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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)

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Motown Funk
Motown Funk
Price: 6.64

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Seventies Motown Funk, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Motown Funk (Audio CD)
Clocking in at an impressive 135 minutes and with most of the tracks sourced from the early Seventies, this is another quality budget Motown compilation. There's nothing here as funky as James Brown's work from the same period (how could there be?!) and a few of the songs are not, as funk goes, that funky. Nontheless, there's still much to enjoy here. Highlights include Gordon Stapes' Blaxploitation classic 'Strung Out' that feaures cool sweeping orchestrations drifting in and out of the mix. Undisputed Truth's cover of 'Ball of Confusion' is 10 minutes of tripped-out psychedelic soul and Odyssey's 'Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love' has a breezy West Coast vibe. 'T Plays it Cool' highlights how versatile a songwriter and composer Marvin Gaye was and Syreeta Wright's vocals on 'To Know You Is To Love You' are sublime as is the extended outro jam (and Stevie Wonder's synthesized vocals!). Recommended.

Philips PerfectCare Aqua ECO GC8635/02 Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature - 220g Pressurised Steam Boost
Philips PerfectCare Aqua ECO GC8635/02 Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature - 220g Pressurised Steam Boost
Price: 193.22

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best iron in the world ...ever, 28 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an awesome steam generator iron and its the future of ironing right here, right now. It's so much better than a conventional iron and is the next best thing to getting someone else to do your ironing for you. It has an impressive array of features but the big selling point is the optimal temperature function that does away with the need for a manually operated temperature control gauge. I don't know (or care) how it works, but it automatically and immediately adjusts the temperature to suit the material you're ironing, therefore doing away with the need to sort out your order of ironing and waiting for the iron to heat up or cool down. It's extremely clever and, most importantly, it really does work.

The combined water tank and stand is big, bulky and heavy but this is a worthwhile trade-off given the very impressive 2.2 litre capacity. It's like being connected to a reservoir and saves the hassle of having to keep re-filling the tank. Water is pumped from the tank to the iron every few minutes causing a rumbling sound that lasts for about five seconds.

You can use it without steam, produce short very powerful blasts of steam or, with two quick clicks of the trigger on the underside of the handle, have continuous steam. The steam output is seriously impressive and the iron just glides effortlessly over whatever material you're ironing. Weight wise, the iron itself is light but given the amount of steam generated it isn't a problem - if you want a sharp crease, you get one and when ironing out creases they disappear with minimal effort. A big bonus is that unlike a conventional iron it doesn't leak water onto whatever it is you're ironing.

Further features include the very straightforward de-scaling method which simply involves manually unscrewing a bolt and draining the tank. You're prompted to carry it out when the 'de-calc' light flashes. It automatically switches off if it hasn't been used for 10 minutes and you can rest the hot plate on the ironing board without fear of damaging or burning the board thanks to the optimal temperature feature. It also has an energy saving function - activate the 'ECO' switch and you save energy but still have sufficient steam to carry out your ironing but, as I discovered, not as much as if you don't activate it. There's also a carry-lock which locks the iron to the tank. The cable storage area built into the base of the tank could be better but it's a very minor issue.

In summary, this iron ultimately doesn't iron your clothes any better than a conventional iron but it does make this most loathsome of chores much faster and easier to complete and really does cut down on the amount of time you spend ironing.

Backbeats: Dance-Floor Revolution - 70's Modern Soul Stunners
Backbeats: Dance-Floor Revolution - 70's Modern Soul Stunners
Price: 5.20

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-seventies US Soul, 26 Mar 2013
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Backbeats continue their themed exploration of the US black music scene with this compilation that features 23 soul tracks primarily sourced from the mid-seventies.

Highlights include Patti Austin's cover of the Northern Soul classic 'Didn't Say a Word' that is almost identical to Brenda Holloway's Motown version. Patti Jo's vocal delivery on 'Make Me Believe in You' is faultless and 'This Time Around' by S.O.U.L. is mid-tempo soul at its finest. Gwen McRae's 'Lead Me On' features a cool re-occurring piano riff and a guitar solo as she sings her heart out - it packs a mighty punch despite being a little over 2 minutes long and it's the best song here.

Unexpectedly, there are some fillers and also two songs that don't belong on a compilation with the sub-title '70s Modern Soul Stunners' - David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks 'I Couldn't Believe It' is from 1988 and Damaris Carbaugh's 'What About My Love' is from 1984. The former is representative of the overall sound here but the Damaris track sounds totally out of place and how it found its way onto this album is a mystery.

With a generous playing time of 79 minutes, some of the songs are not as dance floor friendly as the 'Dance Floor Revolution' title implies. It is, however, mostly a very enjoyable listen and it offers outstanding value for money. It's worth noting that this CD contains 23 tracks, not the 25 tracks listed here - 'Cuz it's You Girl' by the James Walsh Gypsy Band and 'How Can I Be Sure' by Randy Jackson do NOT feature.

