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

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I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America - 1950-1990
I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America - 1950-1990
Price: £13.04

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambient Excellence, 15 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is beautifully conceived compilation of American New Age music by Light in the Attic Records. It's a world away from the mass produced and marketed New Age music of the eighties and nineties. This is pure and authentic ambient music made by artists who lived and breathed the New Age lifestyle long before most people even knew such a lifestyle existed.

Although there are a few better known artists from the genre represented here, much of the music is taken from privately recorded and pressed vinyl and cassettes and, taken as a whole, it just washes over the listener and has a genuine calming and relaxing effect. There's an array of instruments used, with many of the earliest tracks featuring harp, piano and woodwind, progressing to electronic instrumentation with extended synth and bass notes that have a drone like quality to them. There are occasional sound effects (birds singing, waterfalls, etc) but they're authentic and not just used as a gimmick.

The CDs are housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with a superb booklet featuring notes on all of the artists and archive photos. The combined playing time of both discs is 132 minutes. Given the quality of some of the sources of many of the tracks, the sound is excellent and has been digitally re-mastered at 24 bit / 96 kHz. Recommended to anyone with an interest in ambient sounds.

A Voyage Through French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)
A Voyage Through French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)
Price: £10.80

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Supersonic Cosmic Voyage, 14 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is superb compilation and the beautiful cover art alone sells it. Featuring pulsating synth grooves, robotic beats and far-out cosmic sound effects from the French avant-electronic scene of the seventies, it's a very enjoyable and rewarding 78 minute intergalactic voyage. Even now, almost everything here still sounds like music from the future and although it's regarded as experimental music, the lasting impression is that these French electro pioneers knew exactly what they were doing.

Highlights include Space's world-wide smash 'Magic Fly' - it's a space disco classic and, like a few of these songs, a not too distant relative of Daft Punk's 21st Century sound. The extraordinary 'Caramel' by Rene Rousell is proto-Chicago House & Italo-Disco and Jean-Jacques Perrey's heavily sampled 'E.V.A.' is all playful loops and sound effects that takes in some mind-blowing phased lead guitar as it progresses. Jean Michel Jarre's mid-tempo 'Blackbird' features beautiful organ progressions underpinned by some exemplary and imaginative percussion and even Serge Gainsbourg makes an appearance with the frantic 'Le Physique Et Le Figure' from the film of the same name.

The CD is housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve and it has some well written liner notes featuring information on all the tracks and artists and also a couple of brief interview extracts including one with Jean Michel Jarre. In short, this is one of the best compilations of 2013 and connoisseurs of electronic music will find much to enjoy here. Bon voyage!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2014 11:42 PM GMT

Creative HITZ MA2300 on-ear Headphones with 30 mm Drivers, Flat Folding Ear Cups, in-line Remote and Mic - Black
Creative HITZ MA2300 on-ear Headphones with 30 mm Drivers, Flat Folding Ear Cups, in-line Remote and Mic - Black
Price: £29.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but unexceptional headphones, 13 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Taking the price into consideration, these are decent but unexceptional headphones. Sitting on the ear, there's not a whole lot of padding but they're comfortable against the ear and, although not quite skull-crushers, the head band feels tight and after about 45-60 minutes I have to give my head a five minute break. They're lightweight but the finish feels too cheap and plastic for a pair of 'phones in this price range but, nonetheless, they do feel sturdy enough for day-to-day use. I do like the flat, tangle proof, single wire and the in-line pause / phone that works as advertised.

Sound wise, again, they're OK but nothing to write home about. The bass is acceptable but tends to get lost in the mix and it's just not deep enough. The highs, particularly on more upbeat music, can dominate the sound to the extent that it begins to jar. Ultimately, you get what you pay for with these headphones. If you're in the market for on ear headphones then I suggest spending a few quid more and getting the VIBE BlackDeath On Ear Headphones.

Amazon Music
Amazon Music
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile and decent app, 10 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Amazon Music (App)
I really do like this app. Pre-order an AutoRip CD direct from Amazon (it doesn't work for Market Place purchases) and on the day of its release an MP3 copy is there in your Cloud Player ready to play or download. When you buy MP3s from Amazon they also appear almost immediately in the app and all previously purchased AutoRip CDs and MP3s are automtaically added. You can also download the music in your Cloud Player to your device to play offline. I have a Network Attached Server hooked-up to my router but the playback is always better through this app (hardly ever any interruptions) and the sound quality is good enough.

