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Reviews Written by
Scubaboy "sydwal" (Swansea, UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Puro Desert Lounge Volume Five
Puro Desert Lounge Volume Five
Price: £14.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Chillout for grown ups Volume 2, 26 Sept. 2006
Bought volumes 1 and 2 as part of an Amazon deal and wasn't disappointed. This one is actually slightly better than Volume 1 as it gives a little bit more instant gratification but there's not much in it.

As I've said in the other review, track listings don't matter much with these albums as they play as a beautifully mixed whole but I have to say the excellent 'Es Vedra' is 7.15 minutes of utter bliss and is the best track out of the two volumes. Buy both ASAP!


VARIOUS / ESCAPISM VOLUME 1
VARIOUS / ESCAPISM VOLUME 1
Price: £12.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chillout for grown ups Volume 1, 26 Sept. 2006
Utter class! Takes a bit of getting into, and not all the tracks are instantly accessible. The Seamless team that brought you the Bargrooves series have managed to mix a selection of unusual chillout ambient songs that leave you wanting more....hence Volume 2 which is actually a tad better. I confess I didn't pay much attention to track listings here as the album plays as a whole and is mixed beautifully - no mean feat considering the genre.

Perfect for relaxing with the headphones on at the end of a hard day at work, or better still (as I did recently) played loudly whilst sailing around Majorca. Great stuff and highly recommended.


VARIOUS / BARGROOVES MAGENTA
VARIOUS / BARGROOVES MAGENTA
Offered by musik-markt
Price: £15.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soz. Too deep for me........, 9 Sept. 2006
Is it just my imagination or is the normally reliable Bargrooves series becoming deeper with each new outing? I previewed 'Citrus' on the Bargrooves website and didn't go for it because it's just not my taste. I should have done the same with 'Magenta'.

It's clear from the other reviews here that I may be in a minority but to my mind as house becomes deeper, there is a tendency to lose melody, increase bass, drums and the repetition factor. Nothing wrong with that at all - I have some of the other Seamless compilations that delve a little deeper at times ('Frosted' for example) and they are hugely enjoyable. As Mike Oldfield said back in the seventies "I've got nothing against repetition provided what's being played is worth repeating".

But sorry guys, after playing these discs a number of times I could only recall one or two tunes - the rest was a blur of repetitive mediocrity. Eddie Matos's 'All That Jazz' on CD1 is excellent, and a few other tunes on this disc are worthy of a Bargrooves compilation. However, unlike another reviewer, I couldn't get into CD2 at all. Sophistication for sophistication's sake maybe? The tracks are simply not enjoyable, with rhythm brought to the fore at the expense of anything memorable in the melody department.

Others will disagree, but I challege you to play any of the earlier compilations - in particular 'Metropolitan', 'Mimosa' or the fantastic 'Manhattan', then play 'Magenta'. No comparison I'm afraid. Think I'll be a little more discerning from now on.


Purobeach
Purobeach
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: £16.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chill out by the pool!, 4 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Purobeach (Audio CD)
Picking up where Purobeach Vol 1 left off, this chillout-vibe outing by the Bargrooves team from Seamless Recordings doesn't disappoint. Again, the more up-tempo beats appear on Disc 2, and if I had to be picky I'd have to say that neither CD1 nor 2 have quite the same consistency in quality as Purobeach 1.

But it's a definite grower. I can't see me playing this stuff in the long dark winter months but it's a definite choice for BBQs, and anything al fresco in the summer. I'm in Palma later this month - may just pay Purobeach Resort a visit to see what the fuss is about. By all accounts, the pool has underwater speakers pumping these sophisticated sounds out round the clock. Can't wait!


Puro Beach - Oasis Del Mar: Volumen Uno
Puro Beach - Oasis Del Mar: Volumen Uno
Price: £12.51

4.0 out of 5 stars So sophisticated...., 4 Sept. 2006
As always with anything from the Bargrooves stable, the hallmark is sophisticated house at its best. CD1 is very chillout but won't be like any of the cheesier compilations you may have heard. CD2 is more up tempo but still effortlessly conjours up images of sun, sea and sand. The mixing is, as you'd expect, a little more fluid here and the signature ongoing vibe never fails to impress.