Aves Mercury Bluetooth Music Receiver
Aves Mercury Bluetooth Music Receiver
Offered by E W Link Co Ltd.
Price: 16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Gives 20th Century Hi-Fi equipment a new lease of life, 16 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an amazing bit of backward compatible technology. I have a 15 year old Denon amplifier and speakers that have become largely redundant since I got an iPad and paired it with a portable Bluetooth speaker. However, with this device I can now use my iPad to stream music from my Network Attached Server and hear it through my stereo system.

It's very easy to setup and I didn't need to refer to the instructions. Simply plug the receiver in at the mains, plug the supplied phono cables into your amplifier, pair it with your device and you're ready to go. My iPad detected it immediately and there's no real noticeable deterioration in the quality of sound (although I do have to turn the volume higher up on my stereo).

For the price this is going for at the time of writing this review (20), it's an absolute bargain and it really does give an old Hi-Fi a new lease of life.

The Next Day
The Next Day
Offered by Mixtures
Price: 5.88

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alive & Kicking, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Next Day (Audio CD)
For the past 25 years almost every new Bowie album has been greeted with the well worn cliché "his best since Scary Monsters". However, on his first album in 10 years Bowie has indeed released his best album since 1980. The overall sound is pitched somewhere between 1979's Lodger and the aforementioned Scary Monsters given a 21st Century production makeover (and the opening track is essentially a re-working of Lodger's 'Repetition').

If you'd believed the press of the past few years, Bowie was more or less retired and, in some cases, reckoned to be on his death bed. With it's backwards looking theme and exaggerated fragile vocals, the release of 'Where Are We Now?' as the lead single was a strategy to purposely fuel what ultimately, as evidenced by this album, proved to be totally unfounded rumours.

Bowie's voice sounds amazing here - it has not diminished in the slightest and confirms that he's very much alive and kicking. The quality of the songs is astonishing at times, with plenty of variation and styles that together form a contemporary and cohesive sound. It's far better than could have been expected and Bowie displays much confidence. It's not quite up there with his very best work (how could it be?) but, long after the hype surrounding this release has died down, it will rightly be regarded as a very good Bowie album not just because it's his first in a decade but because it really is very good. As comebacks go, it doesn't get much better than this (and Bowie should have held back 1987's 'Time Will Crawl' for this album - it's the perfect fit!).

Time Beat (Remastered)
Time Beat (Remastered)
Price: 0.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debut BBC Radiophonic Workshop release, 14 Mar 2013
This is the A-side of the first ever release by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Composed and recorded by the Radiophonic's Maddalena Fagandini and re-worked by Beatles producer George Martin, it was released under the pseudonym 'Ray Cathode' on Parlophone Records in 1962. A 31 second clip of this features on 'BBC Radiophonic Workshop: A Retrospective', but it only features the 'clickety-click' intro and not the overall electro-exotica-jazz sound that unfolds on this, the full length version. The B-side - Waltz in Orbit - is also available to download and is equally as good. Both tracks have been by re-mastered by Trunk Records and the sound is (almost) crystal clear.

P.S. At the time of writing, both tracks can be downloaded from the Trunk website for 20p each.

Arap Saci
Arap Saci
Price: 17.85

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erkin Koray: 1970's Fuzzy Turkish Psychedelia, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Arap Saci (Audio CD)
Following on from Sublime Frequencies' Singles & Rarities album, this is the second Erkin Koray compilation to be released by a non-Turkish label in the past 18 months. Probably more by design than default, there is no track duplication between both compilations.

Clocking in at 91 minutes (relatively short for a two disc set), most of the music is drawn from Koray's work of the late sixties and seventies when he was the undisputed lead innovator of the Turkish psychedelic scene. Fusing UK and US style rock with elements of traditional Turkish music, the sound here is mind-blowing at times and some of the tunes are really tripped-out.

Koray is a hugely talented guitar player and is credited with inventing the electric saz (a traditional Middle Eastern acoustic stringed instrument) and, if you like the sound of fuzz guitar, you'll find plenty of it here and a plugged in saz fuzzes better than any guitar! There are also laid-back sounds but the arrangements and array of instruments used is always interesting. Turkish clarinet vibes, complex string arrangements and percussion, Koray's stunning guitar playing - it's difficult to compare his music to anything else because nothing else sounds quite like it.

The majority of the tracks are taken from Koray's eponymous debut LP (a collection of singles) from 1973 and the 1976 compilation 'Erkin Koray 2'. Both were given a limited (and unauthorised) CD reissue by Korean label World Psychedelia a few years ago, so this album is worth getting if you missed out on them. Additionally, the label behind this release - Pharaway Sounds - have also reissued Koray's 1974 masterpiece Elektronik Turkuler and none of the tracks from that album feature here. Combine this release with the Sublime Frequency compilation and 'Elektonik Turkuler' and you have the essential Erkin Koray and that's what this album is - essential listening.

