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

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Samsung M3 500GB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Samsung M3 500GB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Price: £35.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug and Play portable hard drive, 12 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased the 500GB version of this portable hard drive and it's proved to be a faultless bargain. Plug it into your laptop / PC via USB and it's good to go. It's silent in use, requires no separate mains power supply, doesn't over-heat and fits inside a coat pocket. It took me 6 hours to copy across 240GB of data using USB 2.0 so the speed appears to be good but I suppose it depends on your PC specifications too. The user manual, Mac drivers and Samsung back-up software are pre-loaded on the drive should you have a need for them.

Inner city beat! Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers
Inner city beat! Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £14.30

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From the vaults of KPM, De Wolfe, Amphonic and Conroy, 3 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Featuring 24 tracks recorded for British Library music labels KPM, De Wolfe, Amphonic and Conroy between 1967 and 1975, all of this music was intended for use by TV & film studios and radio stations and was never commercially available. None of the music here was made to order. Instead, Library labels would commission music and send out vinyl demonstration copies of it to production companies, who would then use any of the music that was suitable under license from the labels.

Music wise, this is a good compilation from Soul Jazz Records and it's almost a companion piece to their TV Sound and Image album from a couple of years ago. A combination of easy listening, jazz, and funk usually underpinned with solid bass and percussion and featuring orchestration, brass, keyboards and even the occasional flute break, there are some very good tracks. However, some of the music is very average and could not really be considered suitable for the 'Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers' that the subtitle implies.

Like most Soul Jazz Records releases, the CD is housed inside a jewel case alongside a 60 page booklet and together they're housed inside a slip case. SJR booklets are usually filled with archive photos and information about the music but with this release the concept behind the booklet is lost on me. It consists solely of "A graphic novel of death, murder and revenge in an urban and industrial landscape" featuring rudimentary black and white art work and a pulp fiction text that I gave up reading after a couple of minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to read it all, has nothing whatsoever to do with the music on the CD and is completely pointless.

Clocking in at 57 minutes, I do feel a bit short changed by this compilation - there's an abundance of similar themed British library music from the same period and I think SJR should have spent less time on the booklet and instead focussed their resources on filling this CD with an extra 20 minutes of music and sourcing better and more appropriate music.

In summary, the music here is at times underwhelming but if you dig library music it's still worth buying for the good stuff. However, I do think that SJR have taken their eye off the ball with this release.

Tefal A1990022 12 cm Ideal One Egg Wonder
Tefal A1990022 12 cm Ideal One Egg Wonder
Price: £7.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny Side Up, 3 Mar. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I never thought I'd refer to a frying pan as being cute, but that's exactly what this is - cute and it's ideal for frying a single egg sunny side up. With a bit of care it is possible to turn an egg over but if you like to baste your fried eggs so that you get a pinkish film over the yolk, forget it with this pan. Non-stick, it produces a perfect circular fried egg every time.

Un soir chez Norris (Evasion 1971) - Single
Un soir chez Norris (Evasion 1971) - Single
Price: £1.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guitar and wordless vocals freakout, 28 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had a vinyl rip of this for a few years and was surprised to find it available to download on Amazon. Taken from a French TV drama and originally released as a 7" in 1971, this is an extraordinary single from Pierre Cavalli and the B-side just edges it. Both songs feature full on guitars with wordless Edda Dell'orso-esque vocals floating over the top and it's 4 minutes and 41 seconds of absolute genius - it's like Morricone on acid. 'Un soir chez Norris' was re-worked by David Holmes for the Ocean's 12 soundtrack and 'Chasse à l'homme' - which features some amazing blistering fuzz guitar - found its way onto Amorphous Androgynous's A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind Volume 3: The 3rd Ear mix album.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2015 11:38 PM GMT

New Wave: Expanded Edition
New Wave: Expanded Edition
Price: £14.14

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best British album of the Nineties, 17 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With this, their 1993 debut album, Luke Haines and his band released the best British album of the Nineties and, with 'Showgirl', the coolest opening song on any album. The lack of a hit single with a sing-along chorus on this or any of their subsequent albums meant that at the height of Britpop the best band with the best songs were outsiders looking in on the party they helped to get started. With razor-sharp lyrics and a pared-down Marc Bolan Glam influence, this is a confident and intelligent album.

This two disc Expanded Edition features 22 extra recordings and clocks in at 107 minutes. Disc 1 comprises the original album plus six B-Sides and, just to clarify, the track list for Disc 2 is as follows:

1. Housebreaker (Acoustic) (A-Side - Rough Trade Singles Club 7" Feb 1993)
2. Valet Parking (Acoustic) (B-Side - Rough Trade Singles Club 7" Feb 1993)
3. Starstruck (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
4. Junk Shop Clothes (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
5. Housebreaker (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
6. Home Again (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
7. New French Girlfriend (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
8. Government Bookstore (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
9. How Could I Be Wrong (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
10. Junk Shop Clothes (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
11. Bailed Out (4 Track Demo)
12. American Guitars (4 Track Demo)
13. Showgirl (4 Track Demo)
14. Glad To Be Gone (4 Track Demo)
15. Starstruck (4 Track Demo)
16. Early Years (4 Track Demo)

The best songs on the second disc are the 4 track demos that got the band signed to Hut Records and booked as the support act for Suede. Unexpectedly rough, they are more or less unchanged from the songs that appeared on the album, just more primitive sounding. The radio sessions and the four tracks recorded live in Paris highlight that they were more than competent live and none of the B-sides would have sounded out of place on the original album. It's not been remastered and I don't think it needed to be.