Will definitely be taking this to Majorca later this month, together with Vol 2!


Beach House 2006
Beach House 2006

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kandi upping their game?, 2 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Beach House 2006 (Audio CD)
Seems that way, with some of their recent output - especially the excellent 'Served Chilled'. About time too after some pretty awful offerings following Doyle's departure. In fact, some of the stuff on Beach House 2006 should have found its way onto CD2 of the recent 'Stereo Sushi 8' - an album ruined by the quality of the second disc in my view. However, with BH 2006 Kandi's traditional reputation for consistency during the Doyle years may be on the way back.

Cool, funky grooves are the order of the day but some lack that summery, beachy quality at times (hence the 4* rating). Hardly a duff track with quality shining through both discs. Listen to the horn arrangement on the Sunburst Band's 'Until The End of Time' (those guys can play!) and you'll see what I mean. I can't knock any album with 'Wesley Music' by RSL on it - surely one of the best tunes in recent years. Bet you'll be singing along to the "People walk by...." bit at the end!

CD2 wobbles a bit with inclusion of lots of instrumental tracks but recovers sufficiently without too much damage being done by the 80's electro sound of a couple of tracks. The up-tempo version of 'Let The Drums Speak' by the excellent Bah Samba is a breath of fresh air, and although I was initially disappointed to see 'Fade' make a return (yet again!), it's an acoustic-ish version which is new and interesting.

It could be that Kandi have hit upon the sound of Summer 2006 with this album - just listen to 'Viva L'Amour' by Physics and it conjours up images of sun, sand, sea and a beer by the pool. Easy to see why I'll be playing this to death on holiday in Majorca this September. Great stuff.


VARIOUS / TOKYO DISCO
VARIOUS / TOKYO DISCO
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't please everyone........., 1 Aug. 2006
This review is from: VARIOUS / TOKYO DISCO (Audio CD)
An earlier reviewer slated this CD for being 'too commercial', and I'm having a go at it for being too 'twisted' - you just can't please everyone - depends on your personal tastes really. I really liked the Tokyo Project CD - even the 'heavier' third CD. Expected more of the same with Tokyo Disco, but was hugely disappointed.

In my view it's the more mainstream tracks that cut the mustard here - almost all of which are on CD1 which probably deserves 4-5* in its own right. But yet again the album falls away into electro, synth-driven repetition which isn't me at all I'm afraid. 'Twisted' was my least favourite Kandi genre, and 1 and a half CDs of this 3 CD set belong in that category. How anyone can honestly say that this stuff is 'funky' is beyond me. Mark says he 'loves' this music - well good luck to him but it just ain't me.

There seems to be a tendency with both the HK and Doyle stables to include heavier, sequencer-dominated tracks in order to appease the 'discerning clubber' (as they like to call themselves!). As a result, they end up pleasing very few. At least I knew where I was with the 'Twisted Disco' and 'Disco Heaven' series from HK - I could avoid one and eagerly snap up the other. But even those normally reliable lines are becoming blurred, with the inclusion of inappropriate songs (also see Mark's excellent but at times curious 'Beach Angel' which includes lots of up-tempo dance).

When I downloaded this onto my MP3 player, I used all of CD1, but then struggled to make another album's worth out of the other two - only managing 8 tracks in the end out of a possible 22. I'm sure that other reviewers would have done it the other way around - as I said, you can't please everyone. The irony, of course, is that a single CD would offer less value for money in today's market but would probably have earned 5* for quality above quantity.