Housed in a CD jewel case with a brief essay about Koray's career, the sound quality (which is sometimes very poor on releases of Turkish music from the era) is excellent.

Electronic Sound Patterns (Remastered)
Electronic Sound Patterns (Remastered)
Price: 6.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Sound Patterns from BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder, 3 Mar 2013
Although not as well known or as revered as Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram was an unlikely looking pioneer of electronic sound and music. In 1958 she co-founded the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and was its first studio manager but left shortly after to open her Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition. Here she developed the Oramics, a drawn-sound prototype synthesizer that, along with the use of multi-track tapes, was used to create the music found on this EP.

Originally released in 1962 as part of Vera Gray's Listen, Move and Dance - a series of (now much sought after) recordings designed to be used in school children's lessons to stimulate the imagination in art and craft and creative pursuits - the music here sounds, some 50 years after its initial release, somewhat primitive and it's the sort of thing that could be produced quite easily nowadays using an iPad. However, in 1962 it was considered, along with other electronic recordings of the era, to be ground-breaking.

If you're familiar with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop sound then you'll have a good idea of what to expect from this EP - weird, textured electronic sound patterns and progressions that probably sound quite spooky if listened to in the dark. 3 stars and worthy of investigation.

Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1971-83
Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1971-83
Price: 14.85

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deutsche Kosmische Musik 1971-83, 26 Feb 2013
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Three years after the first installment, Soul Jazz Records return with a second volume of Deutsche Electronische Musik. A two disc set featuring 27 tracks, it clocks in at a generous 2 hours and it's even better than its predecessor. Much like Volume 1, Kraftwerk don't get a look in (probably something to do with licensing rights) but, when the music is this good, it doesn't really matter. Most of the leading lights - Amon Duul II, NEU!, Faust and Can - are represented but there are plenty of lesser known artists to be heard too.

Comprising of electronic and progressive sounds with elements of psychedelia, this is both experimental and forward thinking music that occasionally incorporates aspects of various musical strands that were emanating from around the globe during the same period. Synths and keyboards underpin much of the music but there's a fair amount of first rate heavy rock too and even some folk. Mind blowing percussion, guitar freakouts and the relentless repetition often associated with Krautrock - it's all here.

It's very difficult to select highlights from a collection this strong. Agitation Free's 'You Play For Us Today' is a trippy tension builder with hypnotic guitar and the percussion on Can's 'Halleluwah' (albeit a heavily edited version) still takes the breath away. Featuring lush female vocals, Broselmaschine's folkish 'Nossa Bova' does have, as evidenced by the wordplay of the song title, a Brazilian vibe. 'China' by Electric Sandwich is an eight minute mind-bender with tribal beats and phased guitars. The abrasive and appropriately titled 'Krautrock' by Faust closes the album and ultimately sums-up the whole scene and sound in less than 12 minutes.

Regardless of whether you're a connoisseur of Deutsche Kosmische Musik or just interested in experiencing something different, this compilation deserves a place in your collection. Featuring a sumptuous 48 page booklet with extensive notes and archive photos that's housed alongside the CD jewel case inside a cardboard slipcase, this is sure to feature near the top of most end of year charts.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2013 5:41 PM GMT

The Awakening
The Awakening
Price: 38.09

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giallo Progressive Rock, 10 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Awakening (Audio CD)
Consisting of four horror soundtracks and two studio albums ('Roller' & 'Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark') on six CDs with a playing time of 5 hours and 20 minutes, this is a superb box set of the work of Italian prog rockers Goblin. 52 of the 99 tracks are bonuses although most of them have appeared at some time or other on the various individual reissues of these albums.

Progressive rock with elements of jazz and synthetic funk, the synthesizers, keyboards and pulsing bass, underpinned by solid percussion, are, unsurprisingly, to the fore more often than not. Although the overall sound of much of the music is firmly rooted in the 70s, it retains a timeless appeal except for 'Tenebre' that, as good as it is, will always be stuck in 1982. When removed from the visuals of the films, the soundtracks work perfectly as standalone albums but the highlight here is the studio album 'Roller'.

The CDs are housed inside replica mini LP sleeves and presented in a sturdy cardboard box alongside a brief booklet.

Disc 1: Profondo Rosso (1975) - 77:43 (27 bonus tracks)
Disc 2: Roller (1976) - 41:00 (2 bonus tracks)
Disc 3: Suspiria (1977) - 45:55 (5 bonus tracks)
Disc 4: Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark (1978) - 40:33 (1 bonus track)
Disc 5: Zombi (a.k.a. Dawn of the Dead) (1978) - 52:15 (7 bonus tracks)
Disc 6: Tenebre (1982) - 62:34 (10 bonus tracks)

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