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Backbeats: Dance-Floor Revolution - 70's Modern Soul Stunners
Backbeats: Dance-Floor Revolution - 70's Modern Soul Stunners
Price: £6.53

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-seventies US Soul, 26 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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 eHome
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
Price: £9.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alive & Kicking, 14 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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. 3½ 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: £16.89

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deutsche Kosmische Musik 1971-83, 26 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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 2½ 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
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £34.12

12 of 13 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)


Noise Art
Noise Art
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £14.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extreme Art Noise, 31 Jan 2013
This review is from: Noise Art (Audio CD)
Featuring 16 home recordings made by underground film maker, painter, sculptor and poet Jeff Keen between 1975 and 1995, Art Noise is an appropriate name for this collection because there's not a single melody to be heard and, in the most part, it's a difficult listen. A very difficult listen if the truth be told and definitely not recommended for listeners of a nervous disposition.

Made up of spliced DIY recordings taken from television, film, radio, the local environment and using an EDP Wasp synthesiser, an Atari, a ZX Spectrum and probably the kitchen sink, this is experimental noise in the extreme sense and it makes the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's output sound tame in comparison.

Manipulated industrial noises, machinery, distorted spoken word, layers of primitive electronic sound - it's a Kaleidoscope of abrasive and surreal noise that's almost impossible to listen to at times. Nonetheless, this will come as no surprise to collectors of Jonny Trunk's label's output. Clocking in at 39 minutes and produced with the assistance of Keen's daughter, it comes with an extensive booklet featuring artwork by Keen and two very well written short essays.


AVG Internet Security 2013 and TuneUp Utilities 2013 - 4 User 1 year License(PC)
AVG Internet Security 2013 and TuneUp Utilities 2013 - 4 User 1 year License(PC)
Price: £37.44

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AVG Internet Security: 3 Stars / TuneUp Utilities: 4 Stars, 25 Jan 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
**AVG Internet Security 2013**

I installed AVG Internet Security 2013 on a laptop running Windows 7 with AVG 2012 already installed and the installation was very straightforward. I did a custom installation and opted NOT to install email protection (I use Yahoo! web based email and they provide the necessary security) or the AVG firewall - the Windows firewall is more than adequate.

There is one very annoying aspect to the installation. You have to uncheck three boxes where AVG offer to be your default search provider, set AVG secure search as your homepage and install a pointless browser security toolbar. It's quite ironic that Internet security software should attempt to hijack your browser...

The layout is OK and appears to mimic Windows 8. There are five tabs - Computer, Web Browsing, Identity, Emails & Firewall - that show the status of the ones you have installed and if everything is running OK they're clearly marked as 'Protected'. There''s also a Scan tab, a Speed Test tab and four further tabs - that I object to being on a paid for anti-virus package - where AVG try to flog you more of their software.

Going into the Options drop down menu (I'm not sure why it not one of the tabs), you can setup AVG to carry out scheduled scans, decide when it should update (I've set it to update every 15 minutes), select what action it should take when finding a virus, scan individual files and folders, select what notifications you want to appear in your Windows Taskbar, etc. It's all very comprehensive.

When running a scans it works away quietly in the background. There are four scan speed settings with the lowest using less RAM if you're working on your PC. It'll depend on how much data you have on your PC but it manages to scan mine in under 1 hour.

AVG Internet Security 2013 appears to be a decent anti-virus package but time will tell. A couple of years ago AVG 2011 let a Trojan get onto my laptop and it only discovered it during a scheduled scan. It was able to quarantine it but not delete it and I had to use the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to delete it.

***Update: Despite declining their offer to set AVG as my default search provider, set AVG secure search as my homepage and install the AVG browser security toolbar when installing AVG Internet Security, a week after installation I received a pop-up offering the options again. Totally unacceptable and I now rate this 3 Stars***

**TuneUp Utilities 2013**

There's plenty of free utility software available but TuneUp Utilities carries out all the functions under one roof and, with TuneUp 1-Click Maintenance, one click of your mouse. It digs deep into the workings of Windows and you can tailor it to your requirements. If you regularly maintain your PC you might not notice too much difference but if you don't you should notice improvements in boot-up and shutdown times and the overall speed of your PC. It can optimize your PC, clean it, fix problems and you can also use it to customize Windows.

The menu layout is a little confusing and could be better but once you get used to it, it's quite easy to use and what certain functions will do is clearly explained. Any task that it carries out can be undone if you find that it negatively affects your PC's performance.

The best feature is TuneUp 1-Click Maintenance where with a single mouse click you can enable it carry out any or all of the following and clear out all the junk that accumulates on your PC:

- Clean the registry
- Defragment the registry
- Remove broken shortcuts
- Clean up Windows and programs
- Clean up browser(s)
- Optimize System startup & shutdown
- Defragment the hard drive

I regularly use free utility programs to maintain my PC but TuneUp Utilities 2013 is still well worth investing in. It's reduced the time it takes for my PC to startup and shutdown and it's so much easier to maintain with one program. Provided you take the time to understand the sometimes confusing array of tabs and menus and what certain functions will do, you should definitely notice an improvement in the overall performance of your PC.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2013 10:46 PM GMT


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