Profile for simon mack > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by simon mack
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,103
Helpful Votes: 719

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
simon mack "digital media artist etc" (UK)

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
Lord For 39
Lord For 39
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 7.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CHUNKY, 17 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lord For 39 (Audio CD)
yes - I bought this on amazon the other week based on the summary / review on amazon uk - ie "Lord for 39" is a dub-step derived beats cd and that nails it. an excellent propulsive chunky cd of dub-step, grime influenced beats with inventive use of samples vocals, bleeps, keys, prominent snares + textures. stop-start rhythms define this cd in the style of the best of uk influenced beats masters in the last 5 years using deep dub basslines, broken beats + woozy rhythms. this cd offers choice late night lee perry meets dance hall meets dark late night pirate radio / rinse fm broadcasts dub-step . early boxcutter, rusko, artwork, terror danjah et al should give you an idea of the equal similarities on show here

excellent - also recommended is Landstrumm's more eclectic but bass heavy "bambaataa eats his breakfast" but if you want bass line pressure - go for Lord for 39 first though. raw, tasty + yes chunky new electronica.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2013 1:20 PM GMT

Cookin' at the Plugged Nickel
Cookin' at the Plugged Nickel

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars oh YES - Miles+ co: live at Plugged Nickel, 16 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
whilst i'm no fan of almost blind allegiance either in politics, religion or culture - when its comes to Miles Davis and his superlative group presented here ie Wayne Shorter,Tony Williams,Ron Carter+ Herbie Hancock its almost impossible not to award 5 stars reviews for one of the all time great jazz i wont, but almost did..

and so it is here with a 1987 orignal CBS cd release of selected tracks from the now almost legendary Live at the Plugged Nickel club dates from two nights recording in december 1965.

fearlessly exploratory,and exciting post-bop from all concerned with Tony Williams "lighting the fire underneath" everyone one (as Miles once described his incendiary drumming) as the selected four tracks here touch on the standards only briefly with barely a theme "tune" before the band vault off into abstract,searching improvisations that make many contemporary jazz group today seem SO safe + mundane. i could name names here but won't..

1) If I Were a Bell - gorgeous Miles mute trumpet lines open this setlist
2) Stella by Starlight - ballad explorations with wonderous Herbie Hancock piano here
3) Walkin' - fast,fearsome workout of long time Miles live standard. abtraction..
4) Miles - further furiously paced yet superlative "final" track

the full 6 cd issue of Live at the Plugged Nickel now commands heady prices so grab this CBS single cd while you can. this highlights singly cd is an important live document of Miles + crew stretching the bop abstractions ever further far beyond "Kind of Blue" era. decent booklet notes inform rather than illuminate the music + context, and only a over bright sound here robs this release a full five stars for me.

also - strongly recommended as a comparative live document from Miles' mid-1960's is "Four + More" and "my Funny Valentine" (live at Lincoln Centre- also released on the italian Giants of Jazz label: seem my review also) which for me is even better for its wider range of uptempo + ballad tracks. now onto Live at the Village Vanguard-era Coltrane people..

Janacek:PIANO WORKS / Firkusky
Janacek:PIANO WORKS / Firkusky
Offered by Music-Club
Price: 12.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Janacek - hugely underrated wonderous piano music, 16 April 2013
i first heard Czech maverick composer Leos Janacek's piano + chamber music some 20 years ago first on bbc radio 3
and was instantly drawn in to their emotional,yet incredibly sensitive + moving soundworld.

and so here with a recent delighted new find - i would strongly recommend this 1971 DG recording of Janacek's marvellous piano works :"on an overgrown path","in the mists","piano sonata 1 x 1905" : for their clarity of execution, nuance + depth of expression. marvellous music + playing . all works are tonal,yet explore delicate shifting moods + a sense of longing is never far away (like the composer's deeply felt chamber music). noted Janacek specialist - Rudolf Firkusny plays here with admirable articulation, sensitivity and restraint in these delicate,soul searching works. personal favourite the Piano Sonata 1 x 1905 is a marvel of introspection + subtle phrasing. recorded sound is excellent: natural, with no over reverberant acoustic that marr many piano budget price recordings. the only work that perhaps doesn't have the composers unique imprint are the "Zdenka Variations" which leave me a little cold -ok but hardly reaching the expressive depths of the other works here. i recall Jonathen Plowright recording some of Janacek's piano works some years ago + that is worth searching out for arguably more intense, darker hued interpretation.

the cd artwork + booklet notes are excellent also . see my review on amazon uk also. for fans of emotional yet sensitive piano music. Janacek's string quartets ,cello + violin works also similarly wonderful - please seem my review of quartets on naxos also. for piano music fans wishing to delve deeper beyond the expressive worlds also explored by Debussy + Messiaen. Haakon Austbo also has a good pedigree in this music by all three composers. for Fikusky though - 4 stars going on 5.