The only downside is uploading your own MP3s - the annual subscription packages are not cheap and for a various artists releases with say 20 songs by 20 different artists you can sometimes end up with a different icon for each song instead of one album icon. Amazon only appears to match your MP3s with MP3s it has in its library and if the album isn't in its library then it will link to same songs but from different albums.

It's worth bearing in mind that Google Play Music allows you to store up to 20,000 MP3s for FREE and it works just like Amazon Cloud Player but with one big difference - Google will scan and match your MP3s with their library but, if your MP3 files on an album do not exactly match, then it uploads them so that you can playback the album as intended. I mostly playback music through my iPad and Google have recently released the Play Music app for iOS devices and it looks and works much the same as the Amazon Cloud Player.

In summary, this is a very good app and when used in tandem with the Google Play Music app you have access to thousands of your songs.

The Complete Album Collection
The Complete Album Collection
Offered by Speedyhen Ltd
Price: £143.00

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb box set, 4 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Consisting of all 35 studio albums, the six official live albums and two discs of previously released material that doesn't feature on any of the albums here (47 CDs in total), it could be argued that this collection is premature given that Dylan is still very much an active recording artist. Nonetheless, one thing that cannot be doubted is Dylan's back catalogue - it's a colossal collection of music.

All of the CDs are presented in CD sized cardboard replicas of the original vinyl sleeves (with sequential numbers on the spine) and are housed in a very sturdy and surprisingly compact cardboard box alongside a 268 page hardback book that features the original liner notes, a very informative essay on every album, archive photos, images of promotional material, etc. It really is a lesson in how box sets should be done - they've kept it simple and there are no unnecessary posters, badges, stickers or facsimile concert tickets. I don't know how many albums Dylan has got left in him but there is space in the box for at least 2-3 more cardboard sleeve CDs.

The only slight disappointment are the 'Side Tracks' bonus discs that contain no real surprises - all of the tracks have been previously released and over half of them can be found on the 'Biograph' compilation. 13 albums have been newly remastered for this release and 'Self Portrait' is the 2013 remaster. Unlike the Mono box set from a few years ago, there's no download code.

The remastered CDs and the track list for the 'Side Tracks' CDs:

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
Hard Rain
Bob Dylan At Budokan
Real Live
Empire Burlesque
Knocked Out Loaded
Down In The Groove
Under The Red Sky
Good As I Been To You
World Gone Wrong

Side Tracks CD1 (58:41):

1. Baby, I'm in the Mood for You
2. Mixed-Up Confusion (Single Version)
3. Tomorrow Is a Long Time (Live)
4. Lay Down Your Weary Tune
5. Percy's Song
6. I'll Keep It with Mine
7. Can You Please Crawl out Your Window? (Single Version)
8. Positively 4th Street (Single Version)
9. Jet Pilot
10. I Wanna Be Your Lover
11. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (Live)
12. Visions of Johanna (Live)
13. Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
14. Watching the River Flow
15. When I Paint My Masterpiece

Side Tracks CD2 (65:42):

1. Down in the Flood
2. I Shall Be Released
3. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
4. George Jackson (Acoustic Version)
5. Forever Young
6. You're a Big Girl Now
7. Up to Me
8. Abandoned Love
9. Isis (Live)
10. Romance in Durango (Live)
11. Caribbean Wind
12. Heart of Mine (Live)
13. Series of Dreams
14. Dignity (Alternate Version)
15. Things Have Changed

Update: If your copy of 'Hard Rain' is faulty, email the following to arrange a replacement:
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2013 4:52 PM GMT

Call Girl [DVD]
Call Girl [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ruth Vega Fernandez
Price: £5.75

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and well-acted, 3 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Call Girl [DVD] (DVD)
This is an intelligent and very watchable film about prostitution, exploitation, power, corruption and politics in mid-seventies Sweden. Focussing primarily on a teenage delinquent who, along with her cousin, is groomed to become a call girl and the police investigation into the vice ring that controls them (and also provides call girls for top ranking government ministers and civil servants) it is, despite the bleakness of the subject matter, an enjoyable film.

Much of the acting is outstanding, the evocation of the seventies through music and fashion is very authentic and everybody chain smokes. The political side of things is kept to a minimum and mainly centres around attempts to obstruct and censor the police investigation by those with the most to lose. The nudity and sex scenes are always tastefully presented, are not in any way gratuitous and always central to the plot.

