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Vitamino (London)

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Offered by thecdcollector
Price: 0.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Number One Single That Never Was, 14 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Superhorny (Audio CD)
This single contains all the things that makes life great. Sex, a throbbing bassline and the BBC World Service Shipping Forecast.

From the masterful album 'The Atomic World of Tomorrow' it gives us a taste of the extraordinary talents of David Wrench, Welshman and ertswhile Albino Viking.

Will we ever hear another another album from this undoubted Welsh genius?


2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Will you ever play it more than once?, 14 Feb 2009
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The idea of this project thrilled me. The notion was great. Get a bunch of violins, violas and a cello and set their sounds against the mighty throb, whine and roar of a helicopter taking off.

No! lets make that FOUR helicopters! And let's record the instruments inside the helicopters as they go!

Well, this is what we get on this insane CD. It was so bonkers an idea that it just might've worked. Actually it's (as might be expected), really quite painful and an experience you might want to try just the once.

Love Stockhausen for his audacity. Hate him for the kind of noise we all shut our windows against.

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Price: 10.09

2.0 out of 5 stars A Gateway to Greatness Beyond, 14 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Dopamine (Audio CD)
Mitchell Froom is far better known in the United States than he is in the UK. Over there he's mostly celebrated as being the erstwhile producer and husband of singer/composer Suzanne Vega.

And it's true to say that even if he wasn't true to her he produced some of her very best albums. But times rocket on and so did he. 'Dopamine' was his attempt to make an album in his own right. But his efforts to make the jump from producer to artist didn't work.

Plenty of people have Beatles albums but few have George Martin albums.

Nevertheless there is a spark of wondrousness on this CD. It's only short so you have to keep your ears open. Track 11: 'Overcast' featuring Ron Sexsmith.

However, this CD made me Google 'Mitchell Froom'. And when I did I discovered the most life affirming band I have ever heard. For Mr Froom produced (and inadvertently introduced me to) 'The Ditty Bops'.

YouTube 'The Ditty Bops' to find out just how excellent a producer Mitchell Froom really is.

Escape from Dragon...
Escape from Dragon...
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: 35.66

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Glorious, 14 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Escape from Dragon... (Audio CD)
I awoke in the middle of the night and turned the radio on. It was set to the BBC World Service and I heard the most wondrous music.

The music was by Dengue Fever and the track was 'Sleepwalking Through The Mekong'. I got my head together enough to write down the title on a bit of paper, fell asleep and forgot about it.

A few weeks later I found that bit of paper, looked up the name and decided I had to get the CD.

I wasn't disappointed with the track that I'd heard. It's so evocative that I still find time to play it. There's another called 'Hummingbird' that's surely a song from a long lost David Lynch film. It's so lovely and just a lttle bit sinister. But despite Chhom Nimol's wonderful vocals the other songs seem to fail. Perhaps the band just can't reach up to her level.

This is an album you will so much want to like but not be able to. A couple of moments of pure beauty and a few more that are just irritating.

Lullabies To Violaine, Volume 1
Lullabies To Violaine, Volume 1
Price: 11.91

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proper Mastering At Last, 13 Feb 2009
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There are quite a few Cocteau Twins enthusiasts who have been disappointed by the CD releases. And justifiably so for those CDs sounded like they were mastered by someone who just didn't care. Enjoyable but not like the original vinyl.

I've done it myself. I've listened to the 'Echoes In a Shallow Bay/ Tiny Dynamine' CD release alongside the plush vinyl EPs and wondered what went wrong.

But here on 'Lullabies To Violaine - Volume 1' this problem has been set straight. These tracks now sound as wonderful as they were meant to be. Deep, resonant, evocative and masterful. Here at last we have 'Ribbed and Veined', 'Pink Orange Red' and 'Pepper Tree' in astonishing reality.

Ignore your turntable, you can forget the little pops and crackles on your precious vinyl. Get swept away.

You didn't think it would happen on CD but it has.

Laurel & Hardy - The Collection (21-disc Box Set) [DVD]
Laurel & Hardy - The Collection (21-disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stan Laurel
Offered by kaboodal
Price: 149.95

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Huge?, 7 Feb 2009
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This giant boxed set of the very best of Laurel and Hardy represents pretty good value for money. The real gems are the two reelers and almost all are included here (except for one which has been lost forever).