Price: 14.11

3.0 out of 5 stars italian IDM / electronica - solid not exceptional, 14 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Semeion (Audio CD)
a recent amazon buy as ever curious for new music etc. are an italian electronica act that were signed a few years ago to chicago based label hefty records. whilst i have a few good hefty cds - the remixes ep etc, this cd by is perfectly accomplished idm (intelligent dance music) / electronica that tries to emulate autechre,clark, plaid,black dog etc + a host of others BUT ultimately fails to show enough originality or genuine innovation.

most tracks stick to a tried + tested early autechre,plaid formula of late night vocal-less electronica with subdued minimal pulses,beats (not glitch or minimal house or techno though) with occasional glitches, pretty conventional rhythmic textures. the problem is that there is nothing here to startle, amaze or get the pulse racing. curiously the final few tracks radically improve over the earlier rather dull ones - taking into nearly great territory with much darker more adventurous avenues, they're a little, too late. a shame.
ultimately, this cd is a slightly dated idm/electronica that sounds a little safe , whereas autechre, richard devine + clark amongst others have long overtaken this type of early nineties sounding electronica with their own unique sounds + more adventurous music.

ok but hardly essential. like i said - a solid collection of minimal idm/electronica from, but hardly earth shatteringly innovative. 3 stars going on 4.

North Wales Landscapes (Heritage Landscapes)
North Wales Landscapes (Heritage Landscapes)
by Simon Kirwan
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars for those who have walked,climbed,visited + loved North Wales, 4 April 2013
i bought my copy of this excellent hardcover sizeable book some 6 or 7 years ago as spotted in a matalan store of all places + was missing the glorious open spaces of this much loved part of the British Isles. the good news is that the photographer Simon Kirwan (with evocative text by Hilary Ellis) is a MUST HAVE for lovers of the quiet, the spiritual, the ancient - namely the many rugged places,mountains,lakes and estuaries of north wales - be it snowdonia, conway valley etc.

the photographs contained are large, in colour + of a high standard + with images taken by kirwan throughout the seasons - the snow covered images being particularly powerful. personal favourite places featured here include lyn ogwen, snowdonia, harlech, and the llyn peninsula. many other places of outstanding peace + beauty are also covered here of course.

a shame perhaps is the lack of a place index and actual map of all the glorious places featured for easy and fast reference - so the reader here has to really know these places or have recourse to a decent O/S map. a missed opportunity, but "north Wales" by Simon Kirwan is still strongly recommended,especially at less than 10 to your door. look,remember,be inspired and visit this special part of the uk.

recommended for lovers of quality images of rugged nature, open spaces and a feast for the spirit.

Shostakovich: String Quartets, Vol. 1
Shostakovich: String Quartets, Vol. 1
Offered by nagiry
Price: 4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars string quartet depth by the Eder's, 28 Mar 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 Jan 2008
By simon mack
repeat review of other listing for this naxos cd

This cd on naxos of Dmitri Shostakovich's (DSCH) earlier quartets of the 15 he eventually published) quickly established itself as one of my most played classical cds some 6-7 yrs ago. The playing overall by the hungarian Eder Qrt is superb + has real conviction as well as poise of 6th + 7th Quartets recorded here, if not the 4th Quartet which loses the release a star in rating. The 4th Quartet is a little lacking in poise playing the two movement at slightly over fast tempi and inner interpretive depth + when compared with other classic Qrts have form the Borodins,Fitzwiliams,Sorrel or Moyze quartet in particular.

The most "Hayden-esque" seemingly cheerful quartet - the No.6 + the mysterious at times angry Quartet No.7 are both excellently played thopugh with concentrated playing + passion by the Eders- portraying DSCH s emotionally complex but inherently conventional (tonal, use of themes, exposition etc) musical language of the earlier quartets No.1-10. (Quartets No.11 - 14 onwards became more tonally ambiguos + withrawn).

Overall - the overall recording balance + playing place this Cd of some of Shostakovich's lesser known quartet works into the nearly essential league.
all at a bargain price of 6/$8 or less.

4 stars for the performance. 5 stars for the music

Mo-Wax: Some Scientific..
Mo-Wax: Some Scientific..