Beach Angel 2006
Beach Angel 2006
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £12.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably Consistent...., 30 July 2006
This review is from: Beach Angel 2006 (Audio CD)
Mark has definitely raised the standard with this excellent compilation. All too often I've found that double or triple CDs have one half of good content and the rest is a disappointment (see Hed Kandi's recent Stereo Sushi 8 and Mark's 'Tokyo Disco' as examples). Here however, the choices are well thought out, even though some tracks, as a previous reviewer suggests, lack that 'beachy' quality - hence the loss of a star.

CD1 (Full Recline) is just that - excellent chill/ poolside choices that get you horizontally un-motivated and thoroughly wound-down yet hold the interest. CD2 (Upright) perhaps contains the most surprising tracks on a 'beach' CD as they are almost all up-tempo dance tunes - Dab Hands' excellent 'Do Your Own Thing' being an example. But the music is uniformally good - no doubt about it. 'Sean' makes a welcome return and is one of the few little cheats that Mark gets away with, as almost all of this stuff is new (to my ears anyway). Lastly, CD3 (Back To The Beach) contains classics from the past - although even then I bet there are plenty of tracks that even the connoisseur hasn't got in his / her collection. All quality - all very listenable and pleasing on the ear.

So refreshing at long last to find this level of consistency over 3 albums. Says it all when I only skip 1 track out of 33 (Track 2 on CD1 as I find it repetitive). Keep it up Mark - but how about being this consistent on your more up-tempo compilations?


Serve Chilled
Serve Chilled

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .....and about time, too!, 24 July 2006
This review is from: Serve Chilled (Audio CD)
Having absolutely slated Kandi for some of their output over the last year, I found this one a breath of fresh air. I agree with another reviewer who says that 'finally Kandi get it right'. Not only that, but it's (gulp, yes, I'm gonna say it....)the best of the series. Volumes 1 to 3 were great and were the foreunners of more commercial compilations from other labels - they started a trend and no mistake.

Served Chilled 2006 is a trailblazer too - great poolside vibes that change direction often enough to keep you interested. Second half of CD1 is a little more innovative and less safe than CD2, and some tracks wouldn't be out of place on a Winter Chill album. They definitely improve with each listen.

CD2 has more of an obvious Summery vibe. Must admit my heart sank a bit with the opener - Mancini's classic 'Lujon' - as you probably all know it's been on lots of mainstream compilations. Fantastic song but I've heard it so many times. Yet somehow it sets the scene for the rest of the disc and dovetails beautifully with the other choices. Watch out for an outrageous latin-vibe '(This Is Not)A Love Song' by Nouvelle Vague, originally by the Sex Pistols - Sid must be spinning in his grave, bless him.

So all in all a big, big hit with me and well deserving the 5* -my first for HK since Mark's departure. By the way, good to see he's raised the bar too with his excellent 'Beach Angel' CD. It's gonna be a long hot summer, and these albums are just perfect for chilling out with a beer or two. Highly recommended.


Stereo Sushi 8
Stereo Sushi 8
Price: £16.47

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the tin......, 18 July 2006
This review is from: Stereo Sushi 8 (Audio CD)
Loved all 7 volumes of this series compiled by Mark Doyle and I was so hoping that the new Team Kandi wouldn't screw up. Recent output - in particular 'Nu Cool 5' and 'Serve Chilled' were excellent after all. Unfortunately my hope's were dashed. CD1 consists of well thought out choices that are worthy of any of the previous volumes. Hardly a duff track and well worthy of a 4* rating. I don't agree with another reviewer who seems to pan even this disc - he's wrong.

But I agree that CD2 is a huge let down. Someone should have told the new regime that Sushi is all about soulful lounging - not electro-pap that's clearly 'twisted' in its style (not my favourite genre as you may have gathered!). I was so fustrated at having listened to the excellent first disc and eager for more to find that after a few tracks it degenerates into soul-less un-sushi synth-driven nonsense without a real instrument in sight. 2* at best for CD2 I'm afraid. Overall my lowest score for a Sushi disc, simply because the style of music, yet again, is inappropriate for the genre - a worrying trend that both HK and Doyle are recently intent on perpetuating. Why on earth can't both stables give us output that does exactly what it says on the tin?


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