Housed in a basic double gatefold cardboard sleeve, Luke Haines has penned some (surprisingly) pleasant sleeve notes about the period the album was recorded and on a couple of occasions he speaks very highly of Suede without the slightest hint of sarcasm or cynicism, unlike in his book 'Bad Vibes'. He does clarify that the book was written in the present tense for the period it covered and for these notes "hindsight has been applied".

If you missed this album first time around, I wholeheartedly recommend it and if you already own it, this is a worthwhile investment for the extra tracks. Haines' Baader Meinhof concept album from 1996 has also been reissued by 3 Loop Music.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 2:07 PM BST

Bolse® 12W NFC Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker, 8 hour Playtime with Built-in Speakerphone for iPhone 6, 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC
Bolse® 12W NFC Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker, 8 hour Playtime with Built-in Speakerphone for iPhone 6, 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: £49.99

47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound for the price and a battery that lasts forever, 10 Feb. 2014
Weighing 350g, the same length as my out-stretched hand and powered by 2 channel speakers this is, given the price, an extraordinary portable Bluetooth speaker and it has features that you don't expect at this price. The sound created is huge for such a small speaker and the overall sound is well-balanced, clear & spacious and the bass is just perfect. With the volume on your device and the speaker at full volume, it fills a room. Granted you don't get the depth of sound that you get from a £200 Bose speaker but the sound is not too far removed from the likes of the Braven 650 and the Jabre Soulmate that retail for much more.

It seamlessly paired with my iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and laptop (running Ubuntu) and has connected first time, every time thereafter. If your device isn't Bluetooth compatible, you can connect it using the included 3.5mm audio cable. It's charged using a USB cable, also included.

The range of the Bluetooth is superb - I can carry this around the house and the connection never drops out and this is where the extra features come in useful. It has six control buttons on the top where you can adjust the volume Up and Down, skip backwards and forwards between tracks (even when streaming music via Amazon Music Player and Google Play Music), pause the music and, should you need it, there's a button so that you can use it as a speaker phone too.

The advertised battery life of 8 hours is an understatement to say the least. With the volume set at medium on both iPad and speaker, I've had an incredible 20+ hours of playback.

In summary, this speaker is a bargain at the RRP and a steal at £29.99. When taking the three main considerations when buying a Bluetooth speaker into account - cost, sound and Bluetooth range - it succeeds on every level. I was given this speaker by the manufacturer in return for a review but I honestly cannot find fault with it. Finally, if you're thinking of gifting this, it comes in a high end, classy box.

**Amazon are cross-referencing reviews for different speakers on different pages. Just to clarify, this is a review for the SZ-801 speaker**
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2015 6:50 PM GMT

Pencere Önü Cicegi
Pencere Önü Cicegi
Offered by Eskidostlar
Price: £10.50

5.0 out of 5 stars 1986 Collaboration Reissue, 4 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Pencere Önü Cicegi (Audio CD)
Originally released in 1986, this collaboration between Fikret Kizilok and Bulent Ortaçgil is long overdue a CD release. Kizilok and Ortaçgil first appeared on the Turkish music scene in the late 60s and early 70s respectively and, for various reasons, they both took extended breaks from the industry during the latter half of the 70s. They came together in the early 80s when they teamed up to form 'Cekirdek Sanat Evi', an art house project in Istanbul where musicians would share ideas and play live sets, and this is one of the resultant albums they recorded together.

Pencere Önü Cicegi (Translation: The Windowsill Flower) is an extraordinary folk pop album and a difficult one to review - words alone cannot do it justice. The song writing evidenced here is truly outstanding. All of the songs are perfectly paced and arranged and apart from a couple of up-tempo numbers, most share a reflective tone - this is music that will break the hardest of hearts, whether you can understand Turkish or not. The title track alone is one of the most beautiful songs ever committed to tape. The musicianship throughout is faultless and although primarily acoustic, both electric guitar and piccolo bass feature. Kizilok's and Ortaçgil's vocals are very similar in style and are perfectly suited to the music.

The sound quality of this CD is, surprisingly by Turkish standards, exceptional. Clocking in at just over half an hour, this is one of the finest albums I own - almost every song is a five star classic. There's an MP3 version too.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Apaslar Kardaslar Mogollar Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi
Apaslar Kardaslar Mogollar Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi
Price: £13.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Anatolian Psychedelia Reissue, 28 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
During the Turkish psychedelic era of the late Sixties and early Seventies, Cem Karaca either produced, arranged, joined the line-up or collaborated with almost every band on the scene. Featuring, as the title suggests, collaborations with Apaslar, Kardaslar, Mogollar and the Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi, this compilation was Karaca's second album and was originally released in 1974.

