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J P V Guffogg (St Leonards, East Sussex United Kingdom)

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Explorer Series: Java - Court Gamelan Vol II
Explorer Series: Java - Court Gamelan Vol II

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More great music..., 27 Jun. 2003
This is the second recording in the Court Gamelan series by Robert Brown, this time from the Istana Mangkunegaran in Solo. A third CD is also available.
It was originally released in 1977. As on the first CD, there are two long and two short pieces. The Puspawarna to start bodes well for the rest of the disc, a good clear recording with all the individual instruments audible - good to hear the Gambang and Celempung clearly.
Kyai Kanyut Mesem is a very old gamelan, and parts of it are not played - being considered sacred.
The female singers include Nyi Toekinem, who also features on other recordings
(Rebab and Female singing of Central Javanese Gamelan, for example).
Next track is Gendhing Bonang Babar Layar - I'm not a great fan of Gendhing Bonang, but this sounds solid with great crescendos.
Gendhing Ela Ela Kalibeber follows in typical soft instruments style. The Gender is clearly heard, and would be ideal for someone learning this difficult instrument! The piece concludes with the usual pathetan.
Brown has incorporated a mixture of Slendro and Pelog tuning, along with 3 of the modes in these well-balanced recordings which are helped by the wonderful hall in which they were recorded.
Ayak Ayakan Kaloran concludes the pieces, in slendro Manyura - the catchy vocal is quite tempting to join in with - its quite short, with only a couple of drum beats for introduction, which betrays its origin in Wayang (Shadow puppet play)
Unfortunately, there are no twittering birds in this recording, but only some "happy croaking of Javanese frogs, enjoying the puddles left outside by a recent downpour" at the very end of the CD.

Price: £7.49

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gassy!, 26 Oct. 2001
This review is from: Gazeuse! (Audio CD)
This album is somewhat different from the old Gong stuff. Yes, there is still the same jazz orientated music, with clever tunes and tight playing, but now we have a more heavy rock feel. Indeed, Didier Malherb is the only survivor of the original Gong, along with Francis Moze from Flying Teapot days.
"Expresso" and "Night illusion" set the scene with heavy electric guitar and the new trademark percussion of vibes and xylophone. Fine playing it is too fromBenoit and Pierre Moerlen and Mireille Bauer. With Hillage gone, guitar is taken up by Allan Holdsworth, ex Soft Machine.
"Percolations" shows off the percussion playing, with a serene start with hints of Tubular Bells. The interlocking vibes do sound like a bubbling stream, but the piece develops with Xylophone, timpani and ends with a blazing drum solo.
"Shadows of" has some nice jazz flute form Malherbe, and is similar to the "Shamal" album. "Esnuria" opens with a funky beat with a latin feel, then more fuzz guitar, sax and percussion and more Tubular bells like music. "Mireille" is the (token) quiet track.
This album sounds just as good after 24 years, and my original vinyl remains relatively unplayed, but its well worth a listen as it sounds fresh as ever.

Live etc
Live etc

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good live album, 23 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Live etc (Audio CD)
I didn't even know you could still get this -well done amazon. I bought the double vinyl some years ago, and its still worth a listen. It showcases the talent and musicality that gong have (despite the silliness!) and there is some nice sax work from Bloomdido. The classics like "Isle of everywhere" are as good as ever.

Price: £5.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice crystal beauty?, 8 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Vespertine (Audio CD)
Being new to Bjork, I wondered how I'd like this. I had only heard a few tracks from previous works (on a free promo CD in the Times!). There is a crystal clarity to this, a sparseness, yet with the lush sounds of harp, celeste and music box. Her voice is intimate and breathy, and again passionate and full-throated. She sure can sing, and even the obscure lyrics have meaning. I love the way she twists the meter round within the music, and the Icelandic accent adds to the interest. Some tracks - like "Aurora" just seem to soar away to the sky. I love it. But don't listen to it too often, as it could lose meaning - you have to listen properly to appreciate. I certainly will be buying her previous works too.

Price: £6.77

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for bonus tracks alone, 8 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Wilder (Audio CD)
I loved the original vinyl which i bought in 1982, and its a great treat to hear it on CD now. Even better is the inclusion of the extra tracks which I had never heard before. So wierd listening to Teardrop songs that are new. And they are good too, except maybe "Rachel built a steamboat" which somehow doesn't work. "Ouch Monkeys" and "Soft enough for you" show Julian's voice off well, and are classic Teardrop in my opinion.

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