefully release more records that will, hopefully, be a little more distinctive but for now...
... sit back & spin out.

Laid (2001 Reissue)
Laid (2001 Reissue)
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.06

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, 22 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Laid (2001 Reissue) (Audio CD)
James, Laid, is one of the seminal albums of the 90's. As mentioned elsewhere, this is completely different from everything else they've done, which, in my opinion, is something of a bonus.
Laid and Low... are two very witty songs with cracking, catchy, tunes. Lullaby & Skindiving are entrancing while Out to Get You submerges you in their vibe instantaneously. Songs are attempted from a whole range of angles and speeds but the slightly dreamy tone is never lost. It is the perfect album stoned yet a drunkard will always manage to sing along. One can just sit and listen but, equally, I found it useful writing my dissertation.
Say Something and Laid are probably the most well known tunes on the album but please don't think they characterise it. The whole (ignore the bonus tracks, as interesting as the are) is much greater than the sum of it parts.
A true masterpiece this really didn't sell enough records. If you like catchy tunes, good singing (some nice harmonies), interesting drumming, wicked lyrics, spot on production, and grown men dressed in skirts eating bananas: buy it and help James get the recognition they deserve.


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 20 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Deadringer (Audio CD)
The chap in my local record shop made a big deal about this record, almost forced me to buy it; Thank God.
This is a seriously good example of what Hip-Hop can, and in many cases should, be. Mixing soul, jazz, traditional beats, rhymes, and a few more 'rocky' vocals, RJD2 has managed to marry brass bands with old school MC'ing, lounge style soundscapes with crashing beats and satisfying bass lines.
What I don't understand is why this hasn't been more successful. It sold out very quickly in said record shop but no one else I know has even heard of it.
I really think this is different from the majority of what is listened to. As the work of a producer you think, perhaps, it should have less acclaim than, say, The Roots. However, to look at DJ Shadow and not this, is a travesty. This is more tuneful, there is more variety, and its more accessible than any of Mr Shadow's offerings (which, incidentally, I enjoy immensely).
Obviously, it would be difficult to say its better but is it equal? Without doubt: this is a new direction for Hip-Hop production and its here to stay. I just hope RJD2 gets the plaudits he deserves.

The Rmxs 1997 2000 [VINYL]
The Rmxs 1997 2000 [VINYL]

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic tunes for the stoned generation, 20 Dec. 2002
This review is from: The Rmxs 1997 2000 [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Any compilation that is prepared to place Elle Fitzgerald along side Bob Marley broken up by UB40 having just recovered from a Dillinger workout is, in my book, well worth buying.
This is one of those cd's that other dj's should have a listen to and take notes. How come I never hear Across 110th Street in clubs/bars/festivals etc. It works a treat here and hasn't really been altered from the original that much. What about UB40 'Legalise It' - not only are they right this is a suprisingly good tune.
Also, this mix is fairly unusual so while comparable remix albums
get a knowing nod from your peers they generally try to steal this one.
It's a sleeper but, honestly, you will love it.

The Coral
The Coral
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.95

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 18 Dec. 2002
This review is from: The Coral (Audio CD)
I know quite a few people that just think this is a bit odd and a few more that think it's a bit flimsy. I think it's a classic. Really clever lyrics, dead catchy tunes and a nice, almost euphoric, atmosphere make this stand out from the crowd.
5 mins of this after work and you've forgotten you ever went. Whether you're laughing at the sea shanty bits or considering the virtue of Cossack dancing in you're living room this really does make you grin.
They ARE different from other bands at the moment and considering this is a debut it is experimental, diverse, well produced, and confident. This is their sound not one created to sell records.
They've been likened to Gomez but I don't really see that. Their more like Mr Scruff (Keeping it Unreal not Trouser Jazz) meets real instruments.
Radiohead and Blur stand out from other bands in the nineties because they've never settled for a particular style or sound. I get the impression The Coral could follow in their footsteps. I also think they're different enough to follow those bands successes in the States.
The Coral could go stellar.

Highly Evolved [Australian Import]
Highly Evolved [Australian Import]
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £2.50

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well... its definitely listenable., 18 Dec. 2002
Ok, they've got grungy hair and one of their tunes sounds a bit like a n other Nirvana tune but lets not get carried away.
This is very generic, predictable, and dare I say bland pop rock. The best tune on the album (can't remember what it's called) would sound great on Definitely Maybe but ridiculous on Bleach or In Utero.
In fact the majority of the time they sound a lot closer to Terrorvision than anything else. Not sure if it's the chap's voice or their slightly jangly sound but anyone who owns Formaldehyde or How To Make Friends and Influence People will know exactly what I mean.
On the other side of the coin it's sooo much better than anything by Travis, Linkin' Park, or even post Richy Manics stuff that it should get some respect.
If you can accept that The Vines are another Pop band with pseudo attitude that, by definition, are a good laugh; you'll be cool. If you want them to live up to their billing of dynamic new purveyors of finest 'New World' grunge for the noughties you'll be a wee bit disappointed.

Dead Elvis
Dead Elvis
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy it... satisfaction guaranteed., 19 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Dead Elvis (Audio CD)
Dead Elvis opens with a cracking, stylish, sample wistfully dragging you up to speed with this stoner friendly, conversation inducing, monster of a debut.
Unlike many artist of this genre Death in Vegas' music is intelligent, involving, and evolving. I saw them support the Chemicals years ago and if I'm being honest they weren't all that. The sound was too big for a support act and no one in the audience really got it. A lack of facilities (two turntables') and dodgy bowl cuts really clouded what they were trying to do.
A few years later I saw them again. This time they were headlining and were awesome. A well-informed friend of mine still claims they sounded better than the Prodigy on their Jilted tour (completely different I know but I'm sure you catch my drift).
The point is, these guys aren't just electronic maestros. They create well structured, deep, tunes, that require input from many talented musicians, that work live, that can be listened to by almost anyone, and even make you want to boogie.
Dead Elvis is my favourite Death in Vegas album for one very simple reason. It's all them. No star struck collaboration can undermine who and what this album is about. This is Death in Vegas. Although 'all that glitters is not gold' ... this album glitters and it's certainly golden.

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