Absolute aficionados of L & H will no doubt notice that certain titles (ie the captions at the beginning of the films) are not 'original' in the purest sense but for the casual viewer this really doesn't matter. The sheer amount of good stuff on offer here is overwhelming.

Laurel & Hardy's films have obviously dated and comedy today is altogether more slick and sophisticated. However, the inventiveness of these films coupled with the wonderfully warm interaction between Stan and Ollie set them apart. It's refreshing to see comedy that wasn't written by a highly pressurised gang of writers. What also shines out is that even in their day they had something to offer that no-one else did. Chaplin was a master and technically brilliant. Keaton's films were visually stunning and often quite moving. But Laurel and Hardy were somehow more human than the rest. Remember, when L & H came to England some years after these films were made they were received with extraordinary fondness and the kind of hysteria that we now more often associate with The Beatles.

But there are some criticisms and they're about the release itself. The running time for the whole collection is absolutely massive at 62 hours. But what is it that makes it so big? Well, each film is presented twice. Once in black and white and then again in the ghastly colourised form, a pointless abomination that comes ideologically straight from the 1970's. There's simply no reason for these films to be presented like this today. You get a choice on the menu as to which version you'd like but this collection would be better (and considerably more manageable) without.

The films are not chronologically ordered but by theme which is a little odd. If the colourised versions were removed and the films were presented in order then it would not only have been more satisfying but there would have been more films per disc and a lot less discs in total.

Also, for some reason, each film is 'tailed' with a short piece reminding the viewer that they have been spruced up for your viewing pleasure. This gets annoying after a while. Some films (Laughing Gravy for example) have been 'remastered' but it's actually quite hard to tell. All of them show defects because of their age (which is understandable and OK) but remastering by today's standards surely means the removal of all film scratches, frame wobbles, muffled bits of dialogue etc. However the potential buyer shouldn't be put off by this. All the ones I've watched so far have been quite acceptable and it seems somehow right seeing them slightly unpolished. One day someone will really clean them up, frame by frame, and we'll get a clearer 'window' into the past but for now these presentations are just fine.

Finally, there's a 'documentary' at the end of the last disc but this is just awful. It's not a detailed and informative look at the boys but a sort of cheap, ancient TV thing, hosted by Dom Deluise (looking like he did it for a few bucks when he was strapped). It just says that L & H were comedic masters and then shows clips of the dreadful colourised versions.

Anyway, despite these criticisms I give it 4 stars because it's a bargain and you get what you ask for. Tons of great L & H shorts and films, the best of their work in fact. If you like Laurel and Hardy then you really can't do better, for the time being at least.

Roxy & Elsewhere
Roxy & Elsewhere

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuosity Gone Mad, 31 Jan 2009
This review is from: Roxy & Elsewhere (Audio CD)
As a statement of Frank Zappa's commitment to perfection this album is hard to beat. It's known that Zappa would rehearse his musicians for eight hour a day for three months before hitting the road and it really shows. His arrangements were so meticulous that this kind of dedication was absolutely required. Not only that but he would change and augment performances in mid flow with a single gesture so every single musician had to be not only first class but also incredibly observant and focussed.

And this is what we get on the legendary 'Roxy and Elsewhere' album - a recording of a virtuoso concert performance for television broadcast.

Everything 'Zappa' is here. Impossibly dextrous instrumental pieces, hilarious preambles, avant subject matter and intensely electrifying guitar from the man himself.

There's no wonder people have been wanting to see a DVD of this gig. I myself emailed Gail Zappa some years ago to find out whether the footage was still around to which she replied "Have a look on Ebay".

But we still have this recording of what became known as 'The Roxy' Band. If you like Zappa and haven't heard it then why not? And if you want to hear more from this lineup you must also buy 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 2' which features a whole gig by the band in Helsinki.

George Duke himself said he'd never played in a band that tight. And that in itself is one hell of a recommendation.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2009 12:52 AM BST

Oeuvres Pour Piano
Oeuvres Pour Piano
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Price: 32.64

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing, 31 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Oeuvres Pour Piano (Audio CD)
Aldo Ciccolini is considered by many to be the finest exponent of Satie's piano works. This is, to my mind, undoubtedly true. There are also those who regard this collection to be one that contains his finest recordings of those works. Again, I agree.