4.0 out of 5 stars excellent laid back beats on Mo Wax c.95, 26 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ah i remember rifling through the vinyl bins in London s notting hill gate + camden + lusting at the time yes circa '95/96 at the then new mo wax vinyl on the shelves . yum.. and so - in 2013 after enjoying cds over the years since by Palmskin Productions in particular, i eventually catch up with Mo Wax again with this excellent compilation "some scientific abstract type s***". all the key dj / producers from that era are here - Shadow, Krush, Palmskin productions, Attica Blues, RPM, La Funk Mob, oh and u.n.k.l.e.

both uk labels :Mo Wax and Ninja Tune specialised in eclectic world roster of dj/producer blunted breaks, beats + inventive turntablism with use of laid back,hip-hop influenced downtempo tracks that were ideal for lazy days or nights. the tracks here are uniformally excellent - inventive, good use of discreet samples + noir moods. plaid + Richie Hawtin offer a remix each to add to the spice here.

Recommended + for DJ Shadow fans in particular welcome tracks (away from his portentious slightly over reaching "entroducing"). all in all - snap this up if you like chunky cinematic n abstract beats.

Eero Johannes
Eero Johannes
Offered by Books-and-Sounds
Price: 1.97

3.0 out of 5 stars mmm - half decent electronica on mu, 23 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Eero Johannes (Audio CD)
a new purchase on amazon as had pre-listened to some of the tracks and liked a few of the busier denser tracks here. Finnish electronica producer -Eero Johannes "sounds like suomi" it says on his myspace page + well that may be partly correct - im not sure at this juncture. but sporting nice n zingy artwork, crisp production +typeface graphics is one thing ,+also a Planet Mu release usually guarantees at least half way inventive beats n electronica. and so it is here just that unfortuntaley - half way interesting.. winsome wonky keys n samples, post-house, slightly off the wall post-clubbing beats n textures that for me dont really add up overall into either a great head-nod house or techno lp nor all out wiggy out there experiemental release.

not easily fitting into any category is no bad thing of course- neither house,micro-house,uk funky,idm ,breakcore ,d n b, idm nor dub step. Johannes approaches a sound like er no-one i can quite think of. its ok so far after a few listens, but doesnt really get close to my current favourites - autechre (still going strong), clark (on warp),martyn,momolake or jimmy edgar or the minimal eclecticism of farben or villalobos. strong beats, melodies or inventive weirdness are largely struggling to be heard here. overall - this cd is veers towards average electro-funktronica aimed at the weekend bar crowd. later tracks actually save this cd from being pretty average as Johannes delves into deeper, more complex electronic textures n beats similar in places to Clark on warp (that s intended as a compliment by the way) but just doesn't go deep enough.

it s ok, but the above acts should be or already be in yr beats/electronica collection before trying this .

Image 1983-1998
Image 1983-1998
Price: 8.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars early Susumu + not the best, by a long stretch.., 21 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Image 1983-1998 (Audio CD)
as a keen albeit belated fan in last 18 months of this maverick , talented artist,musician, ex dj,- "image" is (as it says on the tin) a collection of earlier works by susumu yokota from 1983 to 1998 of pre-"hit" lps on leaf such as "sakura", "grinning cat" + "the boy and the tree". a few tracks only sound similar to the winning streak of the above marvellous lp/cd's i.e deep,lush,experimental, ambient/oriental ,neo-psychedelic electronica.

the main problem with "image" is that at least 5 tracks are pretty minimal guitar . voice or organ only simple untextured tracks that really aren't up to the standard of yokota after his minimal/beats lp "magic thread" onwards where occasional beats, multiple textures, dreamy layers of sound + samples (often oriental-be they voice or recocrded natural sounds or acoustic intruments) add up to his extradorinary ,multilayered works.

too many tracks simply sound like early experimental works without too much interest. buy all of the above listed lps/cd s first as well as the the excellent "skintone collection" before venturing further with "image". Note: "image" is only just over 30 minutes long - poor really in this 78 cd minute age..

a very talented japanese artist who best work is not on "image" so approach with caution. 3 stars only i'm afraid.

Piano Concerti 26 & 27
Piano Concerti 26 & 27

4.0 out of 5 stars fresh Mozart from Pires, 13 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Piano Concerti 26 & 27 (Audio CD)
a brand new budget price amazon purchase as wanted to extend my collection of Jaoa Pires recordings. here these recordings date back to 1974,5 + 78 with sprightly orchestral backing from fellow country folks : Orchestra de Chambre de..Lisbonne as well as Orchestra de Chambre de Lausanne in late piano concerto no.26+27 plus the Concert Rondo kv.382.

essentially - the recordings + playing here are enjoyable, clear, lively Mozart that offer straight foward renditions that perhaps do not offer the most searching accounts or most definitive . Brendel, Uchida, Gulda, et al arguably go deeper with more introspection in their versions, but here early Pires' trademark clarity + articulation already show. clear recordings,but note : this Erato collection Bonsai release has no booklet notes describing these works or performers, so go for the Apex/Erato re-releases over this version at not much more cost.

enjoyable though not top rank Mozart versions here.

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30