For the most part this is traditional Turkish music given a contemporary makeover using Middle East instruments (sometimes electrified) with the addition of lead guitar and electric bass right upfront in the mix. And it's that unique blend of the traditional and contemporary that gives many of the songs here a natural psychedelic vibe. One exception is 'Unut Beni' with the Ferdy Klein Orchestra that sounds like it could be lifted from a late Sixties Scott Walker album with the only difference being Karaca's vocals. Probably best described as "forceful", he's not a natural singer.

This latest instalment from Pharaway Sounds ongoing release of key Turkish albums from the Seventies has been remastered (the sound quality is very good) and features extensive sleeve notes and a few archive photos. Overall, this is not quite a classic but its well worth seeking out if you have an interest in Turkish psychedelia or just want to try something different. Karaca's 1973 album with Kardaslar & Apaslar is also worth checking out too.

The track list featuring the collaborators:

1. Deniz Üstü Köpürür (Mogollar)
2. Bir of Çeksem (Apaslar)
3. Askoros Deresi (Kardaslar)
4. Unut Beni (Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi)
5. Hasan Kalesi (Kardaslar)
6. Gel Gel (Mogollar)
7. Beyaz Atli (Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi)
8. Edali Gelin (Mogollar)
9. Ay Karanlik (Ferdy Klein Orkestrasi)
10. El Çek Tabip (Mogollar)
11. Ihtiyar Oldum (Mogollar)
12. Obur Dünya (Mogollar)

Sound of the City Experience
Sound of the City Experience
Price: £13.17

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost and found, 19 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Originally released on Tiger Lily Records in 1976, this album was pressed in very limited numbers and was never available to buy because Tiger Lily was a record label on paper only. Set up by notorious music mogul Morris Levy, Tiger Lily 'released' records (often without the consent or knowledge of the artists) and the sole purpose of the label was to act as a tax scam. The idea was that Levy would write off non-existent hundreds of thousands of LPs as unsold, submit a tax loss claim that in turn would help his main label - Roulette Records - remain profitable. To make the scam appear plausible a few dozen copies of each release were run-off.

Regardless of its history, this is at times an extraordinarily good album that encapsulates the sound of late sixties US soul, early seventies Modern Soul, funk and disco and it would more than likely have been a success had it been afforded a proper release. Although most of the vocal duties are undertaken by women, the cover is misleading - Sounds Of The City were not a girl vocal group - instead they were a well drilled mostly all male band that had been together for a few years when the offer from Levy came along. They had enough music recorded to fill an album when they cut the deal and according to band leader Mario Sprouse, they knew exactly what they were signing-up to and intended to use the LP as a "calling card" to get gigs and to attract interest from genuine labels.

The musicianship throughout is faultless and there are some really tight grooves and ear-catching arrangements and vocals. Album opener 'Getting Down' is all choppy rhythm guitars and horns and sounds like it could've been lifted straight from a Blaxploitation soundtrack. 'Through No Fault of Our Own' is a sublime slow-tempo doo-wop inspired track featuring gorgeous female vocals and 'It's So Wonderful Baby / Gina' is perfect Salsa disco. 'Judgement Day' is three minutes of chaotic funk and 'Come and Stay With Me' is silky smooth soul.

Given that these were self financed and produced recordings, the production is occasionally a bit messy but the overall sound is very good. I took a punt on this record and I'm knocked-out at the quality of the music and it's good to see it finally getting a long over-due genuine release by Jazzman Records.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2015 6:24 AM GMT

Child's Pose [DVD]
Child's Pose [DVD]
Dvd ~ Luminita Gheorghiu
Price: £9.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Talking heads and dizzying camera work, 16 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Child's Pose [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Filmed almost entirely using hand held cameras, this emotionally charged film makes for a dizzying viewing experience especially when coupled with the near constant subtitles. Focussing on a ruthless upper middle class mother's obsession with her adult son, it's VERY dialogue heavy. Luminita Gheorghiu, in the role of the mother, dominates throughout and appears in almost every scene.

Following a traffic accident where her son is responsible for the death of a young boy, the mother goes to every length possible in her attempts to get him cleared and absolved of any blame. From bribing a witness, paying off the dead child's family and altering her son's police statement, she will stop at nothing. Her attentions - one scene leads the audience to believe that her obsession may be more than emotional - are unwanted by her thirty something son who feels suffocated by her.

Many of the scenes are unnecessarily over-long and tiresome and at times it all begins to drag. It's easy to see why it won the Golden Bear - it ticks many of the right boxes - Eastern European, hand-held cameras, non-mainstream, Gheorghiu's outstanding performance, etc. Whilst it's a watchable film, it probably works best if you speak fluent Romanian (you almost have to speed read the subtitles at times) and enjoy emotional dramas that contain very little suspense and nothing in the way of action whatsoever.

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