Norton 360 21.0 - 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC) [2014 Edition]
Norton 360 21.0 - 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC) [2014 Edition]
Offered by Esale Express
Price: £42.99

104 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class protection but expensive cloud backup, 29 Oct 2013
Although still bloated and resource hungry software, Norton runs unobtrusively in the background and it will do on any modern PC or laptop given the processing power and memory they now possess. It's easily the best commercial protection available, provides first class protection and has never once let me down.

In addition to AV, Firewall and ID Protection, Norton 360 also offer a Tuneup suite that runs a few basic PC optimization tasks (clear browsing history, delete temporary files, etc.) and a Backup facility. The Backup facility can either backup files between your own disk drives or back up in Norton's cloud storage. You get 2GB of free cloud storage and you can buy an annual subscription for further cloud storage (up to 50GB for £89.99) should you require it. The Backup suite is let down by the fact that you have to exclude files and folders instead of include them if you elect not to backup the complete contents of a drive. Cloud backup is not cheap compared with other providers and the 2GB of free storage is much less than that offered by competitors (it's also worth remembering that you get 5GB of free storage with Amazon Cloud Drive (not to be confused with Amazon Cloud Player)). If you don't need the Tuneup or Backup suites, I'd suggest buying the less expensive Norton Internet Security that doesn't include them.

It's worth shopping around. At the time of writing, the download copy of Norton 360 is cheaper and it's exactly the same as this with the only difference being that you have to download and install it instead of installing it from a disc and it's delivered in the time it takes to download it. **Beware of auto-renewing your subscription online with Norton - you could be charged well in excess of the cost of buying a copy from Amazon. Norton quite often employ the widespread tactic of 'rewarding' their existing customers by charging them over the odds when it comes to renewing**
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2014 7:29 PM BST

Sennheiser PCX95 Lightweight In-Ear Neckband Headphone
Sennheiser PCX95 Lightweight In-Ear Neckband Headphone
Price: £55.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OK sound but superb design, 23 Oct 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are just like traditional earphones except that they're connected together by a springy plastic band that hangs across the back of the skull / neck area. The design is perfect for use when running or walking but if lounging about on the sofa or in bed then they're useless because the band protrudes about 1" from your skull and you can't rest your head without dislodging them. I do like the design because it totally eliminates the problem of having to re-position the earphones - the springy design ensures that they stay in place and they're surprisingly comfortable to wear. The band is suspended just above the ears so I have no problem wearing them with glasses. There's only one wire (connected to the left earphone) and three pairs of different sized earbuds are included.

The sound produced by these 'phones is OK, nothing more; nothing less. They're especially designed for use with MP3 but even with high quality (320kbps) files the overall sound can sometimes be messy. They sound superb when listening to acoustic music, less so when listening to anything with heavy percussion.

Design wise they're perfect for walking or running and very comfortable to wear but don't expect any great shakes sound wise. Design 5 stars; Sound 3½ stars.

**Update: I've been using these earphones on an almost daily basis for over a year now and they are so comfortable to wear compared to traditional earphones and I wouldn't be without them now**

Wigan Casino 40th Anniversary Album
Wigan Casino 40th Anniversary Album
Price: £4.99

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-nighter Anniversary, 18 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Consisting of 40 Northern Soul tracks to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Northern Soul all-nighters at Wigan Casino, this is an excellent budget compilation. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons kick off proceedings with the stomping 'The Night' (a UK Top 10 hit in 1972) and from there on the quality rarely falters. Connoisseurs will be familiar with most of the songs but as with most Northern Soul compilations there are a few lesser known tracks (to my ears at least).

Frank Wilson's ubiquitous 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)' opens proceedings on the second disc and two songs from the "3 before 8" close the album. I can only assume that publishing rights prevented the third song - Tobi Legend's sublime 'Time Will Pass You By' - from being included. Nonetheless, whether you're reliving the memories of your youth or making fresh ones, this is a quality compilation and it's a bargain too.

Everything I know about teaching
Everything I know about teaching
by Mr Michael Gove
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.63

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Charming Man, 18 Oct 2013
Following a long and distinguished career in teaching, it was only a matter of time before Gove published this weighty tome. Like the man himself, this book is inspirational, charming and not in the slightest bit condescending. To promote it Gove has launched a government sponsored initiative whereby all schools that achieve an Ofsted grade of 'Outstanding' will receive a free signed copy. Bravo, Mr Gove!

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