There is a more modern collection in which Mr Ciccolini has reproduced these pieces and done so with the benefit of contemporary digital recording techniques. But I believe this one to be superior. The nuances and touches of the original 1966 - 1971 recordings make this release so much more rewarding.

If you want superb clarity perhaps you may want the newer version but for feel and atmosphere this is the one to get.

There are many who have attempted to interpret Erik Satie's piano works and some who have achieved success. Daniel Varsano, Philippe Entremont and particularly Cécile Ousset have produced some outstanding interpretations. But Ciccolini is the best.

There are still others like Pascal Rogé who seem to feel the need to slap their own 'style' upon the music. They make Satie's works sound like they've been murdered by Liberace or Richard Clayderman. Fine for fans of 'popular classics' but nothing like the real thing.

Aldo Ciccolini is the real thing and these are the best recordings.

Withnail and I
Withnail and I

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware!, 17 Dec 2008
This review is from: Withnail and I (Audio CD)
This CD release of the soundtrack to the film 'Withnail and I' is patchy at best.

If you know the film think about the music in it that you liked the most. The first will probably be the title track - the wonderful live version of 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', played with such extraordinary skill and empathy by King Curtis. The second might be 'Withnail's Theme' by David Dundas which was used right at the end of the film. Perhaps you may remember the music played as Marwood walks out of the cottage on that first cold Penrith morning.

Well those wonderful tracks are here but what about the rest of this often deleted disc? Well, the Hendrix tracks on this CD are certainly not the ones that were used in the film. Both 'All Along The Watchtower' and 'Voodoo Chile' are inferior live versions. The wonderful Al Bowlly track, 'Hang Out The Stars In Indiana' is cut horribly short. There are also another couple of tracks by Dundas but they weren't even used in the film.

This is a CD that's short in duration (36 minutes) and so much of it is irellevant that you will have to ask yourself whether it's worth buying for just three or four moments of utter beauty. Well alright, it does contain the original 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' by George Harrison but I'll bet that if you like 'Withnail & I' you probably have that track somewhere already.

If, however, you are comitted to owning a proper Withnail soundtrack you will need to buy this, a good Hendrix compilation and the 'Al Bowlly - The Dance Band Years' CD (where you can find the original full-length 'Hang Out The Stars In Indiana' in it's proper glory).

And if you're really crazy about the film then you can also find that bit of music playing in the background when Withnail and Marwood visit Monty at his house in Chelsea. It's Piano Sonata No 21 in B flat (D960) 'part III Scherzo Allegro vivace con delicatezza' by Franz Shubert.

There's no doubt that the good tracks are just wonderful. But be informed before you shell out crazy money for this disc.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2013 10:33 AM BST

by Antony Beevor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Comprehension, 19 Nov 2008
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
I daresay that there are quite a few people out there who have a layman's interest in the events of the Second World War but may be daunted by this book's 430-odd page length (nearly 500 including appendices and notes).

If this block of paper had been dumped in front of me as part of the necessary reading for a history exam I might've preferred to take up smoking instead.

But I'd have had little to fear. It's not dull or boring. It's not written in a slow or difficult manner. It's a thoroughly informative and exciting read that you'll constantly wish to get back to.

A good deal of the information in this book comes from personal letters and diaries written by those deeply involved in the colossal war-within-a-war that was the battle for Stalingrad. It justly exposes not only the horrific mistakes made by the leaders of both sides but the truly heartbreaking experiences of the hundreds of thousands of men and women involved.

The sheer level of atrocity goes beyond what the reader can possibly comprehend. The suffering far exceeds what was described in the levels of purgatory in Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'. This really was Hell on Earth.

But this is also a book that reveals the extraordinary resilience and unbelievable bravery that exists in mankind. There really is something of the superhuman revealed in these pages. And not only on the part of the mighty Russian fighters but of the Germans forces too.

Within these pages the reader is frequently reminded that the people involved are simply humans like the rest of us. Not all the Wermacht were cold blooded Nazi killers, not all the Red Army were ruthless bloodthirsty Stalinists. They were just people driven or forced to achieve an aim.

If only this book could be a final lesson to all of us to desist from the kind of insanity it describes.

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